The 2015 Hyundai Genesis aims to stand out (and stand apart) at Hyundai dealerships, yet fit right in with luxury benchmarks that cost far more. And you can see that delicate dichotomy of missions in the way the Genesis looks—which is not as daringly different as Hyundai’s other mainstream models.
The first-generation Genesis had a pleasantly anodyne body, with just a few flares of South Korean style in its grille and secondary controls. The 2015 Genesis goes out of its way to blur even those touches, adopting a new roofline and grille that are striking in combination. The grille's grown up, down, and out in a shape that bears more than a passing resemblance to VW and Audi noses; the winged Genesis badge could be on a Bentley. Down the side, and especially from the rear quarters, the passing references to BMWs are unmistakeable. It might be nothing new individually, but it works well on the new Genesis, putting some good distance between the new car and the 2009-2014 edition.
The Genesis isn’t quite derivative of anything in particular, but you don’t need to be a car expert to see that Hyundai looked to Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, among others, for inspiration, and then mashed it up with some of its own language.
Hyundai has taken the hexagonal grille that’s been appearing in refreshed models throughout the Hyundai lineup—like in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata—and cut it into the somewhat more ornate look of the outgoing Genesis, to yield a look that’s more textured and nuanced, yet even more in-your-face beaming with brightwork than before. From the front, it looks somewhat Audi influenced; but if you step a bit to the side, it doesn’t at all, with its swept back lamps different hood sculpting.
Up close, the look can appear a little too blunt-nosed from some angles, we thought—and the shorter overhangs give the Genesis a great presence from most angles, including at the rear, where the look is undeniably softer and more elegant.
It’s worth noting that Hyundai has again intentionally opted against placing the Hyundai badge at the front of the car—instead adding only the Genesis badge, which solicits a little more intrigue (and looks on close inspection even more like a Bentley badge this time).
Inside, the big luxury sedan trades some vertical shapes and curved silhouettes for straight lines and sharp edges. Lexus has gone a similar route with its latest sedans, emphasizing horizontal lines and a flatter presentation that's more flattering than before. The corners of the vents flanking the central touchscreen point angle off on opposing tangents; the rectangles that divide out the space for the shift lever, cupholders, even the clock impose a regularity on the console that seems slimmer but looks more substantial.
The square timepiece acts as a central visual point for the controls otherwise, which put climate and audio controls just beside and below; the dash bypasses the entirely reconfigurable screen-based gauge clusters of some current models and instead goes with nice, neat analog electroluminescent gauges.