We got a glimpse of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis when it debuted in Korea late last year, but today, at the Detroit Auto Show, it receives its mainstream unveiling. Additionally, we learned some vital statistics, including a reduction in power (slightly) and a mound of welcomed technology. Starting at under $40,000, with its prettier face, the new Genesis is certainly more of a charmer.
Hyundai utilized a 5-Series in testing, and the Genesis even spent time circulating the Nurburgring. The bar, therefore, was set high. And its stiffer chassis, thanks to further use of high-strength steel, promises nimbler handling; Hyundai claim the new Genesis boasts better torsional stiffness than BMW's 5. The V-8 Genesis also has the option of adaptive dampers, and an all-wheel drive system can be selected.
But let's address the power reduction, shall we?
Fortunately it's only a few horsepower, but it's done with an aim to broaden the torque curve, providing better low rev punch. The V-6 option boasts 311 hp while the 5.0-liter V-8 model pushes 420 hp, managing 383 lb.-ft. of torque; still solid figures and on par (or slightly above) its main competition.
Aesthetically, the new Genesis feels more unique than the model it replaces, avoiding the copycat mentality of old. Hyundai's HCD-14 concept clearly influenced design and the more abrupt, larger front grille adds bite. What's interesting, however, is the Genesis' new technology:
Features like adaptive cruise control and emergency braking aren't uncommon, but Hyundai ventures further by introducing a steering support system that adjusts suspension settings in the event of an impact to give you the best opportunity to avoid a wreck. Blind spot monitoring is incorporated, and the steering wheel buzzes incessantly if you try to turn into an occupied lane. When you reverse, not only does the rear view camera allow you to see, an actual distance metric is displayed on the center console. To prevent sleepy drivers, an inboard system monitors CO2 levels within the cockpit; if it surpasses 2,000 parts per million, the ventilation system adds fresh air to help rebalance. Instead of waving your foot under the car to release the trunk, like in the Ford Escape, the Genesis' opens by standing in front of the trunk hatch for three seconds with the key in your pocket. A heads up display, too, can be optioned.
Simply, it's an impressive array of features for a car that's aiming to travel further upscale. Whether it can truly challenge BMW, however, remains to be seen.