Hyundai to keep 2015 Genesis sticker below $40K

DETROIT -- Hyundai will maintain its sub-$40,000 sticker price for its second-generation Genesis premium sedan when it goes on sale this spring, the company said today.

The 2015 Genesis, revealed at the Detroit auto show today, rides on a new rear-wheel-drive platform that now includes optional all-wheel drive, a first for a Hyundai sedan. The Genesis gets power from either a 3.8-liter V-6 engine generating an estimated 311 hp and 293 ft.-lbs. of torque, or an optional 5.0-liter V-8 producing up to 420 hp.

The company didn't release pricing details, but said the entry-level 2015 Genesis would start at less than $40,000.

Hyundai dipped its toe into the luxury market when it debuted the Genesis five year ago, and the newcomer has been well-received. The Genesis became the first Korean car to win North American Car of the Year in 2009 and, sales increased every year after its introduction, before slipping 5 percent to 32,330 in 2013.

Hyundai says the second-generation Genesis' improved ride and handling, a more refined interior and a major injection of technology will help it compete more closely with German rivals such as the BMW 5 series and Mercedes-Benz E class.

"Market expectations for the new Genesis are understandably high, and we're confident the Genesis' combination of superb dynamics, bold design, class-leading safety and driver-focused technologies will exceed those expectations by a large margin," Mike O'Brien, vice president of product planning for Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.

New platform, tech

Hyundai spent five years and more than $500 million developing the Genesis and its new platform. Ultra-high-strength steel makes up more than 50 percent of the car's body-in-white. No aluminum is used in the body.

The V-6 and V-8 engine options are carried over from the first generation, as is the eight-speed automatic transmission. The biggest addition to the Genesis' drivetrain is the optional awd, which Hyundai will call HTRAC. The system uses an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control to shift power between the front and rear wheels.

The car's new Intelligent Drive Mode allows drivers to select from Normal, Eco, Sport and Snow driving modes, which changes throttle responsiveness, shift points, stability control and suspension damping.

New active safety technologies include automatic emergency braking, which will apply the brakes when the system senses the vehicle approaching an object ahead at an unsafe speed, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, which will automatically apply steering torque when sensors detect that the car is accidentally leaving its lane.

High-tech interior

The Genesis' new interior is clean and contemporary, with available real wood trim and aluminum accents.

The 2015 Genesis will also have the second generation of Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system. A new feature now uses Google search technology to power voice-activated destination searches in the car or destination searches using the Blue Link mobile app, which will send directions to the vehicle remotely.

Another new tech feature is the Genesis' Intelligent Assistant app that combines data from the vehicle, Blue Link and the driver's smart phone. The app can automatically suggest a departure time for a particular calendar appointment, based on traffic conditions, and ask the driver if he or she would like to remotely start and warm up the vehicle if it's cold outside.

The Genesis is also compatible with Apple's Siri Eyes-Free mode, which allows users to use some of their iPhone's functions via voice commands without having the phone in hand.

You can reach Ryan Beene at autonews@crain.com



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