Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hyundai Genesis

What It Is: The next generation of Hyundai's luxury sedan, which is being designed to take on the competition not just in the U.S. and Asia, but in Europe, too. The new Genesis sedan will sport Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture styling language: Even though the example caught by our spy photographers at Hyundai's Rüsselsheim, Germany, R&D center is heavily camouflaged, the sculpted flanks and coupe-like roofline are clearly visible. The second-generation Genesis sedan will brim with new tech features, such as full LED headlights and a number of assistance systems. The Genesis coupe, by the way, will carry on in its current form for at least another two years.

Why It Matters: The outgoing Genesis sedan is a car that was designed with Asia and North America in mind. Its conservative design failed to excite, and the handling was merely adequate. (A last-minute increase in price ahead of its 2008 introduction didn’t do the car’s launch momentum any favors, either.) For the next Genesis, Hyundai is aiming to be globally competitive, which means the car will be sportier and far more performance-oriented. Even though the U.S. will prove to be the luxury mid-sizer’s most important market, the brand's European R&D operations played a strong role in the development process.

The next Genesis also is significant from a styling point of view. With its sleek lines that evoke the more compact European-market Hyundai i40, this could be first Hyundai in years that looks better than its Kia sibling, the derivative-looking K9/Quoris. Previewing the changes in sheetmetal will be Hyundai’s HCD-14 Genesis concept, which is set to be revealed at the 2013 Detroit auto show.

Platform: The next-generation Genesis sedan will use an evolution of its current platform, a rear-wheel-drive architecture that can be modified to accommodate all-wheel drive. This platform is shared with the slow-selling Equus, as well as the Kia K9/Quoris. We expect the Genesis to receive far sportier tuning than in past models—Hyundai is serious about targeting Audi and BMW.

Powertrains: The Genesis will continue to offer the 3.8-liter V-6 Lambda and 5.0-liter V-8 Tau engines. Output likely will remain close to what’s produced by today’s Genesis—333 horsepower from the V-6 and 429 from the V-8. The European market will be offered a four-cylinder diesel that produces 220 horsepower, and a diesel hybrid using the same mill is a possibility.

Competition: Acura RLX, Audi A6, BMW 5-series, Cadillac XTS, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-class.
Estimated Arrival and Price: After being revealed in concept form in early January, the production-ready Genesis is likely to be available beginning in late 2013 as a 2014 model. The base price should remain very near today’s $35,095.