CHALLENGING the automotive industry's best, Hyundai has flung itself into the premium market with a $60,000 large luxury sedan.
Setting its sights on the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti and Jaguar, the South Korean carmaker believes Genesis has the ability to change the way people think about Hyundai.
The brand has certainly come a long way since the Excel era.
One drive of the new Genesis proves the "throw away cars" of the past can be banished to the history books. Hyundai is now entrenched in Australia's automotive top five and the Genesis will only serve to strengthen its resolve - although Hyundai Australia boss John Elsworth concedes it's a challenge and he knows the mindset won't change overnight.
Powered by a burly 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine, the Genesis impressed with outstanding ride quality and handling prowess at this week's national launch in Canberra.
While we sampled Korean variants one their home turf earlier this year, the vehicles sold Down Under have been on the receiving end of extensive Australian tuning.
The team here worked for a year honing and developing the Genesis for our roads and driving style. The end result is impressive.
Quiet and accomplished on the road, the Hyundai offering is every bit the prestige vehicle.
The acceleration time of 0-100kmh in 6.5 seconds is testament to its ability.
Backed by the highest safety rating ever recorded during Australian crash testing, Hyundai has packed a lot into its base offerings. There are two optional extra packs, and get a top-shelf Genesis with all the fruit and you'd still be well in front of the equivalent European.
But the $60,000 question is: Who would buy a Hyundai luxury car?
The marketing team call them "astute thinkers". The chances of shoe-horning buyers out of European offerings are low, and Hyundai will have better luck luring those looking at high-end Falcons, Commodores, Chrysler 300C, Infiniti Q models, Lexus ES or GS.
They are chasing those who don't want projected badge status. Value and quality will be high on the buyer's agenda, and to help sell its case Hyundai will be hosting a stand in Sydney where the Genesis will be on show against a Mercedes-Benz E250 and a BMW 528i.
Genesis standard features:
Nine airbags, autonomous emergency braking which can help avoid or lessen the impact of an accident, radar cruise control that maintains a safe distance in front of the vehicle, automatic high beam, lane departure warning, anti-lock brakes, stability control, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, high intensity headlights with washer system and auto levelling, cornering headlights, daytime running lamps, rear view camera, park assist with sensors front and back, leather trim, 23cm touch-screen with sat nav, 17-speaker Lexicon audio, keyless entry with push button start, electric park brake, 18-inch alloys, automatic boot unlock function, power blind on rear window, automatic wipers, steering wheel paddle shifters and dual zone air con.
$11,000 Sensory Pack:
Blind spot detection, rear traffic alert, lane change assist, head-up display, around-view monitor, premium leather, bolstered driver's seat with extendable base, power steering wheel adjustment, CO2 cabin sensor and LED front fog lights.
$22,000 Ultimate Pack adds:
Panoramic sunroof, soft-close door latches, heated rear seats, noise reducing acoustic glass, power boot lid, 19-inch alloys, rear door curtains and a 17cm digital instrument cluster for the driver.
Model: Hyundai Genesis.
Details: Four-door large rear-wheel drive luxury sedan.
Engine: 3.8-litre V6 generating maximum power of 232kW @ 6000rpm ad 397Nm @ 5000rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 11.2 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 6.5 seconds; top speed 240km/h.
Bottom line plus on roads: $60,000, Sensory Pack $11,000, Ultimate Pack $22,000.