Hyundai’s new snazzy Sedan oozes class inside out

Checking out the car, which is out next year.

The new Genesis with its sophisticated design and attention to driving dynamics gives it a European feel. Courtesy Hyundai
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Initially launched in 2008 as the Korean automotive giant’s first executive saloon export, the Hyundai Genesis took the traditionally German-dominated premium automotive segment by surprise and acclaim from pundits, especially in the all-important North American market. An ascendant brand benefiting from dramatic sales rises since then, Hyundai is now busy consolidating its enhanced market share, brand perception and luxury credentials – and that is where the all-new 2015, second-generation Genesis steps in.

A decidedly more up-market gambit than its predecessor, the latest model of the Genesis is larger and more luxuriously high tech. With improved driving dynamics, a fancy new model-specific emblem and design language, the new Genesis also boasts of chassis fine-tuning in collaboration with Lotus. Ambitiously spearheading Hyundai’s intentions for enhanced brand positioning, the Genesis was never intended as a standalone prestige brand or independent sub- division and still impresses the point by retaining a standard garden-variety Hyundai boot-lid badge.

Wider, lower and longer, the new Genesis’s generous wheelbase, short front overhangs, indulgently snouty bonnet and prominent shoulders lend a luxuriously formal and assertively draped road presence. Chiselled, clean and classy, the Genesis’s design is dominated by a broad and upright matte metallic-ringed trapezoidal grille with liberally spaced horizontal slats emphasizing its width. Prominent bonnet ridges extend to a rakish roofline and high-set short rear deck. A sharp crease runs from the edge of its wraparound headlights and gently arcs along its flank, through door handles and descends dramatically towards its rear bumper.

Silky smooth and quiet, the range-topping Genesis’s 5.0L, direct- injection V8 engine is characterised by its seamlessly progressive delivery. An under-square engine eager to be revved to its high-end sweet spot, it nonetheless pulls cleanly and meaningfully from tick-over, through to its peak 519Nm torque and maximum 425hp.

The 2,059kg Genesis completes the 0-100kph benchmark in 5.4 seconds and onto an electronically governed 240kph.

With considerable technology, refinement, sales and brand perception improvements in recent years, Hyundai now turns its attention to chassis development and driving dynamics.

The new Genesis feels perceptibly more European, with buttoned-down ride and handling qualities on straights, through corners and on rebound from crests, dips and expansion joints. Firm but smooth, it’s balanced and composed through the few corners encountered, while its steering feels meatier and more direct than before. Tidily turning into corners, the body roll is well contained, while precise and progressive throttle control allow smooth on-throttle exits from corners.

With stiffer frame and sophisticated multi-link suspension with active dampers, the car not only handles better, but rides with reassuringly planted stability, comfort and confidence at speed. The Genesis features an autonomous emergency braking system that automatically brakes if the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly. The safety systems suite also includes lane departure warning, blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control to actively maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. Also, a high-beam assist function senses and adapts to oncoming cars.

Luxurious and refined, the Genesis’s cabin is comfortable, well appointed and classy, with dark matte wood grains, soft textures, ergonomically designed leather-stitched steering wheel and upholstery. Seats are set somewhat high, but well padded and nicely adjustable. Layouts are symmetric while instruments and functions are user-friendly, and even include automatic motion-sensing boot opening. With extensive mod-cons and tech, the Genesis comes with an HUD (head up display) windscreen info display, bird’s-eye around-view camera for maneuverability, smart multi-zone climate control with in-car CO2 sensor and puddle lamp. Adjustable rear seats, 17-speaker sound system and 9.2-inch front infotainment and rear multimedia screens are optional.

A testament to Hyundai’s steep learning curve, the new Genesis seemingly skips an evolutionary level from its predecessor. With its new design, tasteful cabin, high-tech kit and Lotus-tuned chassis, it firmly focuses on earning its place at the executive table. Significantly under-cutting rivals at Dh152,800 for the base 315hp, 3.8L V6 version and Dh205,000 for the range-topping 5.0L, the Genesis is a clear and present threat to its premium Japanese rival, and is knocking ever harder on German doors.