Hyundai took a leap of faith in the U.S. automotive market when it introduced its Genesis luxury sedan at the 2008 North American International Auto Show. The result was a product brimming with quality, with performance credentials to boot, at a price to undercut sedans with similar figures and higher prestige.
Six years later, in a resurgent economy aching for luxury offerings, Hyundai is once again betting on a receptive American public, as it launches the follow-up to its original home run.
The 2015 rear-drive Genesis, unveiled Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, gets an all-wheel-drive option for the first time, making Hyundai competitive for luxury buyers in snowy locations.
It also goes high tech with an app that ties Google Glass headsets to Hyundai’s Blue Link electronic safety, service and entertainment features.
A host of high-class materials including premium double-stitched leather, micro suede and textured aluminum come as standard inside, but perhaps the most notable addition (along with Napa leather) is the available open-pore matte-wood finish. Run your hand over this dash insert, and nothing but a real sense of luxury is driven home. Superb.
On the tech front, a hands-free trunk, heads-up display reflected off the windshield, 9.2-inch 720p display and 900-watt, 17-seaker Lexicon Logic 7 sound system do their best to add some new-school flare to the old money vibes provided by the rich leather and wood.
Exterior styling-wise, the Genesis is handsome if a little derivative of other luxury models—including the current Genesis—as you move front to back. Up front, however, the new grille (crowned with a machined-aluminum “Genesis” badge), mascara-lined headlamps and LED foglamps are spectacular and a testament to the luxury chops of the car.
Power comes from the choice of two engines: a 3.8-litre Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) V6 making 311 horsepower and 293 lb.-ft., and a 5.0L Tau V8 that makes 420 hp and 383 lb.-ft. Both come mated to an eight-speed automatic as standard, and both come standard in Canada with a new 40:60 front/rear split all-wheel-drive system (up to 100 per cent of power can be transferred to the rear wheels, and 90 per cent to the fronts).
In order to keep things civil, 38 per cent more high-tensile steel has been used for the platform, helping increase torsional rigidity by 16 per cent. Paired with a full underbody cover, semi-active engine mounts and a new transmission cross-member, expect a quieter ride and less vibration both under hard acceleration and at cruise.