Hyundai Genesis Sedan Gets Bling for SEMA

October 13, 2008
2008 Hyundai Genesis RKSport Concept

2008 Hyundai Genesis RKSport Concept

As Buick and Toyota will tell you, purveyors of vanilla soft-serv cars love partnering with design shops to give their posh rides some visual edge. And indeed, just like Toyota's Venza and Buick's Lucerne, Hyundai's new Genesis sedan does little to offend, with smooth, clean lines and a pleasant shape that is quietly masculine. But perhaps Hyundai walked a little too softly in the styling department, creating a look that some have called generic or forgettable. In their seeming quest not to brag too much, Hyundai didn't even feature the brand's logo on the Genesis' grille.

Enter RKSport, "The Performance Styling Specialists." Hyundai America Technical Center is partnering with them to "develop a customized, high-performance Genesis sedan" for November's 2008 SEMA show. With a picture of a tarted-up Saturn Ion on their home page, it would seem the bling-masters at RKSport believe they can turn the automotively dull into delicious. Whether or not you think a Saturn Ion coupe with a fiberglass ram-air hood, three-piece spoiler, window scoops, polyurethane front bumper, and side skirts is delicious is a very subjective matter.

The first peek of the Genesis RKSport is promising, but big wheels and ground effects made even the whale-like 1991 Chevrolet Caprice look purposeful and mean in its Impala SS guise. Where the Genesis sedan really needs an edge is in the handling department. Hyundai has proven they can do a fantastic drivetrain and a Mercedes-level interior, but the fluffy handling of the newly released Genesis sedan has the motoring press underwhelmed with the car's behavior on challenging roads.

We're not mad at Hyundai for going to the store and purchasing a little bling for SEMA--that's in the spirit of the show, and the clean lines of the Genesis certainly aren't a bad place to start an aggressive restyle. But we just hope that Hyundai delivers on the "high performance" promise of this Genesis concept, and that they work those performance bits and pieces into a factory option so that the Genesis can keep up with the big boys in more than just a straight line.--Colin Mathews

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