Detroit '08 Preview: 2009 Hyundai Genesis shakes things up

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What you are looking at is the physical representation of Hyundai's will to succeed in the U.S., also known as the 2009 Hyundai Genesis. The Korean automaker's first attempt at a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan will debut in Detroit next week and arrive on our shores later this year (we think) with a price tag that starts below $30,000. As is Hyundai's way, it will feature power, performance and amenities that belie its little price tag.

First, the design. The Genesis sedan has clean lines and uncluttered surfaces that look detailed and, frankly, expensive. Yes, it's derivative. There's a bit of Lexus LS in the headlights, some Infiniti in the profile and rear... you get the idea and can add your own observations in the comments. It's a criticism that's been lobbed at nearly every recent Hyundai design, but it doesn't stick. The design of the Genesis won't offend and it won't excite, and our only major complaint is the grille, which looks too anonymous without a big Hyundai logo front and center.

The Genesis sedan (don't forget about the rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe that's coming next) will be available with three engines including the automaker's familiar 3.3L and 3.8L Lambda V6 engines producing 264 HP/233 lb. ft. and 290 HP/264 lb. ft., respectively. The top-shelf motor will be Hyundai's first V8 in the U.S., the 4.6L Tau V8 that produces a healthy 368 HP and 324 lb. ft. of torque. The Tau V8 also gets paired with a ZF 6-speed automatic rather than the Aisin 6-speed autos that are mated to the V6 engines. The V8 also runs on good old fashioned 87 octane unleaded gas, something not all of its competition can claim. 0-60? Well under 6 seconds says Hyundai.

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Hyundai also hints that there's room in the V8's block to enlarge its displacement, and that force feeding it some extra air is definitely a possibility. Rounding out the mechanical hardware is an all-independent suspension with five-links front and rear – sophisticated stuff for less than $30k, and we haven't even looked inside yet.

Hyundai has stuffed the Genesis with an alarming amount of high-level standard equipment, including a soft-touch dash, wood accents, Bluetooth, iPod hook ups, a heated and cooled driver's seat, auto windshield defogger and rain-sensing wipers, an ultraviolet reflective steering wheel, power rear sunshade, electronic parking brake, proximity key and a push button starter. Basically, if you were listing this car's standard features out loud to someone, you'd need to take a breath somewhere in the middle.

So what does Hyundai offer as an option on the Genesis? How about a Lexicon audio system? We're told Rolls-Royce is the only other automaker that uses Lexicon stereos. Then there's the 8-inch.. 8-inch!... display for the optional nav system that's controlled via an Audi-like multi-media controller. A backup camera is also available, though this Hyundai won't park itself for you, too. It will keep you from ramming the car ahead with an optional Smart Cruise Control system. XM satellite radio, HD Radio, a 30-gb in-dash hard drive... all available.

So, we leave the 2009 Hyundai Genesis in your hands. What do you think?


  • 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

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., January 8, 2008 – 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.

Genesis is built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive architecture, its first application in a U.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.

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. Unlike 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.

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 Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification levels.

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.

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
Genesis' design is a progressive interpretation of the modern rear-wheel drive sports sedan. 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.

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 USB/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.

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 USB and iPod® inputs allow drivers to fully control and charge iPods directly from the head unit.

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.

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. Until 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.

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.

  • 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/USB 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

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