The first performance car to come from Hyundai’s luxury division Genesis could be based on an SUV – with turbo-petrol power rather than electric propulsion.
The Genesis GV80 Concept Coupe could spawn the South Korean automaker’s first performance flagship, according to top executives for the company who unveiled the car on the eve of the New York motor show overnight.
When asked if the Genesis GV80 Coupe Concept – which had a more sporty appearance than other models in the line-up, and was equipped with high-performance tyres and brakes – was just a motor show tease, the head of design Luc Donckerwolke told Australian media:
“We will certainly not offer a no-show, no-go vehicle. If we are going for a more sporty character in the design, definitely we believe there is a need to make it match with the characteristics of the car,” said Mr Donckerwolke, a former designer for Lamborghini, Bentley and Audi who has been with Hyundai and Genesis since 2016.
“We will not talk about performance (of the vehicle today) but basically we will make sure that when we design a car which has a sporty character, it is (appropriate).”
It is not yet clear if the twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine used in other Genesis models would get a power bump, or if the company will find another way to boost performance – such as the electrically-assisted supercharger fitted to the same engine in the Genesis G90 limousine overseas.
However, for now Genesis appears to have ruled out electric power for its latest model.
“Electrifying (a vehicle) is always depending on the compromises you do, depending on the platform,” said Mr Donckerwolke.
“If electrifying an existing platform means compromising on the opportunity of the vehicle we certainly (would not do it).
“To use an existing platform is sometimes a bad idea … we are not talking about electric (power) for this one.”
The executive said petrol-powered performance would still be offered in future Genesis cars even after the roll-out of a vast range of electric models from 2025.
The future line-up of electric Genesis cars “doesn’t mean everything else dies in 2025,” said Mr Donckerwolke.
The executive said, contrary to perception, the global pandemic has created a boom in demand for luxury goods rather than a drop in spending on expensive items, including cars.
“The pandemic has not affected any luxury manufacturer, whether we are talking about goods or cars,” said Mr Donckerwolke.
“To the contrary I think now emotional vehicles are more in demand than any other vehicles.”
When asked if Genesis planned to create a performance sub-brand – as Hyundai has done with its N division – Mr Donckerwolke said:
“We will not have a new brand. We do believe that we can add spices to the product line-up, but we will not make a seperate brand, that would be diluting the strength of Genesis.”
The executive said there was a “possibility to add one character or the other to the cars, from sportier younger models or more refined premium executive luxury cars.”