Hyundai has announced a round of updates for its Genesis sedan which includes a name change and a new, turbocharged Sport model.
The 5-Series rival is currently sold in Australia under the name Hyundai Genesis, but with plans for more luxury models to join in it, Hyundai will establish Genesis as a separate, luxury subsidiary sometime next year. The premium sedan will then change its name to Genesis G80, becoming the first product sold in Australia under the standalone brand.
Apart from the name change, cosmetic updates to the G80 as we know it are minor. What is interesting is the addition of a G80 Sport variant featuring a more powerful 272kW and 509Nm 3.3-litre turbocharged V6 engine. The regular G80 makes do with a 248kW and 394Nm 3.8-litre V6 engine.
The G80 Sport features sportier styling flourishes including unique front and rear bumpers, quad exhaust tips, a blacked out front grille and new alloy wheels. Inside, there’s a new three-spoke steering wheel, sports seats and wireless device charging.
At this stage the G80 Sport model and its turbocharged V6 are not guaranteed for Australia, though Aussie appetite for alternative, sporty rear-drive sedans is likely to spread to other brands once Ford and Holden cease production of Falcon and Commodore.
A 320kW/500Nm V8 engine is available in the G80 overseas, but only in left-hand drive markets. It is unlikely to be offered in Australia in the near future.
Pricing of the updated G80 will be available closer to the launch of Genesis as a separate entity in 2017. The Hyundai Genesis currently retails in Australia for $60,000.
Genesis has also flagged its interest in fully electric vehicles. A report from Reuters quotes Genesis executive Manfred Fitzgerald saying electric cars are the future of the auto industry.
"We will definitely go as Genesis brand down the road of alternative propulsions and it is very, very obvious that EV is definitely on the map," said Fitzgerald.
It’s not clear how soon Fitzgerald would like an electric Genesis model to be made available, though a diesel alternative to the current petrol engines range is set to be introduced early next year.
The former Lamborghini boss joined the ranks at Genesis in December 2015; just one in a series of bold moves made by the fledgling luxury carmaker. In recent times Hyundai has poached high-profile talent for its Genesis project from a range of premium brands, including a string of ex-Volkswagen Group designers: Peter Schreyer, Luc Donckerwolke and SangYup Lee.