The Genesis began as an ambitious plan to build Korea’s first full size, rear wheel drive sedan. Launched in 2008 as the MY 09, sales have been a resounding success. For an encore performance, they benchmarked the best cars in the world. We spent a week with the new Genesis 5.0 Sedan and it thoroughly impressed us.
The Genesis is all new for 2015, and they started with a blank canvas. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so they’ve taken cues from some of the best sedans on the market. At first glance you can see 5-series in the crease that runs along the door handles, Lexus LS along the rocker panels and a trapezoidal grille that evokes the styling of recent Audis. These features combine into an attractive yet reserved profile. Hyundai describes the new styling as “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” and we hope it will trickle down into their lower models.
Lexus better take notes; this is how to do an interior. The leather used is among the best in the business, and it has been sculpted into a multifaceted jewel. The 12-way adjustable heated/ventilated seats have multiple lumbar areas and a front cushion extender. The black wood trim is matte finished and, along with brushed aluminum accents, keeps glare to a minimum. The controls take a little getting used to. With many manufacturers combining systems like heated seating and climate control into the entertainment display, Hyundai uses separate controls for each. This can be a positive, as it leaves the door open for upgrades and prevents the failure of one component (I.E. the display) from affecting other systems.
Aural stimulation is provided by Lexicon®. Digital processors transform any source into a 7.1 channel surround sound and distribute it to seventeen speakers. It is a very precise and powerful system. The myriad of inputs includes AM, FM, Sirius/XM, HD Radio, CD, USB, iPod and Auxiliary ports. Some of the other items that Hyundai isn’t known for are the panoramic sunroof, sunshades for the rear glass, power fold mirrors, paddle shifters and a stylish Heads Up Display projected onto the windshield.
Safety is handled by a slew of modern technologies. The Genesis 5.0 combines lane departure warning, smart cruise control, nine airbags, blind spot warning and automatic emergency braking into a cohesive package. The steering wheel features haptic feedback, which vibrates the steering column if you drift from your lane. Unlike the competition, all of these features are standard content on the 5.0 model.
Motivation comes from an updated version of the 5.0 Liter “Tau” V8. Developed in-house, this smooth runner has an astronomical 11.8 to 1 compression ratio, beating the Corvette Stingray by 3 points. This means they are able to squeeze a ton of power from a small package. Dual variable valve timing allows for regular unleaded gasoline with only a slight decrease in power. Developing 420 hp and 383 ft-lbs of torque, the 5.0 is one of the faster sedans on the market. A full throttle launch will have you at illegal speeds before you can finish reading this sentence. The exhaust note is muscular and sounds intimidating under acceleration. Shifting is handled by a new eight speed Shiftronic® automatic with sequential control from the steering wheel and center console.
Around our urban test loop, we found the Genesis to be a relaxing ride. The suspension is very soft, which is a welcomed diversion from the harshness of sedans tuned for the Autobahn. Even over broken pavement, the Genesis rides like a dream. Seating position and visibility are great, and steering is very responsive. One issue that becomes quickly evident is that the Genesis lacks the level of sound insulation found in its rivals, but the noises we heard were easily cancelled out by the audio system or the accelerator. Of the engine noise, it is a pleasing melody that reminds you to tread softly for the sake of your rear tires. Provoking the V8 is fun but we found a possible issue: fuel mileage. The 5.0 model is rated at only 15 MPG city/23 highway. Other V8 powered sedans get better mileage, but have much less content and a higher price. If economy is a major concern, the 3.8 V6 model is capable of 29 mpg on the highway.
If you would like more details, the Society of Auto Engineers has published an interview with Hyundai Motors of America VP Mike O’Brien as he goes into detail about the engineering behind the new Genesis. They have built a no-compromises full size luxury sedan. Fit and finish are world class, and attention has been paid to every detail. Priced at $55,700, it is a bargain compared to any other sedans in this segment. The Genesis is underwritten by Hyundai’s 10 year warranty, and considering the safety and quality we experienced, it will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come