Reviews

2011 Hyundai Genesis sedan Driving Impressions


Hyundai says it benchmarked the BMW 5 Series, Infiniti M, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Lexus GS when developing the Genesis. Advanced five-link front and rear suspensions, rear-wheel drive, and a rigid unibody structure give the Genesis the engineering to compete with those cars.

We drove the Genesis on twisty two-lane California roads and on a race track to experience the handling. The Genesis proved to be a capable handler, a viable match for a Mercedes-Benz E-Class we drove for comparison. By comparison, the Genesis feels a bit more numb and doesn't have as much steering feel, but it stays flatter through turns. The Genesis lacks the balance, agility, and direct steering of the BMW 5 Series.

The Genesis 3.8 V6 is lighter than the 4.6-liter V8 model, making it more nimble and responsive in the corners.

The Genesis is equipped with Amplitude Selective Dampers, which are basically two shocks in one. These shocks have one mode for small, high-frequency bumps and ripples and another mode for larger motions. Hyundai says they improve ride comfort, optimize road surface contact, and increase body and wheel control. On the road, they help the Genesis provide a smooth, quiet ride. We detected no float or wallow, though we did find that the ride got bouncy over humps and ruts at highway speeds.

Steering is direct but not overly quick. The 4.6 model has electrohydraulic steering, while the 3.8 is traditional hydraulic, and the electrohydraulic version deals with very rapid directional changes better.

The Genesis 3.8 sedan is powered by Hyundai's Lambda 3.8-liter DOHC V6, which produces 290 hp at 6200 rpm and 264 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. The V6 is EPA-rated City/Highway at 18/27 mpg.

On the road, we found that the V6 had plenty of zip for most every need. It gets up to speed quickly and highway passing is a breeze. Hyundai quotes a 6.2-second 0-60 mph time.

The Genesis 4.6 model comes with a 4.6-liter DOHC V8. Like the V6, the V8 has continuously variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust, and also comes with a Variable Intake System designed to allow the engine to breathe more efficiently at both low and high speeds. Retuned slightly for 2011, the 4.6-liter V8 produces 385 hp at 6500 rpm and 333 pound-feet of torque at 3500 rpm with premium fuel. Save some cash and choose regular fuel and those numbers drop slightly to 378 hp and 324 pound-feet of torque.

The V8 is substantially quicker than the V6. It has plenty of power from a stop, in the midrange, and at highway speeds for passing. Hyundai quotes a 5.3-second 0-60 mph time. The V8 is EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg City/Highway, which isn't much of a fuel economy penalty given the extra power.

Each engine is mated to a different 6-speed automatic transmission. Both are responsive, shifting quickly and smoothly. Both also have Hyundai's Shiftronic manual shift gate.

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