UPDATE: Video of Hyundai's live reveal of the Genesis added after the jump

click the above image to view our high-res gallery of the Hyundai Genesis Concept

Hyundai wants you to forget what you know about its design chops (or, um, the lack thereof), recalibrate your expectations to something on par with the German or Japanese, and lay your eyes on the Genesis.

Sure, there aren't many original lines on the car, but it neatly avoids the awkwardness of previous Hyundai design efforts and appears to be a credible threat in the mid-size luxury sedan market. The Genesis rides on a new RWD platform that is said to offer a lighter body-in-white weight than the 5-series or E-class while providing more torsional rigidity. Our camera also caught some aluminum goodies in the suspension (namely, the lower rear control arms and rear uprights) as further evidence of the Korean manufacturer's attempt to play with the big boys.

A laundry list of features makes it sound like someone has the Lexus LS squarely in the crosshairs, but there's little actual evidence of technology such as HD radio and active cruise control on the concept. In fact, the blacked-out windows provided not a glimpse of the interior, and it's there that Hyundai's battle in the luxury market will likely be won or lost. Stay tuned, for this should be an interesting fight.

There's the press release after the jump, tons of live shots are in the gallery - and of course there's the rest of our New York Auto Show coverage.



Rear-Wheel Drive and V-8 Engine Promise World Class Dynamics and Refinement

NEW YORK, March 4, 2007 – Hyundai presented the world debut of Concept Genesis during a press conference at the New York International Auto Show today. The concept car heralds the future architecture and design of a rear-wheel drive premium sports sedan scheduled to grace the Hyundai lineup in 2008.

"Concept Genesis extends our product range into new territories from a performance, design and packaging perspective," said Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer, Hyundai Motor America. "When it arrives in 2008 it will catapult Hyundai into competition against some potent rivals, and Genesis is up for the challenge."

Concept Genesis rides on a prototype of Hyundai's all-new rear-wheel drive platform, signaling the brand's desire to broaden its appeal to discerning driving enthusiasts. Concept Genesis is powered by Hyundai's newly developed Tau DOHC 32-valve V-8 powertrain. Concept Genesis marks the beginning of premium performance for the Hyundai brand.

"Concept Genesis is a manifestation of Hyundai's extraordinary desire to deliver world-class products across all model segments," said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "With Genesis, we've got a unique product position -- an all-new, highly capable, rear-wheel drive platform; a high-performance powertrain; and premium, progressive design – all at a price starting well under $30,000."

Concept Genesis features a rear-wheel-drive architecture, its first application in a U.S. Hyundai model. Rear-wheel drive provides a 53:47 front/rear weight distribution for optimal handling as well as more refined steering characteristics. Concept Genesis' premium handling and steering performance is further controlled by Electronic Stability Control (ESC), the industry's most important new safety technology. Hyundai leads all popular car brands in the standard application of ESC, with more than 70 percent of 2007 Hyundai sales volume featuring this life-saving technology as standard equipment.

ESC continually analyzes road speed, steering input, throttle position, lateral yaw rate and other factors. An onboard microprocessor determines if the vehicle is starting to understeer or oversteer, and can brake appropriate wheels and reduce engine power to keep the vehicle safely on course.

Utilizing ultra high-tensile steel in critical areas in the unibody provides Concept Genesis with a 12-14 percent higher dynamic torsional rigidity and a lower body-in-white weight than the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. This stiffer, lighter, larger body provides a terrific foundation for world-class dynamics and lowering noise levels inside the vehicle.

Adding to the Concept Genesis' performance factor is the all-new Tau 4.6-liter V8 engine mated to a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual control and a limited-slip differential. The Tau delivers well over 300 horsepower to fit the demands of performance-oriented consumers. This powertrain combination will launch Genesis to 60 miles per hour in well under six seconds. The Tau engine is built with flexibility for the future. Future Tau variants may offer larger displacement, forced induction options and other technology enhancements.

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 which 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 an incredible level of ride and handling prowess. The capabilities of the advanced front and rear-suspension are maximized through driver selectable dynamic settings allowing tailored ride and handling characteristics according to need ... or desire.

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

Maintaining Hyundai's emphasis on delivering leading safety technology, Concept Genesis boasts world class active and passive safety features to 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 active safety technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control, eight airbags and active headrests.

Concept 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.

Advanced adaptive cruise control
Electronic Stability Control
Eight airbags
Heat / cool seats
High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with adaptive leveling
Push-button start
Navigation with backup camera
Electric parking brake
Bluetooth technology
USB / Auxiliary input jack
HD Radio™ Receiver
XM Satellite Radio®
Infinity® Discrete Surround Audio System

Configuration: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports sedan
Wheelbase: 2935 mm / 115.6 inches
Overall length: 5005 mm / 197.0 inches
Overall width: 1863 mm / 73.3 inches
Overall height: 1490 mm / 58.7 inches
Track, f/r: 1575 mm / 62.0 inches, 1580 mm / 62.2 inches
Wheels: 20-inch multi-spoke
Engine type: V8
Estimated horsepower: Well over 300HP
Estimated torque: Over 300 lb. ft.
Displacement: 4.6 liter
Block material: High pressure die casting aluminum block
Cylinder head material: Aluminum
Valvetrain: Dual Over Head Cam (DOHC)
Valve timing: Continuous variable valve timing
Variable induction system
Fuel delivery: Multi-port fuel injection
Estimated 0-60 mph: well under 6.0 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph (restricted)
Recommended fuel: Unleaded
Transmission type: ZF 6-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC manual control
Suspension: Front multi-link (5-link) / Rear multi-link (5-link)
Stabilizer bar (front/rear): 26 mm/18 mm
Weight distribution front to rear: 53:47
Brakes: Power-assisted 4-wheel disc
Front brake diameter (mm / in): 320 / 12.6 ventilated disc
Rear brake diameter (mm / in): 314 / 12.4 solid disc
Steering type: Speed-sensing rack-and-pinion
Steering ratio: 14.86

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 750 dealerships nationwide.

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