Given the rampant success of both Hyundai and Kia in the last decade, you wouldn't think the Korean manufacturer requires a luxury brand to further its ambitions in Europe. But that undersells the firm's aspirations, which are nothing less than world domination on a scale to upset the established apple carts of the likes of Toyota and the VW Group. The latter, of course, has extensive upmarket options, and it is doubtless with this thought in mind that Genesis was conceived and executed.
Internationally, the brand has been up and running for 5 years and has built its reputation on offering a superior ownership experience. The European experiment, premiering in Germany, Switzerland and the UK, will run along similar lines. The new division will offer direct sales online, and while it will operate three retail 'Studios' in London, Munich and Zurich, it promises that home pick-up and delivery at every stage will ensure that customers never need step foot in a dealership.
That approach could hardly chime better with the times, and Genesis promises the kind of luxury experience that will be defined by customer service. Of course, to succeed in the region's most cutthroat market segment the firm will need to deliver more than a dedicated point of contact. First on the product block will by the G80 saloon and GV80 SUV, followed by the smaller G70 and GV70 not long afterwards, each backed by a five-year care plan that includes warranty, servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car and over-the-air software updates.
If those model names don't mean much to you at the moment then join the club - a state of affairs not helped by the fact that Genesis hasn't enlightened us on precisely which flavour of each is inbound. But the gist of it is that the G80, launched just last year, is a 5-metre long saloon in the circa 1900kg mould and in its most interesting guise comes equipped with a 380hp 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 mated to an 8-speed auto.
There's a 304hp 2.5-litre four-pot, too, but given the V6 is essentially the successor to the 3.3-litre lump found in the Kia Stinger GT-S, we're going cautious bet that it'll be the larger engine launching in the UK (lest the G80 be overshadowed by its dangerously likeable sibling). The GV80 SUV, built on the same platform, is similarly new and shares the powertrain lineup. Genesis calls them expressions of 'Athletic Elegance', which is apparently the firm's design philosophy. Make you're own mind up on that one.
Additionally Genesis reports that both have been tuned for European roads at a dedicated development facility. Next to arrive will be the Electrified G80, the first of three battery-powered models the manufacturer has planned. Expect 370hp from a dual motor setup and around 265 miles of range from a model that was revealed in Shanghai just last month. Genesis says that in time it will also introduce European-specific product to underline its commitment to the region. From another firm, that might sound like wishful thinking. But who'd bet against Hyundai now?
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