Like many words overly exploited in the English language in recent times, hugely diminishing their particular values, the word “Ultimate” has truly become even more relative than ever before. Thankfully, with Hyundai’s latest 2nd generation all-new Genesis sedan 5.0 Ultimate edition, it does genuinely define where the brand is today, and it is awesome. The larger and more expensive 2nd generation Equus model may be the actual flagship for Hyundai but it is now dated in every area except mechanical with the only sustaining feature being the option to buy the long-wheelbase model at close to a foot longer than the standard car for limousine duty.
The Genesis sedan has been described by a few North American journalists as essentially the spiritual successor to the first Lexus LS400, which at the time of its release more than a quarter century ago, redefined the luxuries that consumers were looking for and instantly became a proper competitor to the established European premium brands, forever changing the automotive landscape. So I see their point, but it is rather myopic especially when one particular critic sighted only the quietness of the new Genesis which led to the descriptive parallel. The Lexus LS400 was a landmark car in its period but it cannot hold a candle to the technology, sophistication, and driving dynamics of the modern Hyundai.
Lexus (Toyota) pioneered the way followed by Infiniti (Nissan) and Acura (Honda) in offering high levels of luxury, performance, and value to consumers. Hyundai is clearly inspired by the successes of its Japanese competitors, but it is shooting even higher than the current Lexus LS460 and Infiniti Q70 in terms of maximum overall value and features for the money. Reinforcing that thrust is the longest and most comprehensive set of factory warranties in the industry. The direct Eastern competition with similar packaging and trim costs as much as $15,000.00 more, while the Western competition in smaller mid-size packaging like the Mercedes-Benz E400 and BMW 540i also still cost at least $10,000.00 more with significantly less space, equipment, and features. So even before I pushed the ignition button of the ultimate Genesis sedan, it already is a winner on paper against even the Audi A8 4.0T Quattro, BMW 750i, and Mercedes-Benz S550 because it offers comparable interior room as these Teutonic flagships, with at least 90% of their dynamic ability, and more standard equipment for almost $40,000 less with all the optional equipment installed!
Where the new Genesis sedan does get rightful criticism, though, is how it looks up front; the flanks and rear designs are handsome, but the front grill is offensive. The Americans only compare it to stealing from Audi. For us, that new Genesis grill looks like the unit on the current Toyota Innova! And that grill already looks bad on the Toyota! Get past that ugly nose, though, and you will be rewarded, like us, to an exemplary driving experience. The 1st generation Genesis sedan was a solid first effort; a baptism of fire, so to speak. But the new one is almost a revelation for the brand. Like I mentioned earlier, the new car is a showcase for where Hyundai is at present and demonstrates the direction where they are heading, for progressively greener pastures worldwide.
Every manufacturer borrows, steals, and is “inspired” by each’s superlatives, and we consumers benefit from this perennial exercise. The Genesis interior does look great, is extremely comfortable and loaded with all the desirable niceties and current technologies but it is very obvious, nonetheless, that the Koreans took pages from every premium brand. The overall design language, Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, employed in the Genesis is similar to the all-new Sonata but at a grander scale. The fit and finish matches the European brands in most areas but, of course, lingering cheap bits are still around as evidence of the cost-saving measures. The good news is that these cheap bits, like the faux carbon fiber center dashboard trim and cheap steering-wheel column plastics, are now forgivable given the abundance of great bits like the real matte-finish wood with real aluminum accents, tasteful analog clock, fantastic seats both by design and functionality, the 9.2-inch high-definition center infotainment control screen system with 64GB SSD of data storage and Driver Information System (DIS) Multimedia Controller, incredible 900-watt Lexicon® Discrete Logic 7® Surround Sound Audio System with 17 Speakers, HUD, Continuous Damping Control with settings for normal ride comfort and sport programming for enhanced feel and precision, crisp 7.0″ Electroluminescent Gauge Cluster, Intelligent Drive Modes, Dual-Mode Vent Control, panoramic moonroof, optional HTRAC All Wheel Drive, active HID headlights and extensive LED lighting everywhere else, and so much more!
As that quad exhaust suggests, the Genesis, with its 420 bhp V8 mated to a Shiftronic 8-speed automatic transmission, is a scorcher with a uniquely soulful aural cacophony! The new chassis brilliantly harnesses this new power with a 51% increase in overall body rigidity on a longer and wider wheelbase. The organic body, despite the nose, cuts through air at a .26 drag coefficient while the clean underside uses a fully integrated undercover with air cell technology designed to help minimize sound intrusion within the interior cabin. These factors, combined with extensive sound insulation, are the reasons why the Genesis now has Lexus-like sereneness combined with European driving performance. Speaking of Europe, the Genesis’ suspension was also honed by Lotus engineers on several race circuits including the Nürburgring. That was just for the sporting behavior; for every day driving, the team then went on to conduct further tuning through real-world testing on public roads as well as on the California Proving Grounds in the Mojave Desert for both the suspension as well steering.
Now all that power and handling would not be complete without proper braking and footwear. The front brakes are 14.17-inch vented discs squeezed by 4-piston calipers with single sliders on 12.36-inch solid discs at the rears. The rolling stock are 19 x 8.5J Front Wheels, 19 x 9.0J Rear Wheels shod with P245/40R19 94W Front, P275/35R19 96W Rear Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires, which were quiet and compliant but did give up early during aggressive driving. Better tires would definitely pull over .90 g at the sacrifice of comfort, though.
I loved the new Genesis sedan, and it is definitely the Ultimate Hyundai. It is very composed and balanced with locomotive pulling power beginning at about 2,500 rpm with most of the torque already on tap with a very linear delivery until its peak at 5,000 rpm, which is relatively high but in real world use the drive was epically smooth. Compared to its next value-packed competition, the 363 bhp Chrysler 300C HEMI, the new Genesis is now vastly superior on every front. Now we just have to wait for it to arrive on our shores. It is a winner, and at its price with all its bells and whistles, a knock-out champion.
Specification – 2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan 5.0 Ultimate
Engine: V8, 5038 cc, dohc 32V, Direct Injection, D-CVVT, SHIFTRONIC 8-speed AT
Max power: 420 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max torque: 383 lb ft @ 5000 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 5.2 sec.
Top Speed: 232 km/h (145 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 15 mpg City & 23 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 55,700.00
C! RATING 10/10
+Game changing value for the segment, severely challenges the desire to spend more on the usual suspects
-Copious amount of “inspiration” from the European competition