Hyundai takes aim at Mercedes and Audi with 2015 Genesis

Mike Vousden
January 29, 2015

Hyundai is dipping its toe into the waters of the executive car market with its new Genesis saloon – can it defeat the E-Class and A6?

Memories of old bargain-basement Hyundais are finally dead and gone and the marque is looking to a new illustrious future with the European release of its Genesis executive saloon. Just as it seemed the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series holy trinity were totally unassailable, the Korean brand looks set to shake up the market – or at least try. The Genesis has already been on sale in the USA for a little while – Hyundai has a bigger market presence over there so it makes more sense for them to offer bigger cars to the USA first. However, in an unexpected move, the brand has decided to bring the E-Class rival to the UK in limited numbers.

In terms of styling you’ll have to make your own mind up but we think it looks quite handsome with its broad grille and swoopy, clean lines down its flanks. To distance itself from the rest of Hyundai’s range, the car is badged ‘Genesis’ rather than Hyundai to enhance its luxury credentials. A long wheelbase and wheels pushed out to the corners of the car help give it the ‘stance’ necessary to impress in the company car park, while ensuring the cabin is large enough to accommodate occupants in comfort. Seven exterior colours are offered and adaptive xenon headlights feature to enhance the Genesis’s looks further.

Inside – the most important part of any luxurious saloon – fine-grain leather has been selected for the seats and touch points such as the steering wheel and gear selector. An eight-inch touchscreen controls the advanced infotainment system and automatic closing doors are fitted, just like a Rolls-Royce. A ‘smart boot’ system will open automatically if it detects the car key in very close proximity for three seconds. This means you can open the boot with your hands full and, unlike some comparable systems, don’t have to wave your foot under the bumper like a crazed ostrich.

Power comes courtesy of a 3.8-litre naturally-aspirated V6 petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Hyundai hasn’t released performance details but, at least in American-spec cars, it makes 333hp and 291lb ft of torque. Hyundai will point out that outright power isn’t as important as having it delivered smoothly and serenely. A brace of automotive technologies are fitted to help the Genesis feel up to date. Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and a 360-degree camera system join blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert to help the car and the driver avoid car park accidents. The Genesis has a world-first cabin CO2 sensor to monitor the cabin ambience to protect the driver from drowsiness.

To prove how special the Genesis is compared to the rest of the Hyundai range, the marque is setting up special Genesis sections in its biggest dealerships with luxurious furniture and staffed by sales people fully-versed in the car. It’ll be available from 2 April, is only offered in top-spec and will cost a slightly eye-watering £47,995.

Generating some Genesis interest

We’ll have more updates on the car as we get them and a full carwow aggregated review before it’s released but, until then, why not take a look at the Genesis’ biggest rivals – the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series.