First car launched from Hyundai's Genesis luxury brand

Phil Berg
Special to The Detroit News

Leading the offerings of luxury cars from the newest carmaker yet — Genesis — is a four-door sedan with a choice of V-8 or V-6 turbo engines and boasts class-leading comfort. It's a large car called the G90, and will be followed by two smaller versions, G80 and G70.

Twenty-seven years ago Toyota and Nissan introduced Lexus and Infiniti to consumers as luxury-only makes, intended to keep loyal customers in the family. Now Hyundai, parent of Genesis, is doing the same, but with a few twists.

Hyundai chief of design Peter Schreyer announced that Manfred Fitzgerald, formerly brand chief of Lamborghini, would handle Genesis customers in a unique way. Genesis will replace dealer visits with personal deliveries. "We will bring the car to you, at work or home," said Schreyer.

Schreyer said that engineering and design would be separate from cars with the Hyundai badge. He said Genesis promises future chassis that are sturdier than those from Mercedes, and noise levels that are the lowest in the luxury classes. In addition to the three sedans in the Genesis plan, Schreyer said crossover SUVs would join them, although he did not mention when.

The sedans will all be based on front-engine, rear-drive architecture like the G90. "This is the best technical foundation to be able to design cars to luxury specifications," said Schreyer. Schreyer announced that Luc Donkerwolke, a former designer for Bentley, would lead the design of all Genesis models. "For a designer, this is a dream assignment," he added.

The G90 sedan's engine choices are a turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 engine, or a 5.0-liter V-8. Albert Bermann, now head of Genesis' engineering department, said that the cars would be sold worldwide, yet "target customers who live in different countries with different conditions." For example, he explained, Korean Genesis cars would be tuned for that country's notable speed bumps, and American cars would be tuned for long highway cruises.