Hyundai recently offered Australian journalists visiting South Korea passenger seats in the company's V8 Genesis. From the back seat it's a comfortable and poised motor car — even on the banked test track at the Hyundai's Namyang R&D centre.
While the driver was regularly taking the Genesis up to indicated speeds as high as 130mph (210km/h) along the straights, he backed off to just 110mph (177km/h) on the high section of the banking. With four occupants aboard the Genesis felt unflustered and was surprisingly quiet at those speeds. Less surprisingly, the large sedan provided decent levels of head and legroom in the back.
Your motoringcom.au correspondent also drove the Genesis briefly on a short stretch of road and one lap of the 1.9km ride and handling circuit opened up by Hyundai. While the Genesis impressed with its comfort and refinement, it seems at first blush to be a case of a great engine and transmission combo looking for a sportier package to drive.
As the Genesis accelerated up to speed it was clear that the engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission — designed in-house by Hyundai — are a match made in heaven. The latter copes very well with the solid and unrelenting performance from the engine, which is the newest version of the Korean brand’s Tau V8.
The direct-injected V8 engine in the Genesis sedan was recently upgraded for more power and torque – in part thanks to a capacity boost via boring the cylinders out from 92 to 96mm. Now displacing 5.0 litres (previously 4.6), the new engine is a willing revver and develops 319kW.
As with other Hyundai models driven on the day, handling was up to par and turn-in was responsive enough, but the driver struggled to work out which way the front wheels were pointing at times and kickback was experienced through the steering wheel at some points around the track.
Given the relatively benign nature of Hyundai’s ride and handling circuit, that doesn't promise much in the real world.
Roadholding was another area of concern for the Genesis. Even on Continental tyres the Genesis wasn't convincing as an alternative to Holden's Calais V, but the ride was cushy enough for the car's target market (USA and Korea) buyers.
Everything about this car is hypothetical, in the Australian context. We know this generation of Genesis won't be coming to Australia and even once the next-gen model is released, we still won't see the sedan in our neck of the woods. But despite the big Hyundai's dynamic shortcomings, we can't help but wonder whether there wouldn't be a market for such a vehicle in Australia.
For packaging, overall refinement and performance the Genesis delivers heaps.
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