ONE of 2018’s most beautiful concept cars, which has all the hallmarks of a pure design study, is now looking like it will make production following increased backing from senior company officials.
The gorgeous Genesis Essentia 2+2 coupe was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March, and the public’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive. So much so, Genesis chief Manfred Fitzgerald was prompted to say at the time that he was “pushing for it” to be built.
Most people took that with a grain of salt, but executive director of Genesis North America, Erwin Raphael, has since gone a step further and told MotorTrend the project is going ahead.
"We are very committed to the Essentia," said Raphael. "We love the car. We think the car will do very well."
Production numbers will be limited and its price will be beyond anything currently available from Hyundai’s luxury offshoot, Raphael confirmed. But its job as a flagship halo car would be to drive brand awareness, rather than generate direct profit.
The Essentia stunned crowds at New York with its transparent panels, carbonfibre construction and butterfly door design, as well as an interior that links seamlessly with the exterior, not to mention blue leather coverings on the floor and dashboard.
Hyundai-Kia’s design chief Peter Schreyer told media at the show that the dramatic pair of doors could go into production, but he expected a traditional alternative to be adapted. Beyond that, nothing about the Essentia concept from a technical standpoint is outside the realms of possibility for a production car, according to Fitzgerald. He estimated a production version could be reality by 2021, with certain elements inevitably toned down.
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Details of its all-electric powertrain remain under wraps, though the brand did boast a sub-3.0sec 0-97km/h acceleration time at its debut. Its batteries are housed in an I configuration within the central tunnel of the high-tech cockpit and in parallel with the front and rear axles.
Genesis currently offers a small range of luxury vehicles overseas including large limos and the coupe-styled G70 sedan. The GV80 SUV has been shown in concept form, and more are promised as part of its plan for six models on three platforms by 2021. A compact coupe is part of that, though it is expected to ride on a version of the G70’s platform.
Essentia is totally unique in its construction and, if the drivetrain remains unchanged, could be the vehicle that introduces an EV platform within the Genesis range as an entree for its consumer-focused electric cars promised by 2021.
Rumour of a Genesis-badged supercar initially surfaced in 2016, as reported by Wheels, and was confirmed earlier this year at the Detroit motor show. No timeline hints were given at that stage, though it was confirmed that design proposals were advancing ahead of the engineering work.