If the market responds well to the GV80, Genesis is ready with an SUV onslaught.
Genesis, the luxury arm of Hyundai, has already proven it can roll with the established players thanks to models like the highly capable G70 sedan. But that's been the problem for the brand: so far, it hasn't had an SUV competitor, and in an era where even Lamborghini is seeing success in this segment, that's a problem.
That's set to change imminently with the arrival of the striking GV80. Aimed at the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, it appears to have the goods to match those brutes. The ultra-premium cabin, imposing style, and lots of appealing technologies are all there. But already, Genesis is rumored to be aiming for even loftier ambitions with talk of a bigger GV90 SUV, based on this rep by Motortrend.
Such an SUV would compete in the full-size luxury segment with the likes of the BMW X7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS. According to Genesis brand executives, the conversation is ongoing but the GV80 will first be used to test the market's reception to a luxury SUV from the brand. Initial signs are promising, at least in its local Korea market, where 1,500 GV80s were sold on its first day of launch.
Along with the GV80, the smaller GV70 compact crossover is also on its way this year and will share a rear-drive platform with the G70 sedan. Another SUV, said to be a mid-size electric vehicle, is also in the cards and planned for next year, according to the global head of Genesis, William Lee.
If a GV90 does see the light of day, it could - like the GV70 - share components with one of the brand's sedans. That would likely mean inheriting the dramatic G90's 5.0-liter V8, an engine that's good for 420 horsepower. And, if it drives as well as the serene G90, it would have what it takes to give the Germans a real fight.
Promisingly, Hyundai Motor's chief design officer, Luc Donckerwolke, emphasized that the new SUVs won't be different-sized clones of one another, but that each will have a unique identity. With the GV70, GV80, an electric SUV, and a potential GV90, it's going to be fascinating to gauge the marque's growth over the next two years or so.