One of the cornerstones of TTAC's existence is reminding the auto industry that "those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them." As a corollary we can say that learning from history's successes forms part of the recipe for a flat-out victory in today's highly segmented, price sensitive market. We have seen almost two decades since the boring sheetmetal of the Lexus LS400 hit our shores, forever changing the way we think about luxury cars. Fast forwarding along that school of thought brings us to the new, V8-powered, Hyundai Genesis 4.6.
Status seekers know the drill: avoid a South Korean automobile at all costs. That explains HyMoCo's last-minute change of the V8 decklid's (America-only) "H" logo to the global market's winged crest. Even with the Genesis name spelled out on its rear, the re-badged badge puts a little Bentley in yo' face for maximum curb appeal. And it's not offensive. Like the Lexus That Started It All, the Genesis demonstrates design-naivety; a socially inept copycat of the hottest sellers in this segment. Think of it as a muscle-bound Milhouse Van Houten on 18" rims.
The overall look mimics the 5 Series' swoopiness, but with aesthetic restraint and integrated form that eludes the Bangled brand. The front doors have a classic cab-backward feel, paying homage to the G35 while thumbing its nose at Lincoln's latest FWD abomination. The only downside remains the finely crafted grille– it begs for some name recognition to ward off the inevitable references to the brandless contents of a local Dollar Store.
The theme continues inside, where finely crafted materials draped over derivative bones make for a large and comfortable cabin. There's an abundance of chrome accents in Mercedes-like fashion, topped with some of the finest polymers this side of 50-large to ever grace a dashboard.
While the elegantly stitched leather panels are a welcome addition, the lack of wood trim complementing its bold sweeps keep the Hyundai looking up to its Japanese and German competition. And the oak-ish trim that is there looks like an afterthought. The Genesis' dash is also cursed with an array of silver-toned buttons that look better when Wal-Mart sells them on a be-speakered ghetto blaster. Ditto the poorly integrated plastic buttons on the big Hyundai's leather and wood-rimmed tiller.
And that's it. To wit: even the trunk is cavernous and exceptionally well trimmed. Get over the stylistic snafus and the V8 Hyundai earns its keep with up-rated leather seating, illuminated sill plates, a Caddy-trumping rear bench and a heated/cooled seat for the driver. They had to cut costs somewhere, so too bad about the other occupants' thermally-challenged backsides. At least everyone else gets to share in the joy of all 528 watts in the stellar Lexicon 7.1-channel audio system. Mark Levinson may not feel the heat just yet, but Mark Fields better take some damn good notes.
Fire up the (keyless) ignition and the Genesis "4.6" channels 375 horses through six speeds, under the watchful eye of two rear wheels, four Sachs-controlled (and Magnaride-worthy) dampeners, and a five-link suspension on both axles. The hardware continues to impress, just like the 5.7 second sprint to sixty. But stomping the torque-rich "Tau" V8 feels like a hollow treat; the electronically controlled throttle keeps the you from overtaxing your funmeter.
Put another way, you can feel the Genesis 4.6 really sing halfway though second gear. Hyundai could have gone for Detroit's jugular, but this does leave room for a sport package. Or not.
Granted the Pistonhead-worthy versions of Germany's finest are safe, but the Genesis 4.6 puts everyone else on notice with level cornering and a composed ride at sane speeds. Understeer hits well after the Genesis' body roll "tells" the driver to calm the hell down. That said, Hyundai did a fine job carrying speed with a load of passengers, but the positively sublime ride forms the core component of the car.
If Lexus pursued perfection, Hyundai got the patent. The SACHs-tuned springy bits absolutely devour a long interstate. Toss potholes, speed bumps or pavement joints into the mix and the Genesis moves so gracefully I swore it gained 6-inches in wheelbase and grew a Panther chassis. The slippery drag coefficient adds to a silent cabin. The Genesis 4.6 simply drives like a far more expensive car.
this affordable this good simply boggles the mind. But armchair analysts see the derivative sheetmetal and questionable Hyundai dealership experience going over as well as a fart in church. Be that as it may, the Genesis 4.6 stands well on its merits.
Its amazing that a country that had its first democratically-held election when Toyota was building a pseudo-autobahn now makes a luxury sedan that runs with the class leaders for a fraction of the price. The Hyundai Genesis 4.6 is the car Lexus made in 1989, and the one Detroit killed decades ago.