By Kelsey Mays on November 26, 2013
Competes with: Chrysler 300, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S80
Looks like: Elantra/Azera/Tucson styling meets Hyundai’s luxury sedan
Drivetrain: 311-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 or 419-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 with eight-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: 2014
Hyundai revealed the next generation of its Genesis sedan this week to journalists in Seoul, South Korea. The new Genesis sedan will come with rear- or (new) all-wheel drive, and Hyundai global CEO Mong-Koo Chung promised the car would "compete head-on with top-tier premium models in the global market, including Europe."
That's what the last Genesis, which hit U.S. dealerships in summer 2008, promptly did. Can its successor repeat that? We'll see, but the path to success has at least one less hurdle. Thanks to the first Genesis and, to some extent, the pricier Equus, Hyundai has shown its luxury chops. Consumer acceptance of the second Genesis should be less of a question mark.
Hyundai says it already received some 3,500 preorders for the sedan. It wants to sell 62,000 Genesis sedans worldwide in 2014 — about half on its home turf and the other half across North America, the Middle East, China and Russia. Hyundai says the car goes on sale in major international markets, including the U.S., in 2014. The automaker confirmed to us last October that the redesigned Genesis sedan will be a 2015 model; we still have no details on the Genesis coupe, but judging by U.S. Hyundai CEO John Krafcik's tweets, another one is on the way.
The Genesis debuts the second generation of Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture styling, exemplified best on the Elantra sedan and Tucson crossover. Full shots reveal more of the grille than what we saw in Hyundai's first renderings last October. It sits low and broad, narrowing to a base just wider than a Euro-style license plate frame. Horizontal fog lights sit above an opening that runs the length of the bumper — an element that recalls the 2009-2012 BMW 7 Series. The new Genesis trades its predecessor's subtly rising beltline for a flat crease that runs parallel to the ground. That would seem to benefit sightlines, but the sleeker roofline appears to minimize the windows, which would do just the opposite.
Length, width and height stay roughly the same, which means the Genesis is somewhere between a midsize and full-size luxury car — think BMW 5 Series and 7 Series. But its wheelbase has increased 2.9 inches, which could improve the Genesis' ride quality; so could a new multilink rear suspension. We thought the outgoing car rode fine, but Hyundai has told us in the past that some shoppers deemed it too firm. Alloy wheels range from 17 to 19 inches, but it's unclear which options will come to the stateside version of the Genesis.
Inside, the Genesis adopts center controls from Hyundai's pricier Equus sedan. This year's center display measures 8 inches or 9.2 inches with a 1,280-by-720 pixel display; the outgoing Genesis has 7- or 8-inch displays that topped out at 800 by 480 pixels. The new system offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Apple's Siri support, various apps and Google points of interest. It's unclear if that requires a separate internet subscription, however.
Materials include real aluminum — but still fake wood — with denser seats and larger bolsters. Double stitching replaces single stitching across the leather upholstery, and Hyundai claims 16 percent more interior storage space. Trunk volume measures 15.3 cubic feet, down from today's 15.9 cubic feet but still competitive with midsize luxury cars.
A new Smart Trunk feature automatically opens the trunk if the key fob is detected nearby for longer than three seconds. It's another way to access the trunk for grocery-encumbered owners, and you'll get an audible warning and flashing lights before it opens. We still envision a lot of unintended trunk openings, so Hyundai says you can deactivate the feature in the car's onboard settings.
Under the Hood
The global Genesis employs four engines — three V-6s from 3.0 to 3.8 liters, plus Hyundai's 5.0-liter Tau V-8. We'll likely see the V-8 and largest (3.8-liter) V-6, which makes 311 horsepower and 293 pounds-feet of torque. That's down 22 horsepower but up 2 pounds-feet versus today's 3.8-liter Genesis.
Hyundai revised airflow, increased cylinder compression and optimized fuel injection for the V-8, which makes 419 horsepower and 383 pounds-feet of torque. That's down 10 hp but up 7 pounds-feet versus today's Genesis 5.0 R-Spec.
Both engines continue with an eight-speed automatic. Weight specs are still unknown, but Hyundai says that with rear-wheel drive the 3.8-liter Genesis hits 60 mph in the low 6-second range, while the V-8 gets there in the low 5s. Our friends at "MotorWeek" nailed 60 mph in 5.1 seconds with a 2012 Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, so the forthcoming model looks to be just as quick.
Drivers can choose between Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow modes with a drive-mode selector; in all-wheel-drive models, Sport sends more power to the rear. The electric power steering also employs variable ratio, not just assist. Hyundai says it tested the chassis at Germany's venerated Nürburgring raceway — all but required for a car that claims performance chops.
A plethora of safety features include lane departure warning and mitigation systems, blind spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control with emergency auto-braking.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey