Genesis Motors Keeps Talking Performance

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Earlier this month, we reported on industry rumblings that suggested Genesis is keen on building a hotter G70. While the brand has issued no official announcement on upcoming products, such a model seems likely. At least, once the fledgling brand gets a high-volume crossover (or two) to market.

Erwin Raphael, Executive Director of Genesis Motor America, recently added fuel to those rumors while putting his own twist on things. Whereas product planner Mike O’Brien hinted at an upgraded G70, Raphael brought up something more purpose built for performance.

“I do think it is incredibly important to have a sports car — a high-performance, purebred sports car. Even something with electrified powertrains,” he told CarBuzz in a recent interview. “We think the market is going that way with the low-end torque. The responsiveness is important for a sports car.”

That points directly at the Essentia Concept, Genesis’ idea for a carbon-fiber super grand tourer with multiple electric motors that debuted at last year’s New York Auto Show. However, in addition to being incredibly expensive to develop, it’s not the type of model we’d expect from the brand at this early stage. It also looks far too much like something from Aston Martin and is missing a couple of doors.

Raphael wasn’t certain of Genesis actually wanting a coupe in its lineup. He elaborated by saying “a sports car would likely be a coupe but a coupe for the sake of having one — I don’t know.” It’s his belief that delivering a coupe from an existing platform was “a completely different issue from a coupe and having a coupe strategy.”

That points right back at the G70. But how would Genesis do it? Hyundai recently started packaging high-performance model under its N division — which apes BMW’s M ideology and even borrows one of its former engineers. But it has also delivered a good car that’s earning heaps of praise. Could the automaker’s luxury arm do the same?

Erwin doesn’t think so.

“We have no plans at this point in time,” Raphael said. “We can move the dynamic drive and push it far enough that we don’t need a separate division.”

We’re inclined to agree, though it wouldn’t be hard to affix a common badge to denote performance models if Genesis chose to. It would also be silly for the brand to waste the dynamic engineering expertise Hyundai Group currently has at its disposal. But that doesn’t mean the Korean luxury brand needs to roll out its own version of AMG or M Performance.

As Genesis is still finding its footing as a brand, it probably shouldn’t overreach. But there are a lot of ways to go about this, and, based on the number of employees unofficially announcing the automaker’s desire to broaden its performance appeal, Genesis will eventually make a move. Maybe we won’t ever see the Essentia in production, but we’ll probably see more serious contenders for the brand’s German rivals, with very impressive spec sheets, after the company releases a premium crossover like the GV80.

[Images: Genesis Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Discoman Discoman on Jan 28, 2019

    Firebird returns!

  • Jfk-usaf Jfk-usaf on Jan 28, 2019

    Because this is where their attentions (and dollars) should be in order to be successful in todays marketplace. After all, Jags paying all their bills with the F-Type alone... or was that the F- something else...

  • Vulpine My first pickup truck was a Mitsubishi Sport... able to out-accelerate the French Fuego turbo by Renault at the time. I really liked the brand back then because they built a model for every type of driver, including the rather famous 300/3000GT AWD sports car (a car I really wanted, but couldn't afford.)
  • Vulpine A sedan version of either car makes it no longer that car. We've already seen this with the Mustang Mach-E and almost nobody acknowledges it as a Mustang.
  • Vulpine Not just Chevy, but GM has been shooting itself in the foot for the last three decades. They've already had to be rescued once in that period, and if they keep going as they are, they will need another rescue... assuming the US govt. will willing to lose more money on them.
  • W Conrad Sedans have been fine for me, but I were getting a new car, it would be an SUV. Not only because less sedans available, but I can't see around them in my sedan!
  • Slavuta More hatchbacks