Michigan roads have never been so useful. You see, we recently sampled Hyundai’s new Genesis sedan in Arizona, and while we discovered it’s pretty damn good, the pavement on our drive route was merely cracked.We’ve now driven the car near Detroit, and we can comment on how its Lotus-tuned suspension handles moonscapes such as those that serve as the Motor City’s highways and byways. We also spent more time with the V-6 car, which is the expected volume model and focus of this report.
Subtract Two Cylinders and Some Weight, and Add Lotus
Lotus founder Colin Chapman once said, “I hate enormous luxury sedans. Please hand me the keys to a Seven and a rag to wipe the bug cheese from my face.” This was later pared to the famous “simplify and add lightness,” a credo to which the Genesis V-6 adheres reasonably well given that, well, it’s an enormous luxury sedan. To wit: It’s 403 pounds lighter than the V-8 car, according to Hyundai’s scales. We haven’t yet weighed any Genesis, so we can’t verify the claim, but the V-6 version certainly feels much lighter from behind the wheel.
Just as a four-cylinder BMW 528i is more responsive, especially on turn-in, than the nose-heavier eight-cylinder 550i, so is the Genesis V-6 when compared with the V-8. The car heeds directional-change requests far more readily, and it makes any previous Genesis feel leaden by comparison. But Lotus tuning or no, baiting sports sedans isn’t what this Hyundai is intended to do. Think of the balanced composure of a Mercedes-Benz E-class, and you’re more on target.
So even though the electric power steering offers only a small amount of road information, its heft and load characteristics should please traditional luxury-car buyers. The Genesis rewards mellow drivers with a cosseting experience. This is a big contrast from the last car’s brittle and unsophisticated ride quality, which largely resulted from its dearth of rear wheel travel—a decision made in the interest of trunk space. The 2015 car’s rear suspension has a more upright damper orientation and greater wheel travel, and it does a much better job of isolating occupants from impacts.
Sultry Six Can Sing
With less weight over the nose of the V-6 Genesis—and overall—handling isn’t the only dynamic trait to benefit. Acceleration is quite sound, too, and the six doesn’t feel as if it gives up much to the eight, despite serving up 109 fewer horsepower and 90 fewer lb-ft of torque. (We’ll need to wait until we strap our test gear to both cars for a true comparison.) The V-6 is smooth, and it sounds surprisingly rorty. Hyundai’s own eight-speed automatic shifts imperceptibly, although not as quickly or firmly as the ZF-sourced eight-cogger found in most of the competition.
Our Michigan experience didn’t change our impressions of the Genesis cabin—it’s still a nice, quiet place to spend time—and we can add that the never-ending minefield of spiteful potholes exposed no squeaks or rattles. Broken roads also didn’t affect our satisfaction with Hyundai’s second-gen Blue Link telematics and infotainment system, or with the fine leathers and woods that line the interior. We drove a loaded V-6 model with all three of the available options packages—Signature ($4000), Tech ($3500), and Ultimate ($3500)—for an out-the-door price of $49,950.
(Get full Genesis pricing, standard features, and options here.) That’s certainly a lot of money, but consider that it’s $475 cheaper than a base, options-free BMW 5-series. We’d tell you how austere such a 5-series is, but like a Wookiee or the Loch Ness monster, we’ve never seen one in real life. That makes the six-cylinder Genesis a screaming deal not only compared with the German competition but also against the V-8 model.
The V-6 Genesis is sprightlier than the muscled-up V-8 version, and with the exception of adaptive dampers, they can be equipped identically. Roll in the fact that all-wheel drive is available exclusively with the V-6, and it looks like the Genesis to get. -caranddriver