By: Yousef Alvi and Jonathan Wooley
Hyundai was out to prove themselves with the 1st generation Genesis. That car put it all on the line – and the risk paid off. It was the flagship chassis that silenced the critics & stood up to the enthusiasts. It solidified the come-up that we all saw from Hyundai through the first decade of the new millennium. And it lead the entire brand to the main stage under its wing. Today – there is no more laughing-off the fact that South Korea as a serious contender in the automotive industry.
So with that being said, if you’re Hyundai, how do you follow up with the second generation Genesis? It’s kind of like making the next album after you just swept the Grammys. And in a way, there’s even more on the line the 2nd time. But as any musician would say, all you can do – is be you. And from what we can tell, Hyundai is continuing to build on what they know.
This 2nd-generation Genesis, like the 1st, really has its own identity. But whereas the 1st generation was all about ‘earning a place at the table’ with the luxury brands, the 2nd generation seems less concerned with what the other brands may think. The design is powerful & distinctive… with a long, powerful front end. And I’m sure they’ve noticed, as we have, that Japanese & American manufacturers have been taking design cues from Hyundai over the last few years. My only criticism, is that I think the car could really benefit from a larger set of wheels. An OEM set of 19s would only make this car even more striking against the competition. And I feel like if anyone would do it, it would be Hyundai.
The interior is outstanding, with a mature sophistication. It’s an adult’s interior – you don’t feel like you’re in a South Beach club with gizmos & gimmicks… but you also don’t feel like you’re in grandpa’s car either. The infotainment screen is large, quick, and intuitive – and it’s filled with great amounts of tech, like the ability to record satellite radio. The cabin is amazingly quiet. The seats are are impressive from both a sport & comfort standpoint, with seemingly infinite adjustments.
[Heads-up display with navigation & speed limit notification]
The drivetrain is solid and smooth. Our press car was equipped with all-wheel-drive, and the 3.8 liter DOHC with Direct Injection V6 – producing 311 horsepower and 293 ft/lbs. The V6 does 0-60 in 6.4 and brakes back from 60-0 in 109 feet. I found a sweet spot driving it in Sport Mode combined with ‘manual’ gear selecting (a trick I learned from Lexus). Sport Mode tightens up the steering and shift points, but when left in full-auto, the ‘Sport Mode’ tranny can have a bit of a hair trigger – winding out the RPMs or downshifting with the flinch of a muscle. In the Sport/Manual combo… I got the steering feel and throttle response that I liked, with the ability to cruise in a higher gear. But let’s be honest, if you’re gonna be doing all that – get the V8!
You can look at the competition that’s out there – and be wowed by either solid-yet-boring driving dynamics, an overabundance of confusing tech, astronomical cost, soullessness, poor reliability, and/or cars that have just plain lost their purpose. Or you can admire the car from Hyundai that is fundamentally different. A car that gets back to the real ‘luxury sport sedan’ basics… in a way that is anything but basic.