Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan / Adil Arif
Here we have the cream of the crop, the V8-powered 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate. Last week, we tested the V6-powered Genesis 3.8 Tech, so this review is mainly going to focus on the differences between these two trims and which you should choose if you are in the market for a mid-sized luxury sedan. The 3.8 Tech starts the bid at $53,000 while the 5.0 Ultimate stretches that price tag out to $62,000. That's a $9000 difference for only a handful of upgrades, most notably the one hiding under the hood. The final MSRP is also creeping dangerously close into Equus territory ($64,422). Hence we spent a week with both the V6 and V8 Genesis to find out which of the two trims is more balanced and worthy of your pretty penny. Here are our thoughts.
The most noteworthy difference is the powertrain. While the 3.8 Tech Genesis housed a 3.8-liter V6 delivering 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft, the new Tau engine from Hyundai spews out 420 horses and 383 lb-ft from its eight cylinders. That's a 109 hp and 90 lb-ft difference, one that can be felt when the Genesis stretches its legs on the highway, but not one that can be easily distinguished at slower 60 km/h city speeds. Hyundai says their new Lambda (V6) and Tau (V8) engines have better low-end throttle response, and it's undeniably true. There is a wealthy supply of torque sitting in the low revs, which ultimately helps to alleviate the 2126 kilogram penalty. Though overshadowed by two cylinders, the V6 is no slouch either. In fact, I prefer it over the V8's powertrain. The former is better balanced, easier to drive, the rev build-up is more linear and thus, more predictable. Despite both trims being mated to the same 8-speed automatic transmission, the sextet presents with a smoother driving experience, and one that I feel suits the Genesis image better than the V8's sense of speed and urgency.
Snowbound Canadians will be happy to hear that HTRAC, Hyundai's all-wheel drive system is standard on all Genesis models. Short for Hyundai TRACtion, it isn't the fanciest acronym out there - xDrive, 4MATIC, Quattro - but it does a brilliant job at keeping the four wheels locked and planted. However I did have a minor quarrel with the tires it was wearing, a set of Hankook Ventus S1 nobles. They're great all-season performance tires that work well in the dry, and we recently had a chance to test them out on a circuit too, but they were atrocious in the snow. Earlier in November there was unexpected snowfall while I was up in Hamilton visiting a friend, the first snowfall of the year actually. It was a real challenge having to trek my way back to Toronto the next day - unpaved roads with a camouflaged white Genesis - thank goodness for all the safety systems. Slow was the key word, yet the tires couldn't manage to find grip despite all-wheel drive. Wheels kept spinning and the ABS constantly kicked in, sparing the precious front end from merging with a group of trees. I made it home safe and sound, but not without sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat. I never believed in all-seasons anyways.
The ride is similar to the 3.8 Tech - plushy and it hampers the steering dynamism that the Germans have nailed down to an art. The Genesis doesn't handle as lithe as say, a BMW 550i, but I don't think Genesis buyers will really care. Hyundai says their new Genesis has increased its torsional rigidity by 16% and the bending rigidity by another 40%, meaning that it's actually more rigid than the outgoing BMW 5-series. The new Continuous Damping Control suspension, which is only found in the 5.0 Ultimate model, promises to refine body motion controls and body roll, resulting in sportier handling and a suppler ride. Yet, I can't seem to tell a difference, the 3.8 Tech rides just as gracefully and is noticeably lighter by 178 kg too.
Vibrations up the wheel are kept to a minimum, and sound insulation in the Genesis has never been better. Hyundai engineers have thickened up the doors, laminated the glass, reshaped the panoramic sunroof, and added layers of sealing to keep this interior as solemn as a church. Yet, all this hush-hush has masked much of the available exhaust noise, not that there was much to begin with. The V6 had a subtle exhaust note that mimicked the whining of a supercharger. The V8 on the other hand delivers a quieter and more refined symphonic experience, one you would want to listen to while drifting to sleep. The tone is deeper, but not necessarily more muscular. The V8 lacks the crispness of an Audi S5's, it's slow, dragged on, and stretched out, similar to the Kia K900 V8 we tested earlier this year. The exhaust doesn't get my heart racing, but that's the point. The Genesis was designed for a peaceful and quiet journey, not an adventure.
You'll also be spending a lot more time at the pump if you opt for eight cylinders, as fuel economy is the V8's chink in the armour. Our tester displayed an average of 15.8 L/100km with a mix of city and highway driving, but even with a two cylinder deficit, our V6 tester wasn't very fuel-efficient either, totaling up an average of 13.3 L/100km. Premium fuel is recommended, but Hyundai tells us that both Gennys only require regular 87 octane. Let's just hope these Canadian gas prices stay low.
It's not easy to tell these two trims apart, as Hyundai has kept cosmetic upgrades to a minimum. The easiest way to spot the 5.0 Ultimate is to find the extra quad exhausts, headlight washers, "5.0" rear badge, and exclusive 19-inch wheels. The front hexagonal grille steals the show, though I can't help but feel it's an amalgamated design of Audis, Aston Martins, and Ford Fusions. The same can't be said about the rear end, it strikes a more conservative pose, highlighted by four tailpipes to broaden up its hamstrings. Not to mention, you'll find more GENESIS logos than you will find HYUNDAI ones due to a new focus on upscale rebranding. Yet from any angle, the new Genesis is undoubtedly an eye-catcher. I've caught fellow drivers giving blatant stares and head turns as I drove by, text bubbles popping up over their heads reading, "Is that really a Hyundai?"
The Genesis has some of the best interior lights that I've seen The cabin is brilliantly illuminated so your eyes can fixate on the flurry of articulate textures. Fine leather and open pore wood, I've had so many passengers tell me it feels like they're sitting in a Bentley. The soft materials continue up into the micro-suede headliner and down into the rear seats. To be honest, I never liked sitting in the back of mid-sized sedans. I don't enjoy the straight-back seats of a 550i or A6, but the Genesis is in a class of its own. The seats are incredibly comfortable, they are side bolstered and heated, legroom is generous, and there are even side and rear sunshades to repel unwanted Vitamin D. These are almost Volvo-quality seats, ones that are heavily regarded as the best in the industry. Speaking of heated seats, Hyundai takes the word "heated" very seriously. The seats get hot, real hot. You will never need the third heat setting in the Genesis, ever, unless you have a buttock made of tinfoil. Be that as it may, the seats take their sweet time warming up. By the time they're toasty, you're almost halfway home.
There are few interior differences between the 3.8 Tech and 5.0 Ultimate. Most notably is the larger 9-inch screen versus the 8-inch found in the former. Both are lag-free and intuitive to use, though the larger screen comes with a rotary dial that makes for easier inputs. I love how Hyundai has kept the analogue clock in the center stack, a token of affluence that BMWs and Audis have neglected, but shared with the rival E-Class. Another delicious feature only found in the 5.0 Ultimate is the Smart Key Card. The size of a credit card and conveniently fitting in your wallet, it acts as a proximity key for your Genesis in place of the regular key fob - no more awkward pocket bulge.
Hyundai has played the game well. In terms of value, the Genesis has the German pieces cornered, but has yet to find the checkmate. You can't go wrong opting for either the 3.8 Tech or 5.0 Ultimate. It's a win-win comparison, though if you were to ask me which one I'd take home, it would be the 3.8 Tech. I feel like the V6's powertrain is more balanced, the fuel economy is easier to live with, and anything above 300 lb-ft torque in a sedan just becomes excessive. I would save $9000 too, enough to cover the Genesis' maintenance, gas, and a new set of winter tires. But whatever you decide to fit in your garage, be it made in Korea or Germany, Hyundai has proved yet again, that it is a strong contender in the crowded mid-sized luxury sedan market. Rebranding has done Hyundai a huge favour in driving sales and it's surely paying dividends. So when your friend asks you what car you drive, you won't say a Hyundai. No, you'll tell them you drive a Genesis.
型号 Model: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate
顏色 Paint Type: Casablanca White
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $62,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $62,000
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3010
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4990 / 1890 / 1480
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2126
引擎 Engine: 5.0L GDI V8 Tau Engine
最大馬力 Horsepower: 420 hp @ 6000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 383 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, HTRAC All-wheel Drive
前懸 Suspension-Front: Multi-link
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Solid disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 17.3 / 10.5 / 14.2
輪胎尺碼 Tires: F: P245/40R19 - R: 275/35R19 (Hankook Ventus S1 noble)