Hell has indeed frozen over, and the first U.S-bound rear-drive, V-8-powered Hyundai has slid right across the ice into our world. The Genesis concept-shown first at the 2007 New York International Auto Show-is the precursor to a 2008 production model that has some pretty potent targets (the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the BMW 5-series were called out right in the press release) in its crosshairs.
While some important details like the V-8’s 4.6 liter displacement, the six-speed transmission by ZF, and 53/47 front-to-rear weight distribution have been revealed, Hyundai is being a bit shady about some important figures. Horsepower will be “well over 300,” pricing will start “well under $30,000,” and 0-to-60 mph will be achieved in”well under six seconds.” Those claims should be well within reach. The new engine, known at the Tau, is a 32-valve unit that Hyundai claims has been designed with the future in mind. That means the Tau is ready for larger displacements, forced induction, and other technologies.
As you’d expect, Hyundai is unleashing its entire arsenal of technology and gizmos with the Genesis. It will be Hyundai’s first U.S. car with adaptive cruise control, push-button start, and high-intensity discharge headlamps. Also available will be heated and cooled seats, navigation, bluetooth, and an Infinity surround sound stereo.
Hyundai claims that with the Genesis will come a new era at Hyundai, one where enthusiasts will finally open their eyes to the Korean brands. We’ve heard talk that the next Tiburon sports car will also use this platform, and could even use the same V-8 engine. We’ll have to wait and see.