THE Genesis New York Concept is a blatant shot at the BMW 3 Series. The sedan was rolled out for the first time at the 2016 New York Motor Show with a bold look and the announcement that it will team a 2.0-litre petrol-hybrid drivetrain with rear-wheel drive – but Hyundai Australia wants even more power.
Hyundai says its Genesis brand will use the New York Concept as the platform for the upcoming G70, which is what the 3 Series rival will be badged when it goes into production sometime in 2017. That means it’s likely to arrive in Australia anywhere from early 2018. And despite the claims of this as a design study, the G70 will look barely different from the New York Concept when it hits showrooms.
Genesis speaks of an ‘Authentic Elegance’ design language, so think of Usain Bolt in a tuxedo. Its overall proportions are indeed athletic, with a rising waistline, short overhangs and muscular shoulders packaged with a swooping roofline that give it a more coupe-like stance: think Audi A5 instead of A4, or perhaps BMW 4 Series instead of the prolific 3 Series sedan. Details extend to the copper-coloured inlays, flush door handles and air intakes that underline those narrow headlamps to work in a similar fashion to the BMW ‘Air Breather’.
Both of these cues aid fuel consumption. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol-hybrid will use an eight-speed automatic to drive the rear wheels. Power is rated at 180kW, making the NYC identical to the Lexus IS200t, only five kilowatts shy of the BMW 330i and new Audi A4 2.0 TFSI, but significantly more powerful than the 155kW Mercedes-Benz C250.
Yet Hyundai Australia told Wheels it was gunning for an even more powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 to fit to local models. Still under development, this engine could make as much as 314kW, with rumours that it may power the N performance version of the forthcoming Genesis coupe and get even more grunt – more on that later.
Inside, Hyundai hasn’t scrimped on the NYC’s interior. With leather upholstery and stainless steel-like finishes throughout, it features a digital speedo as part of a huge 21-inch 4K-resolution instrument cluster, with a wide-spoke ‘open’ steering wheel to make it even easier to read. The centre touchscreen can be swiped like a smartphone, but there’s also gesture sensors – a feature currently only offered on the recently arrived G11/G12 BMW 7 Series.
While exact measurements are yet to be revealed, the NYC and subsequent G70 should be around 4.6m long, 1.8m wide and 1.4m high. It will have a similar wheelbase to the BMW 3 Series, which is 2810mm.
Chasing the 3 Series is particularly significant, because even in an automotive world dominated by SUVs – especially in Hyundai’s strongest market, the USA, and China as well as Australia – the 3 Series is BMW’s best-seller worldwide.
The Korean maker’s Genesis brand is chasing the most successful BMW, and it has a number of things in its favour. After splitting the Genesis brand from Hyundai as an official sub-brand last November, like Toyota’s arrangement with Lexus, Nissan to Infiniti and more recently Citroen to DS, Genesis has poached some top brass from German rivals and announced a bold six-model line-up by 2020.
That includes the G70, as well as the larger G90 that was shown at Detroit in January. The Hyundai Genesis currently on sale in Australia will be renamed as the Genesis G80. There will also be a Hyundai Genesis coupe in the line-up, as well as two SUVs that are also on the cards for Australia.
Hyundai is also looking to streamline its Genesis dealer network here, too. While the Genesis is currently offered in all 155 dealerships, it’s looking to create specialist stockists to sell the new brand, and limit this to around 50 Australian locations.