Just 10 months ago, we said we'd be shocked if any aspects of the HCD-14 Genesis concept seen at the 2013 North American International Auto Show made it to the production version of Hyundai's next-generation luxury sedan. Well, count us (mildly) shocked. Hyundai unveiled what it called "the first image renderings" of its next-generation Genesis today in South Korea, and the HCD-14's low, vertical grille — think Audi A8 — made the cut. So did the roofline, which performs a familiar C-pillar-merges-into-trunk routine. Most of the HCD-14's tail, with its deck-lid lights and chopped bumper, did not.
Development costs during the four-year project totaled nearly half a billion dollars at current exchange rates, Hyundai says — expensive, but still less than the cost of many redesigns. Hyundai claims the new Genesis will have the best chassis in its class, plus drivability that matches European luxury cars. That's something its predecessor did when it arrived in mid-2008. The automaker says it already tested the new Genesis on Germany's venerated Nürburgring circuit.
Hyundai says its latest styling ethos, dubbed "Fluidic Sculpture 2.0," evolves beyond the Fluidic Sculpture 1.0 used on the current Sonata and Elantra sedans. The automaker trades the rounded grilles on both cars for an edgier, flat-bottom hexagon in the Genesis — something that began on the Veloster hatchback and Santa Fe SUV.
The automaker didn't furnish any interior photos but said the new Genesis would adopt its next generation of driver usability, including higher-quality cabin controls with standardized symbols. Improved safety features include seatbelts that automatically tighten before and during a crash.
Drivetrain information is still pending; the current Genesis has a 333-horsepower V-6 or 429-hp V-8, both of which drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic. Hyundai says the redesign will have an all-wheel-drive option, too.
The car debuts across major international markets next year; spokesman Miles Johnson confirmed that Americans can expect it to arrive as a 2015 model. And what of its two-door sibling? "Stay tuned for what we're cooking up for Genesis Coupe," Hyundai's U.S. CEO John Krafcik tweeted on Oct. 23. We hope that means the coupe moves upscale; the outgoing car is decidedly down-market of its four siblings.