Hyundai follows in the footsteps of Lexus, but will it work?
Hyundai has finally clipped the water wings on its new Genesis brand.Not to be confused with the Hyundai Genesis model, Genesis is now to be its ownsubdivision of Hyundai Motor Group. Think what Acura is to Honda and what Lexus is toToyota. We’re witnessing the birth of yet another luxury brand. The company no longer churns out cheap vehicles like the Excel or earlyElantra. Instead it produces highly competitive, well-styled vehicles. TheGerman luxury pantheon is a new game entirely.
It is an almost impossible challenge. Luckily Hyundai alreadyhas already gotten its feet wet, having dabbled in luxury with the Genesis andEquus sedans. However, now the company intends to launch Genesis as a separate brand,under which the Equus and Genesis sedan will become part of the portfolio and featurenew alphanumeric names. The Equus successor is now the G90 and the Genesis willbecome the G80 later on. The first Genesis product was unveiled in Detroit. Dubbed the G90 (in Korea the EQ900), it is slated to compete against the Mercedes-BenzS-Class and Audi A8. Really that sounds more like your cousin’s peewee soccerteam playing Real Madrid. It won’t go well.
Yet similar thingswere said when Toyota brought fourth the Lexus LS400. That was the car thatcombined German luxury and class with Japanese reliability. It upset the systemand claimed its own share of the market. Can Genesis follow suit? It is off to a good start. Luc Donckerwolke, formerly of Bentley andthe Volkswagen Group, was enlisted and will lead Hyundai's newly created PrestigeDesign Division. Genesis will field six models with rear-drive architecture by2020. The Equus, when released, never registered as much of a threat to the automaker's established competitors. Less expensive and smaller, it seemed exactly like it was: a company's first foray into the full-size luxury car market.
The G90 features a 124.4-inchwheelbase and 204.9 inches in overall length. Those numbers equate to a growthover the Equus of 4.5 inches. Interior-wise dimensions fall short. Only 37.8inches of legroom are available in the second row, a paltry sum compared to theA8’s 42.9-inches and S-Class' 43.1-inches. Exterior design generously borrows from the Hyundai Vision G concept showing a clear design departure from the Hyundai lineup and a design aesthetic for Genesis to explore with future models. The design molds into a deeply restrained yet dignified presence much like the Lexus LS400 when it first arrived.
Genesis brought a multitude of technological features to the G90 as well. Adaptive cruise control, auto-braking, driver-drowsinessmonitor, and lane-keeping assist are included. The G90 will feature two availableengines. The familiar 5.0-liter V8 makes an appearance and is available with420 horsepower. A new twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 producing 365 horsepower willbe available as standard. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic and will be available with rear-wheel drive. The G90 seems less inclined to dobattle with the S-Class and more suited for a bout with the upcoming LincolnContinental and Cadillac CT6. Either way, it looks up for the fight.