KOREA’S first-ever rear-drive luxury sedan series will finally surface in Australia from the third quarter of this year, Hyundai has confirmed.
Details are still scare, but a sub-$60,000 opening price-tag is expected when sales of the second-generation Genesis commence Downunder in July, as Hyundai targets mid-range versions of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50.
Of course, at almost five metres long, it will be a much larger sedan proposition than those rivals, so the homegrown Holden Calais V V8 (from $52,990) and Ford G6E Turbo (from $56,235) heroes, as well as the hot-selling Chrysler 300 (from $43,000), will also be hit hard, Hyundai hopes.
But the 313kW/519Nm 5.0-litre ‘Tau’ V8 or new ‘HTRAC’ variable torque-split all-wheel drive versions that headlined the Detroit motor show reveal this morning won’t be coming to Australia any time soon, since neither have been engineered for right-hand drive configuration.
That situation will not change unless Hyundai can interest other RHD markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Africa to take on these features.
Hyundai will instead introduce one highly specified Genesis powered by a (circa) 248kW/397Nm 3.8-litre ‘Lambda’ direct-injected V6, driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
While the platform is a stretched and heavily revised version of the first model introduced elsewhere in 2009, much has been changed or modified, with a longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs, a five-link independent suspension layout, rack-mounted motor-driven electric power steering with variable gear ratio, and 52/48 front-to-rear weight distribution ratio headlining the advances.
Additionally, the Genesis II sees a massive increase in ultra high-strength steels. Now making up over half of the total platform composition, it promises improved rigidity and refinement levels. Hyundai claims its luxo barge beats BMW’s 5 Series for torsional and bending rigidity. Development testing included stints in Germany (Nurburgring), Korea and USA.
However, company PR boss Bill Thomas revealed that the four-door sedan is also currently undertaking the most extensive Australian suspension retune in the company’s history, to help ensure the newcomer can match the lauded VF Calais and Mercedes E-Class for ride/handling comfort, balance and control.
“We’re tuning the new Genesis to suit the unique demands of local roads,” he said.
Befitting its role at the top of the ever-swelling Hyundai model range, the sedan features greater interior volume than the E-Class, 5 Series, Lexus GS and Infiniti M/Q70.
Achieving class-leading quality of fit and finish has been of prime focus, with the dashboard presentation and layout striving to emphasis elegance, simplicity and user friendliness, according to the US press blurb.
The standard kit call should include radar-based autonomous braking and cruise control, blind spot and lane-departure detection devices, lane-straying warning, a bells-and-whistles communications and multimedia and sat-nav interface as part of a 9.2-inch high-def touchscreen system, a heads-up display, rear-seat sunshades, electrically adjustable and ventilated seating, 18-inch alloys, and the obligatory lashings of leather and matt chrome.
There is no word as to whether Oz-bound models will feature Hyundai’s new Blue Link system – a Cloud-based platform that allows remote engine starting and service information data to be accessible via wearing devices such as Google Glass.
According to John Elsworth, Chief Executive Officer, Hyundai Motor Company Australia, the Genesis II sedan has what it takes to tackle the luxury brands on every level.
“This high-tech machine is the ideal showcase for what Hyundai can do, and is a superbly-engineered car, fit to rival the best from Europe at a substantially more accessible price point," he stated.
When sales start in North America this month, the base Genesis V6 will kick off from under $US40,000 ($A45,000).
However, to help establish the model, Hyundai Motor Company Australia may adopt a similar philosophy to that Lexus employed when it debuted the LS 400 in 1990 by offering a heavily equipped all-in-one package in the circa-$60,000 region.
The second-generation Genesis Coupe won’t land in Australia before 2016.