What's it like?
Quiet and refined – at least on smooth roads. It’s definitely more in the luxury vein of an SE-spec E-class, however, rather than the dynamic world of a Jaguar XF.
On rougher asphalt, the Genesis loses composure and the rear suspension crashes over potholes, while the electric steering is linear but offers little feel. It also lacks the straight-line stability of the Benz. It’s a shame because the basic chassis has great potential, the car is very neutral in smooth, fast corners and it resiliently resists understeer, even when pushed.
European Genesis models will receive unique suspension tuning, which will hopefully address some of the handling issues.
We drove the only powertrain combination that will be offered in the UK: a rear-wheel-drive, 3.8-litre petrol V6 coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine develops good power and is refined as long as it isn’t pushed too hard, but the fuel economy is nearly 10 per cent off that of a BMW 535i and the Hyundai lacks the low-end shove of the turbocharged 5-series.
However, it’s the lack of a diesel option that will drastically limit sales in the UK and Europe. Understanding this, Hyundai UK only expects to sell 20 to 30 cars a year.
Inside, the Korean company has worked closely with its suppliers to make sure the buttons and controls have consistent feel and weight. Our test car's top-spec 16-way adjustable seats are extremely comfortable and trimmed in rich quality leather. Rear-seat room is also excellent.
The large central navigation screen features a 720p HD display and can be controlled via touchscreen or an iDrive-like rotary controller. You can also sweep across the 233mm-wide screen like a smart phone. Also of note is the ventilation and air-con system, which uses the industry’s first CO2 sensor to help prevent drowsiness and reduce fatigue.
Overall, it’s an impressive interior. The only real let-downs are some sub-par plastic trim, intrusive headrests and slightly wayward scattering of buttons.
Should I buy one?
The addition of right-hand drive and a luxurious interior with tons of technology and safety features make the Genesis a worthy halo car for the Korean brand in the UK.
If the suspension tuning is sorted before arriving on these shores, the Genesis could make for an earnest and idiosyncratic alternative to established luxury saloons. Throw in a competitive diesel engine and Hyundai’s wish to take on the class best wouldn’t be too far off.
Hyundai Genesis 3.8
Price £40,000 (est) 0-62mph 6.4sec (est) Top speed 150mph (est) Economy
35mpg combined (est) CO2
195 g/km (est) Kerb weight
V6, 3778cc, petrol Installation Front, longitudinal, RWD Power
311bhp at 6000rpm Torque 293lb ft at 5000rpm Gearbox 8-speed automatic