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2015 Hyundai Genesis Debut

Hyundai's luxury game has officially gotten serious

2015 Hyundai Genesis Research Click to hide

What's New

A few years ago, the Hyundai Genesis sedan was one of the first shots heard 'round the world from the Korean juggernaut. Finally, Hyundai had built a credible luxury sedan. And controversially enough, it wasn't badged as a luxury make. It carried the same badge as a $14,000 Hyundai Accent. In the end, it was quite a good car, but it was hardly the sort of vehicle that could keep BMW engineers up late at night in a state of panic.

Some years later—five to be exact—Hyundai is back at it with its second-generation Genesis sedan, and it looks like it's making yet another attempt to ascend the ranks as a premium product at a slight discount. This time, Hyundai might have done it.

Who It's For

There are some who believe that a luxury car must have a premium badge. Then there are those who'd scoop up a Hyundai Genesis every year, getting 90 percent of the car at 75 percent of the price. Mind you, that last 10 percent is what oftentimes makes a luxury car feel truly worth it; the devil's in the details, as they say. But there are plenty of people who just want leather-lined luxury and peace of mind that comes with a 10-year warranty. Right as the 99-Percenters movement got afoot, there was also an idea that started called "smart luxury." Basically, it meant enjoying life's pleasures without ostentation. Come on, would anyone ever really have the gall to throw eggs or tomatoes at a Hyundai in protest?

While Hyundai is obviously targeting Mercedes-Benz and BMW with its new Genesis sedan, cars like it and the Buick Lacrosse were really the beneficiaries of the Great Recession. Indirectly, they do compete with one another.

Key Features

Besides the new styling direction, dubbed Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan also features:
  • All-wheel drive for the first time, dubbed HTRAC for Hyundai Traction.
  • A choice of a 3.8-liter V-6 or 5.0-liter V-8. Horsepower is rated at less than its predecessor at 311 and 420, respectively.
  • A new BlueLink infotainment design that can integrate with Google Glass.
  • Lane-departure warning and active cruise control.
  • A suspension that's been refined on the famed Nurburgring.

What We Think

Initial drive impressions suggest that the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is tuned more softly than its German rivals. If you want more of a luxury sedan than a sporting beast, that's certainly not a bad thing.

After years of being accused of having derivative styling, Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture styling is going less me-too and more me-lead. We think this car should be able to capture a larger slice of its segment than the modest numbers of the current car. Hyundai proved that it could sell a $40,000-and-up luxury sports sedan. Now, it just needs to prove that it can compete with the best in the world. Seeing that many rival automakers' executives were circling around the new Genesis after its auto show debut, that might not be as far off as anyone might think.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Detroit 2014