The second generation of a game changer | Every single part of it looks and feels luxurious, and that's no easy feat.
The Hyundai Genesis was definitely a game changer when it was introduced nearly a half-decade ago. It basically declared to our market that a large sedan has no reason to cost $70,000 in order to deliver Mercedes-Benz levels of luxury with Toyota levels of reliability. Initially, many scoffed at the thought of an executive sedan with a “Hyundai” badge on it, but those people were quickly put in their respective places. Now, it’s back for a second generation – we were handed a 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate to gauge our thoughts.
I fondly remember the first time we reviewed a Genesis. It was in the early reviewing days of DoubleClutch.ca, and we were given a loaded-up 3.8L V6 model. For some reason, that car won over our entire team. The new car comes with both that V6 and the V8 tested here, the latter being the flagship model. All models come standard with all-wheel-drive in Canada. The 5.0L V8 is good for 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. The V8 Genesis doesn’t need to brag about being a torque monster or a quarter-mile champion; the beauty of this car is its overall demeanour. It doesn’t exactly drive, it simply glides from your start point to your destination. The 8-speed automatic allows it to cruise down the highway with the utmost ease and buttery smooth operation.
Now, being smooth doesn’t mean it’s not quick. Putting your foot down on an on-ramp or a passing maneuver is extremely satisfying. The roar of the Tau V8 is unmistakable and music to the ears of any car guy. In “Sport” mode, the Genesis gets out of its own way very quickly, and steering response is surprisingly good for a car of this size. In fact, after testing Hyundai’s flagship model, the Equus this past winter, I can’t help but feel that the Genesis is the superior sedan in every way other than sheer size. I spent the majority of my week driving either in “Normal” or “Eco” modes (because fuel savings are always good), and the Genesis gave no hint of sharing its parent company with the economical Accent.
The powertrain isn’t the only place the Genesis 5.0 excels – my test car was the “Ultimate” model. This package holds true to its name; it has almost every gadget you can think of that belongs in a car anywhere south of $100,000. Everything from a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, Lane Keep Assist, rear window sunshades, a micro-suede headliner, smart trunk (motion sensing), right through to radar cruise control is on board. The infotainment screen is 9.2″ and has everything from iPod, navigation, and Bluetooth right through to climate control management. Graphics on this screen are very high-resolution and it looks very upscale. It’s also very responsive and there’s minimal lag, even when browsing through playlists on an iPod with over 20,000 tracks on it.
Sound quality from the 17-speaker Lexicon surround sound system is excellent. Being an audiophile myself, I’d typically scoff at someone making this comparison, but I would say it’s right on par with the likes of Bang & Olufsen and Meridian sound systems that far more expensive competitors offer. My only serious gripe with this stereo is that whenever an iPod is plugged in and the car is shut off, the system forgets what track, playlist, or podcast it was playing and restarts from Track 001. This may sound like a small thing, but for those of us who listen to podcasts that are hours long, losing one’s spot is particularly annoying.
The styling of the second-generation car is, in my opinion, stunning. Remove the badges and it looks like it could be a premium offering from any of the large German manufacturers. The LED headlight design is stunning, and the profile of the car is simply gorgeous. The front license plate placement is a bit awkward – it’s right in the middle of the large, elegant open-mouth grille, and it distracts from the lines of the Genesis. However, I’m sure that a better solution will soon be offered either as a Hyundai accessory or on the aftermarket.
Fuel economy is definitely not a strength of the V8-powered Genesis Sedan, but it’s fairly reasonable considering the size and weight of the car. My driving consisted of a mostly-highway commute in “Eco” mode, but there was a considerable amount of rush hour city driving as well. I averaged 11.6L/100km on premium fuel. This isn’t exactly efficient, but it’s important to remember that this is a 400+ horsepower car that isn’t a lightweight. The fuel tank will take 75L of premium.
The new Hyundai Genesis is a masterpiece. Every single part of it looks and feels luxurious, and that’s no easy feat for a manufacturer that, not much more than 25 years ago, was making Stellars and Ponys. A great number of my father’s friends are middle-aged executives who have owned a few German flagship sedans. Over the past couple years, I’ve seen at least four of them transition into loaded Hyundai Genesis 3.8s. At just over $60,000, the 5.0 model is only a small percentage of Genesis sales, but it’s a great option for those who literally want the best of the best. Personally, I would love to own a 3.8 sedan with the Technology package as a daily driver – please make mine black.