First Look: Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept

Hyundai refuses to rest on its laurels. In 2008, it pushed into the luxury-car realm in the U.S. and is now looking to make the German stalwarts shake in their boots with the second-generation Genesis sedan. Take a good look at the HCD-14 Genesis Concept at the 2013 Detroit auto show -- it's a direct preview of what to expect from Hyundai's midsize luxury fighter for 2015.

The Korean juggernaut will be following in the Germans' footsteps, if the HCD-14 is any indication; the next Genesis will eschew the staid sedan bodystyle in favor of a more dramatic four-door-coupe look. HCD-14 is the first car to feature Hyundai's new Fluidic Precision design language, an evolution of the brand's current Fluidic Sculpture style. The new look is supposed to covey "liquid-metal design;" "gemstone-like surfaces;" and integrate bold, brushed-metal details.

In profile, the HCD-14 Genesis bears a close resemblance to the Audi A7, BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-Benz CLS; Hyundai even uses the same window shape as Audi at the C-pillar. However, the HCD is rather slab-sided, with minimal surfacing and slim windows. A strong character line runs from nose to tail with a triangular concavity just ahead of the front door cut. A swollen lip at the bottom of the doors helps to reduce visual mass. Huge wheels are made with a mix of lightweight alloys and carbon fiber with red brake calipers and low-profile performance tires giving the car a planted and aggressive look.

Powering the HCD-14 Concept - and we can only assume the next Genesis as well - is Hyundai's 5.0-liter, direct-injected Tau V-8 engine. In the current Genesis, the 5.0-liter produces 429 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic sends power to the rear wheels, but Hyundai's engineers have done away with a traditional shifter - gear selection is done via a set of paddle shifters.

Futuristic Cabin
The HCD-14's cabin has been cleared of button clutter; in fact, Hyundai has done away with the traditional center stack completely. Instead of responding to inputs from buttons, knobs, or screens, the driver looks at a feature on the head-up display and can then use thumb controls on the wheel or gestures to interact with the car's audio system, climate control, navigation, or connected smartphone.

The center console was inspired by a double-cresting wave and flows from the dashboard all the way to the rear parcel shelf. Nestled within the waves is an iPad storage station, although Hyundai hasn't said if it will charge the device or if the tablet will link to the vehicle in any way. The instrument panel provides information with a combination of digital and analogue gauges.

Starting the HCD-14 is just as unique as operating the stereo: the car uses optical recognition to sense turn the engine on after the driver sits down. There's a good chance this bit of future tech may make it to production on the 2015 Genesis - Tesla is already implementing a similar system in the Model S.

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