2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 AWD - Leaps and Bounds Into Act II - Review

One fine spring morning, in a valley nestled in America’s Dairyland, but for the eau of cattle generated methane, peacefulness reigned.

Then came engine thunder and parting of air, courtesy of an all new luxury executive sedan bolting over the crest of a hill, through a steep corkscrew dip. Quick double-tugs on  the steering wheel down-shift paddle, followed by foot to the brakes, brought tranquility back to the valley.

The disruptor was not Mercedes Benz’s latest twin-turbo V8 uber-sedan, the S550 4-Matic, that “Drive…He Said” had just sampled.

Instead it was the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis.

New Tux:

– The 2012 Genesis (Gen. I) couldn’t shake the impression that it pushed its way into the executive mid-size luxury sedan party wearing a heavily borrowed tuxedo.

This time around Peter Schreyer’s design team draped the 2015 Hyundai Genesis in a mostly new duds. Then again, there is that Aston Martin-esque grille, but who hasn’t borrowed on that timeless element?

Drawn front HID assemblies with LED highlights demand “Look at Me.” A roofline which bows to meet the high beltline with sculpted door panels suggests “Do you think I’m interesting?” Tail bow-tie LEDs, whisper “If you want to get better acquainted, simply Follow Me.”

In-House 8-Speed, Out-of-House AWD:

– The 2015 Hyundai Genesis has a greater repertoire of motions to follow. The Lambda RS 3.8L V6 and Tau 5.0L V8 twin-cam alloy direct injection gas engines have been minimally de-tuned, making peak torque sooner. The heartbeat can get slightly lumpy at idle, but under load it smacks of refinement.

The 8-speed Shiftronic manumatic transmission, makes smooth swaps, but slightly lags some ZF 8-speeds. Tight ratio spacing “bogs down” response to an urgent throttle off the line.

The only way to get Hyundai’s HTRAC full-time all-wheel control is to specify the V6 engine. Intended on making the Genesis competitive with the GS, Q70, E-Class, 5-Series, and A6, Austrian Magna supplies the optional electronic wet-center clutch all-wheel drive hardware. The 40:60 default torque split is a far cry from the rear-bias dialed into sportier set-ups. But front and rear torque-vectoring are covered.

Consultation with Lotus:

Not the flower. Nor the computer software. Instead, Hyundai, a company with zero Formula One entries, sought out the chassis wizardry of the late Colin Chapman’s British marque, with a legacy of seven F1 Constructor Series wins. Chapter I of the Genesis could get jumbled mid-corner and occasionally became rear axle hoppity.

The new Genesis damps more harshness with improved sway control. Quicker electric assist steering varies weight better with speed. Overall, the 2015 Genesis feels lighter on its feet. Large vented front rotors get loving from four piston fixed monoblock calipers; however initial bite is baby-teeth strong.

Plugging Away at the Devlish Details:

– Expected luxuries such as satin-like perforated leathers, driver’s seat memory, cooling/ heating front seats with rear outboards heating make an encore appearance in the 2015 Hyundai Genesis. Matte cherry finish wood veneers, trimmed in aluminum, make for a warmer environment than the tawdry brightwork of old. An analog roman numeral dial replaces the axed digital clock. Even a new [old KDM] Bentley-themed winged insignia is affixed to the boss. For the last remaining Circle “H” Hyundai badge please see the trunk-lid. Speaking of trunk-lids, on the Genesis it releases with key fob nearby and optionally powers shut.

Aluminum-trimmed turn/ wiper stalks and magnesium shift paddles feel exquisite. Carpeting is definitely of a tighter premium weave. Factor in the biggest proportion of aeronautic adhesive used in any car next to a Benz and Hyundai Genesis gets an anechoic cabin. “La Traviata” through the optional 17 speaker Lexicon 7.1 discrete channel 900 watt audio system should now be the next best to the Met. Still it lacks some depth of Lexus’ Mark Levinson set-ups.

A second dedicated audio system dial has been added for selection Tuning. Toggle action on the center console rotary infotainment dial has improved. It’s adept at sub-menu searching from the 9.2″ LCD touch screen. Tactile steering wheel thumb-wheels abate switch population. A new analog clock vies for attention among a vexing  Kia Cadenza -like agglomeration of climate system switches. Front buckets are available with power driver’s bolstering and extension. Beige seating, is trimmed in contrasting dark piping, resembling some Jaguars from Coventry.

Technically Updated and Challenged:

The 2015 Genesis throws in driving assist aids like autonomous braking, rear cross traffic and front park assist warning to the previous mix of  lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear camera with audible park assist. Still unavailable: active self-parking.

Once past hands-free Bluetooth calling, Hyundai trails the luxury pack. There’s no text message or email connectivity that is available in a Toyota Corolla. Voice commands limited to phone calling, audio selections and navigation don’t make doing any entire task particularly seamless. For data infotainment junkies, 3 years of SiriusXM satellite Travel Link Sports, Traffic and Weather and a year of Blue Link telematics are included.

Coming Into Its Own:

A re-born 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8L remains far and away a value leader in the luxury sport sedan segment. In spirited driving the Genesis 3.8L boasts a real improvement in composure and deftness over old. Optional HTRAC all-wheel drive should boost its snow-belt popularity. Build quality and trim detail has also taken a leap and bound. The new Hyundai Genesis has written its own script, rather than reviving someone else’s.

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