As bargain luxury brands go, Genesis Motors is aiming high — seemingly fixated on taking down its German competitors at a fraction of the price. However, while Genesis is capable of rumbling with its rivals’ base models with total confidence, it doesn’t have the hardware necessary to bash in the heads of most models wearing AMG or M badges.
That could soon change.
In a recent interview with Road & Track, Hyundai product planner Mike O’Brien hinted a hotter Genesis G70 may be in the works. “A big effort with the G70 was thermal management, to make sure that this car will hold up,” O’Brien said at this week’s Detroit Auto Show. “We’re building for the future. I’ll just say that.”
Proper thermal management is essential for all vehicles, but you don’t really hear automakers discussing it beyond the confines of performance applications with any genuine excitement. As a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, the luxury arm is also under the supervision of the company’s recently promoted head of R&D, Albert Biermann — whose credentials include BMW’s M division and, more recently, Hyundai’s derivatively named N division.
From Road & Track:
That note about extra cooling capacity in the G70 seems to indicate that Genesis wants to offer something sportier than the standard car, perhaps with racetrack performance in mind. An M3-fighter? That seems ambitious, but then again, so was targeting the 3-Series in the first place. And given how sweetly the current G70 drives, maybe Genesis could just pull it off.
Would such a model be badged as a G70 N? O’Brien told me it’s too early to say. Genesis is still figuring out how it wants to brand any eventual performance cars.
Hyundai is placing increasing importance on getting into racing in North America, as evidenced by the new Veloster N TCR race car. It’ll make its competition debut later this month at Daytona in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. O’Brien says Hyundai is looking at more motorsports opportunities in the US, and he personally wants to see Genesis involved in racing.
“We’re looking at different things, as you can imagine. Whether it’s GT3 or GT4 or prototypes, we’re looking at all those things,” he explained. “It’s way too early to speculate on where we’re going to go, and of course, we have to think about where we want Genesis to go, where we want Hyundai to go. No decisions have been made at this point, but certainly, we need to think about it. We have two separate brands we need to build awareness and excitement around.”
The possibility of Genesis bringing out hotter trims over the next few years seems like a reasonably safe bet. As sedans lose market share to crossovers, many automakers have tried to appeal to enthusiasts and elevate profit margins by introducing performance-inspired appearance packages and even meaningful upgrades to their passenger cars. That, in addition to Hyundai hitting a homerun with its first batch of N cars, makes a pretty good case for Genesis to try something similar.