Hyundai Genesis 3.8 V6 review

11 Jun, 2014 8:45am Steve Fowler

Can Hyundai produce a credible rival to BMW, Mercedes and Audi?


A stiff price, non-premium badge and thirsty petrol engine aren’t a good starting point for this wannabe exec, but decent quality and a hi-tech kit list do their best to offset that price. This isn’t a sporting saloon by a long chalk, but it’s relaxed, refined and pleasingly laid back. It’s not a bad first effort from Hyundai, but unless you’re really driven to be different, you’d stick with the established players for now.

As a toe in the water goes, this is a little pinky just brushing the surface. Hyundai expects to sell just a handful of its new Genesis executive saloons in the UK, but it’s said to be a showcase for the brand’s technology – all stuff that’s likely to filter through to your more regular Hyundais.

According to Hyundai Europe boss, Allan Rushforth, value will never disappear from Hyundais, so this new Genesis model comes absolutely stacked with kit. Everything from soft-close doors to a head-up display and a rather good sat-nav system is standard – there’s no need to plunder the options list, which is a good job because there isn’t one.

There’s only one engine choice, too – a 3.8-litre V6 with 311bhp. Yes, only a big, thirsty (24.4mpg average) petrol engine and no diesel, somewhat limiting the Genesis’ appeal in the UK.

Best used executive cars

Which is something of a shame. Genesis has been around in the US and Korea for a while now, and this is it’s first foray into Europe. And it’s not a bad first effort: the car is really refined, rides nicely and on the whole is nicely built. The engine/gearbox combination works well, but the steering is positively dormant.

There are a few other foibles, too: the switchgear is numerous and randomly scattered, while some of the plastics atop the dash and doors isn’t as posh as you’d expect.

But the seats are superbly shaped and finished in top-quality leather, and there’s bags of space in the back and boot – as there should be in a car that’s slightly longer and wider than a Mercedes E-Class.

Our drive was in a four-wheel drive model, which won’t be coming to the UK – we’ll just get a rear-drive car. A Hyundai insider promised that ours will have a slightly plusher ride, too – not that there was anything wrong with the car we drove.

In spite of the many positives, the biggest problem is the badge – not the fact that the Genesis badge on the nose and steering wheel centre looks like it should be from a Hyundai budget brand rather than it’s luxury arm. But persuading buyers to drive past BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar dealers to spend what is expected to be between £45,000 and £50,000 on a Hyundai ranks as one of the toughest jobs on the planet – as Lexus and Infiniti would tell you.

At least with so few cars being sold, and every one through Hyundai’s HQ rather than its dealers, leasing rates and residual values can be managed and might not appear quite as scary as you’d expect. 

Disqus - noscript

Hyundai aren't that stupid to charge nearly 50 grand for this thing it will be nearer to 30k IMO. At 30k it will be an interesting alternative that will surely evolve over time.

How stupid can this review get!? Only 3* because it's not German! The idea of a review is to assess it's good and bad points, not it's badge!

I get the slight dig at Infiniti, but Lexus? Always going to be a small niche player, granted, but drive past any Lexus dealer and you'll regularly see used BMWs, Audis, and Mercs traded in by drivers wanting something different. I'm willing to bet the inherent reliability and quality WHERE IT MATTERS with this Hyundai will be better than the usual German's. OK, so it might not have the chassis of a BMW, the dashboard of an Audi or the craftsmanship of a Lexus, but it offers an alternative to the few who will buy one. If you currently drive an i40 for example and like the Hyundai brand, then this is something to aspire to. Sadly, because it doesn't wear a badge like its more established rivals, means that it's biggest challenge is going to be retained value.... it's not going to get anywhere near the cars I've mentioned in that respect... unless of course Hyundai set a guaranteed buy back price like Citroen did with the C6. I think the only ones we're like to see are on Hyundai UK plates or dealer principles driveways....

The first impression of the photo is that this is a variant of some Audi. A lot of copy-cat going on here.

Probably because it was designed by Peter Schreyer who worked for Audi as designer from 1980 to 2006 before being hired by Hyundai. Not so much copycat, more signature style.

Except, Audi (along with others) actually copied the hexagonal grill shape from Hyundai.

So the Genesis and CTS both only get a 3* from AE mainly for things like not offering a diesel.

So this is yet another German designed car. Grrrr!

I see this has German number plates. Double Grrr!

I agree with AE, while the badge shouldn't be everything, for Europeans it certainly seems to be, no matter how good this car is, it's always going to struggle in Europe due to having a non premium badge. To be honest I'm not sure why Hyundai are bothering with Europe for this one!

What nonsense. Go back and look at the model timelines. Audi had those grilles long before Hyundai. The Korean makers don't have an ounce of originality!

What a clown you are. bd is right, Hyundai already had HEXAGONAL grilles back in 2009/2010 with the ix35 and the US version of the i40. It is Audi that copied the grille from Hyundai in the last few years.

Try to do get your facts right before writing jibberish.

A Stunning Looking Car In & Out I Can't Believe it's A Hyundai This Car Oozes Quality, I'm just not fond of the Empty space on the Front Grill but Maybe it's a grower.

What Size is this A6/5 SERIES OR A8/7 SERIES ?

If you want a good laugh look at the previous model. Ebay item number 261505448051

They've gone from shamelessly ripping off Mercedes to shamelessly ripping off Audi. It wouldn't be so bad if they at least drove well. Nobody does tackybland quite as well as the Koreans. No wonder Americans fall for it!

The whole look of this car is copied from Audi and yet it still manages to look tacky like only a Korean car can. I'm sure it would suit you tho - rolling along with all your greasy homies, on your way to the food bank with latino music blaring out. Ewww.

Key specs

  • Price: £48,000 (est)
  • Engine: 3.8 V6, 311bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 6.8s
  • Top speed: 149mph
  • Economy: 24.4mpg
  • CO2: 270g/km
  • Equipment: Sat-nav, leather, heated and cooled seats, head-up display, CO2 cabin monitor
  • On sale: September