So, you are in the market for a luxury sedan and you have the choice between an established European marque or a Korean manufacturer. Which would you instinctively choose?
A few years ago the answer was a no-brainer but it’s not such a clear cut decision these days as companies such as Kia and Hyundai begin to penetrate the high-end market with good cars which undercut the Germans on price.
Ok, there are still a way behind Mercedes, BMW, and Audi but they are narrowing the gap and the new Hyundai Genesis is the perfect example of how much progress they have made.
This is one extremely impressive car. It looks great and the 5-litre V8 in the car we tested moves it very much into the fast lane. The car’s aesthetics are dominated by that deep grille on the front which is a little brash but I kind of like it because it gives the Genesis an air of self-assured aggression.
The side profile of the car, looks a little bit like a BMW 7-Series and the back with its double exhaust pipes resembles an Audi. Hyundais have always been well designed but until now the driving experience and the cheap feel of the interiors tended to let them down. Not any more, if the Genesis is anything to go because this car sets impressive new standards.
The Genesis is all about changing perceptions and it mostly succeeds. The interior has been upgraded with more attention to detail than in its predecessor with nice leather seats, wood trim, and a good infotainment system.
The luxurious executive feel also extends to the back seats which are spacious, comfortable and passengers have their own screens, set into the back of the front seats.
The Genesis is silky smooth to drive and is certainly no slouch with that V8 delivering a 0-100kmh time of just over five seconds.
The 420bhp power is delivered to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifts offering a manual option.
The infotainment system with a 9.2-inch touchpad display screen, is efficient, modern and easy to operate with plenty of driver assists including blind spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, smart cruise control, parking assist and what they call autonomous emergency braking, where the car applies the brakes automatically if it detects the vehicle in front is likely to stop suddenly. There is also a HUD.
The handling of the car is much better than its predecessor with electronically controlled air suspension although it still feels a tad wallowy going into corners at speed but this is only a minor complaint as, generally, the car is a pleasure to drive.
The stylish Genesis gains more territory for Hyundai in the luxury market and at a price of from Dh152,800 to Dh205,000 for the 5.0-litre version it represents astonishing value and a very good reason to consider this car as an alternative to its more expensive German rivals.
I would say, without hesitation, that this car is easily the best Hyundai I have driven to date. It marks a significant upping of the ante by the Koreans.
Why buy it
Great value for money
Korean luxury cars still suffer from a ‘cheap imitation’ image and German cars remain superior…for now!
Manufacturer : Hyundai
Production : 2008 to present
Class : Luxury sedan
Body style : Four seater
Layout : Rear wheel drive
Engine : 5-litre V8
Output : 420bhp
Torque : 505nm
0-100km : 5.4 seconds
Transmission : Eight-speed auto with paddle shifts
Kerb weight : 1,970kg
Top speed : 240kmh
Price : From Dh152,800
Rating out of 10: 8/10
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