Image credits: © Hyundai.

2009 Hyundai Genesis

Road Test: Hyundai Genesis 3.8

A quick glance at the $40,100 as-tested price tag and premium styling hints at understated Japanese luxury, but peering at the anonymous grille reveals no familiar Acura or Infiniti emblems. Actually, there isn't any emblem on the front of the car. The only clues that this isn't the latest Lexus offering are the winged badges on the wheels and trunk lid, reminiscent of the prestigious Aston Martin and Bentley logos, with the unfamiliar name GENESIS scribed within.

The Genesis, introduced for the 2009 model year, is Hyundai's flagship offering. The platform is offered in both coupe and sedan forms, though the Genesis Coupe is a wholly different vehicle from the 4-door Genesis we tested. The Genesis Coupe uses racier styling and different engine and transmission choices. Its mission to offer a Hyundai equivalent to pricey models from established labels is the same as that of the 4-door Genesis, but the Genesis Coupe competes more directly with the Nissan 370Z and even the fresh battery of muscle cars from Detroit. The Genesis referenced in this article is the 4-door version, aimed at the Lexus GS, BMW 5-series, and other premium rear-wheel-drive models.

Before you dismiss a high-end Hyundai as an oxymoron, remember that the Azera, Hyundai's top of the line model prior to the Genesis, is still being made. A notch higher than the already comfortable and well-equipped Azera, the new Hyundai Genesis is moving boldly into the luxury car arena with new features and higher prices. The Genesis is not just a family car loaded with standard features—it's a genuine premium car riding on an exclusive platform.

Introducing a luxury car in the midst of a recession may not seem like the most logical idea, but, despite its absence of the Korean manufacturer's familiar emblem, the Genesis is still very much a Hyundai. It offers outstanding warranty coverage and excellent value, making it the perfect luxury vehicle for executives on a budget.

The tested model, called the Genesis 3.8 for its 3.8 liter V6, has a base price of $32,250. The Genesis 4.6, which comes standard with a 4.6 liter V8 capable of putting out 375 horsepower, starts at $37,250. The prices look steep for a nameplate with no prestige, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another car that offers so much power and feature content for so little cash.

Our car's $40,100 price reflected over $7,000 in options. But whereas even premium companies such as Porsche sometimes charge extra for items like floor mats, the standard features list on the Genesis is so complete that all of the options are unfiltered luxuries. Buyers don't get duped by a deceptively low price tag that forces them to choose many necessities (like those floor mats) off the expensive options list. Our test vehicle came with both the Technology ($4,000) and Premium Plus ($3,000) packages. The added features included with those packages turned the interior of the Genesis into a downright posh cabin. Leather covered the seats, doors, and dash. A 528-watt stereo with 17 speakers and a free one-year subscription to XM satellite radio ensured that the quiet cockpit could be filled on command with as much noise as anyone could ever want. A cooled driver seat (both front seats are heated as standard), back-up camera, power steering column adjustment, and parking assist with front and rear sensors are just some of the extra features our test vehicle included. From the outside, lines that already looked expensive (though anonymous and unoriginal), were enhanced by 18-inch, 9-spoke wheels.

Using the increasingly popular keyless entry and starting system, our Genesis was roused into life by a foot on the brake and a quick push of an engine start/stop button. The V6 was smooth and barely audible at idle. Settling into the interior was comfortable, and controls were all where they would be expected. The switches had a high quality feel to them. The plastics looked expensive and the leather was supple, both materials using warm colors to give the interior a rich ambiance. The winged badge on the steering wheel looked a little tacky, but brand-conscious American buyers will likely prefer it over the traditional Hyundai logo.

The car exhibited quick initial throttle response and perfect steering weighting at low speeds. The throttle was touchy for around town driving, but easy enough to get used to. The brakes worked very well with good feel and pedal effort. The steering felt artificial at speed, but the weighting remained superb. The ride was quiet and composed over smooth surfaces. Bumps were damped well, but the chassis felt rubbery and isolated when broken pavement was encountered. That isolation was acceptable for routine driving, but the artificial feel to the ride and steering took the fun factor out of spirited motoring. Still, the car felt planted and confident in corners with plenty of power from the V6.

With 290hp at 6,200rpm and 264lb-ft of torque at 4,500rpm, the 24-valve engine made getting up to speed an easy process in the Genesis. A 3.91:1 final drive ratio allowed quick launches and the rear-wheel-drive platform felt surefooted when accelerating, but the V6 made a lot of commotion under hard acceleration and sounded gruffer than would be expected of a luxury car. Once underway, the 6-speed automatic kept rpm's low to quiet the motor. While cruising, the V6 was suitably hushed. The 6-speed's upshifts were smooth and imperceptible, but the transmission was reluctant to downshift even with a heavy right foot. Kick-down was delayed and accompanied by lots of noise from the motor.

The front seats in the Genesis were comfortable enough, but they felt too flat and had flabby side bolsters. They would have benefitted from more ergonomic contouring and stiffer bolsters, but the perforated leather was comfortable and provided enough friction to keep passengers in place.

In normal driving, the Genesis felt composed and quiet. The car may have been unexciting, but its smooth ride and hushed cabin (as long as acceleration is gentle) would make it a relaxing commuter. The car's ability to use regular fuel and its impressive gas mileage, with an EPA-estimated 18mpg city and 27mpg highway, make the Genesis an excellent vehicle for those trying to get to work in comfort without paying a premium for a prestigious badge. Hyundai's standard 10-year/100,000-mile warranty further establishes the Genesis as an affordable luxury cruiser.

Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura were all formed so that Japanese makers could sell high-end cars to Americans too concerned with their image to buy expensive Toyotas, Nissans, or Hondas. America has remained a notoriously brand-conscious market, and the success of Hyundai's Genesis in the U.S. is not only uncertain, but unlikely. Still, the Genesis has its merits, chief of which is its affordability. This may not be the right time to sell a luxury car, but Hyundai has a shot at selling the Genesis to people who are unwilling to sacrifice comfort even when forced to pinch pennies.

Thank you to Colonial Hyundai in Ewing, NJ for arranging the test drive.

By Evan Acuña

HYUNDAI UNVEILS GENESIS PREMIUM SPORTS SEDAN

2009 Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai crafts a rival to $60,000 sports sedans...with a starting price under $30,000 Rear-wheel drive and high-output V8 engine deliver world-class driving experience

Hyundai aims to shatter premium automobile paradigms with the North American International Auto Show introduction of its new flagship, the all-new Genesis sports sedan on January 13. With capabilities and features comparable to $60,000 premium sedans, Genesis will be offered at a starting price under $30,000 when it goes on sale this summer.

Genesis is built on Hyundai's all-new, performance-driven rear-wheel-drive architecture. It offers three powertrains, including 3.3-liter and 3.8-liter V6 engines, and Hyundai's all-new 4.6-liter Tau V8. Tau will produce an estimated 368 horsepower on regular fuel, and lead all its competitors in specific output with 80 horsepower per liter. With technology rivaling more expensive luxury sedans, Genesis showcases features such as XM NavTraffic, Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS), Smart Cruise Control, Lexicon® audio systems and electronic active head restraints.

'While Genesis will compete for customers with cars like Chrysler 300 and Pontiac G8, our engineering benchmarks were Mercedes E-Class, Infiniti M, and Lexus GS,' said John Krafcik, vice president, product development and strategic planning, Hyundai Motor America. 'Genesis provides a potent combination of performance, luxury, and value. We think it has the opportunity to be an extremely disruptive force in the large sedan and near-luxury segments.' Genesis ushers in a new era for Hyundai. Its all-new rear-wheel drive architecture will spawn more products in other segments, as suggested by the Concept Genesis Coupe shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2007.

NEW PERFORMANCE-DRIVEN REAR-WHEEL-DRIVE ARCHITECTÚRE

2009 Hyundai GenesisGenesis is built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive architecture, its first application in a Ú.S. Hyundai model. Genesis boasts a near ideal 53/47 front-to-rear weight distribution for exceptional handling and more refined steering characteristics. The rear-wheel-drive layout allowed engineers to position the car's front wheels farther forward delivering outstanding handling and steering performance. Standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), the industry's most important new safety technology, further enhances the vehicle's driving confidence. Hyundai leads all popular car brands in the standard application of ESC, with more than 70 percent of 2007 Hyundai sales featuring ESC as standard equipment.

Genesis reduces interior noise levels and improves ride and handling with a stiffer, lighter body structure. The use of high tensile steel in critical areas in the unibody provides Genesis with 12-14 percent higher dynamic torsional rigidity and a lower body structure weight than the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class – despite having a substantially larger cabin than either of those benchmarks. Hyundai Genesis has more interior volume than Mercedes Benz E-Class and BMW 7-Series.

WORLD-CLASS Tau V8

2009 Hyundai Genesis

Headlining the Genesis' performance capabilities is Hyundai's all-new Tau 4.6-liter V8 engine mated to a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. The Tau V8 delivers an estimated 368 horsepower to fit the demands of performance-oriented consumers. Únlike many competitors and most premium sedans, it achieves this impressive power output using regular unleaded fuel – further demonstration of Hyundai's commitment to value. This powertrain combination will launch Genesis to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. The Tau produces more horsepower and torque than the powerplants found in Lexus GS450, BMW 750i, Audi A8 and Infiniti M45 and has more horsepower per liter than any of its V8 competitors. The Tau engine is built with flexibility for the future. Future Tau variants may offer larger displacement, forced induction options and other technology enhancements.
STRONG LAMBDA V6 PERFORMANCE

Genesis also delivers spirited performance through its two V6 options -- all-aluminum 3.3-liter and 3.8-liter DOHC V6 engines that deliver an estimated 268 horsepower and 233 lb-ft. of torque and an estimated 290 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque, respectively. To maximize the power spread, the engines utilize Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on intake and exhaust cam shafts and a new Variable Intake System (VIS) that helps cylinders breathe efficiently at low and high RPM. The better breathing results in outstanding off-the-line acceleration and passing performance, and remarkable fuel efficiency. The V6 engines use an alloy block and cylinder heads for lighter weight and thermal efficiency, and feature timing chains with no scheduled maintenance. Even with their impressive output, all Genesis engines are also environmentally friendly, with all three achieving Últra Low Emission Vehicle (ÚLEV) certification levels.

2009 Hyundai Genesis
Both Genesis V6 engines use an Aisin 6-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission that features an overdrive lock-up torque converter for improved highway fuel economy. The transmission offers smooth shifts and a wide spread of ratios that ideally suit both engine's characteristics including a tall-overdrive sixth gear for quiet, efficient highway cruising. Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC® feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear that's in use.

The Tau V8 Genesis is mated with an enhanced, high-output ZF 6-speed transmission to handle the added horsepower and torque.

INNOVATIVE AND SOPHISTICATED SPORT-TÚNED SÚSPENSION

2009 Hyundai Genesis
Genesis features a suspension design that is among the most sophisticated and refined anywhere, at any price. The front five-link suspension features upper and lower arms linking the front wheels to the chassis. This artfully articulated arrangement creates a virtual king pin axis that dramatically reduces unwanted kickback through the steering wheel as well as improving responsiveness. The five-link independent rear suspension is equally sophisticated, enabling precise suspension geometry for a premium ride and engaging handling prowess. The capabilities of the advanced front and rear-suspension are maximized through Amplitude Selective Dampers (ASD) allowing tuning flexibility at smaller damper displacements. The ASD suspension provides:
· Improved ride comfort with more body / wheel control
· Increase driving comfort without compromised handling
· Optimizes road surface contact
· Technology used in Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models
PROGRESSIVE DESIGN MIRRORS ATHLETIC CAPABILITY

Genesis' design is a progressive interpretation of the modern rear-wheel drive sports sedan. (concept carz) To match its dynamic capabilities, Genesis combines strong, sculpted forms which integrate precise details, natural materials and innovative lighting to provide a well-crafted, premium design aesthetic.

HIGH-TECH ACCOMMODATIONS AT ACCESSIBLE PRICE POINTS

The new 2009 Genesis is the most advanced Hyundai ever. From its design and spaciousness to its technology and appointments, it delivers a wealth of features and performance befitting flagship European and Asian brands, but delivers them at a much more accessible price point. Starting with its Lexicon state-of-the-art audio system featuring LOGIC 7® technology, Genesis offers an extraordinary combination of technology, premium appointments, and value. Standard is a soft-touch instrument panel with woodgrain accents, Bluetooth® hands-free mobile phone interface, and ÚSB/iPod® auxiliary inputs. A state-of-the-art navigation system with an eight-inch display is available. The navigation unit is accessed by a user-friendly multi-media controller that also controls the radio. Backing out of tight spaces and avoiding mishaps is much easier with the available backup camera that uses the eight-inch display to show the driver a clear view immediately behind the car.

A leather-wrapped dash, door panels, and console lid surround the driver in a luxurious environment, while heated and cooled driver's seat provides optimal driving comfort. An automatic windshield defogger with humidity sensor and rain-sensing wipers allow crystal clear sight lines. No other car in the segment offers an ultraviolet reflective leather steering wheel, which keeps the surface cool to the touch, even in scorching sunlight. Genesis also offers the conveniences of power rear sunshade, automatic electronic parking brake, proximity key and push button starter.

LEXICON® AÚDIO SYSTEMS TEAM WITH XM, HD RADIO™, and APPLE TO OFFER ÚNRIVALED AÚDIO PERFORMANCE AND CHOICE

Rolls Royce Phantom and Hyundai Genesis are the only automobiles to offer a Lexicon-branded state-of-the-art audio system featuring LOGIC 7® technology. The Lexicon® surround sound audio system includes a 12-channel digital amplifier and 17 speakers producing more than 500 watts of sound in 7.1 discrete audio. Genesis is also the first popular brand to offer the clarity of digital HD Radio technology from the factory. Navigation-equipped Genesis models also include a 30-gigabyte hard drive and XM NavTraffic. Like every 2009 Hyundai, Genesis comes standard with XM Satellite Radio. Auxiliary ÚSB and iPod® inputs allow drivers to fully control and charge iPods directly from the head unit.

ADVANCED LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY

Vital Stats and Specifications
Vital Stats
Engine : 3.3 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 264 hp
Torque: 233 ft-lbs

Engine : 3.8 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 290 hp
Torque: 264 ft-lbs

Engine : 4.6 L., 8-cylinder
Power: 375 hp
Torque: 333 ft-lbs


The 2009 Genesis offers Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. The advantages of HID headlamps include greater lighting power, daylight-type lighting and reduced power consumption. In addition, the cut lines of the new HID headlights are extremely precise, providing maximum nighttime visibility without distracting other drivers. The lamps also feature an auto-leveling function which keeps the headlights level regardless of how the vehicle is loaded with passengers or cargo. Genesis also offers an Automatic Front Lighting System that allows the headlamps to automatically swivel for better visibility when cornering.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES DELIVER IMPROVED SAFETY PERFORMANCE

Maintaining Hyundai's emphasis on delivering leading safety technology, Genesis boasts world-class active and passive safety features to help both prevent accidents, and maximize the well being of its occupants in the event of a collision. The Genesis continues the Hyundai tradition of standardizing key life-saving safety technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), eight airbags and electronic active head restraints.

Genesis' total of eight airbags include advanced dual front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and roof-mounted side curtain airbags for both front and rear outboard seat occupants.

An electronic active head restraint system will debut on the 2009 Hyundai Genesis. Hyundai is the first popular brand to offer electronic active front head restraints, an improvement over mechanically based active head restraint systems. Úntil now, electronic active head restraints could only be found on select Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus models. Active front head restraints have been proven by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to help prevent whiplash.

Genesis has a total of 8 ultrasonic sensors located on the front and rear bumpers. The sensors along with the rear backup camera help detect how close objects are when parking. Distance is indicated on the in-dash screen and accompanied by an audible warning tone.

Forward-looking radar is used in Genesis' Smart Cruise Control system. Smart Cruise Control adjusts vehicle speed to maintain distance from the vehicle ahead in the same lane.

Genesis is brought to a halt by large four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). The 12.6-inch front rotors have single-piston floating calipers and the rear brakes feature 12.4-inch rotors with single-pistons on V6 models. Twin-pistons and larger rotors are featured on V8 models.

WARRANTY

The all-new 2009 Hyundai Genesis is protected by the Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty™. Coverage includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, and seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. In addition, Genesis buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years (no mileage limit) and that service includes emergency towing, lockout service and limited coverage for trip-interruption expenses. There is no deductible on any of these coverages.

TECHNOLOGY

· Electronic active front head restraints
· Electronic Stability Control
· Eight airbags
· Heated / cooled seats
· High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with adaptive leveling
· Adaptive Front Lighting System
· Push-button start
· Navigation with backup camera
· Electric parking brake
· Standard Bluetooth technology
· iPod/ÚSB auxiliary inputs
· HD Radio™ receiver
· XM Satellite Radio® with NavTraffic
· Lexicon® Discrete Surround Audio Systems
· Automatic windshield defogger with humidity sensor
· Rain-sensing wipers
· Smart cruise control
· Five-link front and rear suspension
· Tau V8 engine
· 6-speed transmissions

Source - Hyundai
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