First Drive: 2009 Hyundai Genesis
Luxury by Numbers: On paper, the Genesis is all the luxury car you need
Hyundai has big plans for its rear-drive platform, including the upcoming BK sport coupe. And it has big plans for its somewhat ill-timed V-8. Dong-Jin Kim, Hyundai's vice chairman and CEO, says 4.6 liters is the small end; the engine can be bored and stroked up to 5.5 liters, which will serve nicely in the not-for-U.S. long-wheelbase Genesis, eight inches longer than the standard sedan and two inches longer than the front-drive Equus V-8 it replaces. The 4.6 will get gas direct-injection in a couple of years, pushing horsepower past 400, Kim says. Hyundai would have to raise the BK coupe's hood to fit the Tau, "and why would we?" he asks. The BK V-6 "leaves a lot of room for the tuning guys."
Finally, Hyundai has added the Chrysler 300C and Pontiac G8 GT to the Genesis V-8's competitive set. This makes infinitely more sense than comparing the car with Mercedes and Lexus-the American cars are scratching and clawing for respect in their own country, where German icons and Japanese perfectionists rule the big luxury-car segment. The Hyundai Genesis will do well in a new, little sub-segment heretofore to be called "value-priced luxury cars." Next to the Yank tanks, though, its bigger numbers don't feel big enough to propel the car past your expectations of the Hyundai brand.