Unveiled the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the HCD-14 Genesis is intended to showcase Hyundai's future design direction for rear-wheel drive premium cars. For a premium-sport, four-door coupe, the HCD-14 concept exhibits a surprising mixture of style choices, along with the inclusion of some interesting interactive technologies such 3D gesture tracking navigation control.
The Genesis HCD-14 seems to want to be both an aggressive performance car and an elegant luxury ride without one side really acknowledging the other. It presents high, slab-like sides and boxy bodywork with an understated, almost stealthy profile and doors that open like the gates on a manor house – an impression enhanced by the rear-hinge configuration on the rear door. It seems less like a car to drive than to be seen getting out of.
The interior of HDC-14 Genesis is elegant and, with all its angles and gilt work, the driver’s cockpit has the feel of a 1960s wristwatch. There’s a rather dramatic wooden fin like a knife cutting between the driver and passenger seats as if to say that the driver-centric cockpit is off limits to visitors. The designers have also eliminated the center console and fitted the dash with aviation-style digital/analog displays.
There’s a singular lack of buttons or knobs, which Hyundai claims is less intimidating, though may be at the price of being more aggravating for drivers used to working by touch. To offset this, the HCD-14 Genesis has a heads up display and uses thumb controls, eye-tracking and 3D gesture tracking to control navigation, infotainment, audio, HVAC, and smartphone functions. That all sounds very exciting, but it might be safer to try them out first with the car in Park.
Being a concept, performance doesn't really hold the emphasis, but it isn't an afterthought either, since there’s an eight-speed married to a 5-liter Tau V8 engine with (if there aren't any modifications) electronic fuel injection and dual continuous variable valve-time cranking 429 bhp (320 kW) and 376 ft lb (510 Nm) of torque. Meanwhile, at the back end, there’s a ceramic-lined exhaust tuned for minimal back pressure and a “deep baritone note.”
The ultra-rigid chassis is reinforced with high-tensile steel and has a five-link front and rear suspension that reduces suspension-travel changes to camber and toe for consistent grip out of bends. In addition there’s multimode power steering system that Hyundai claims has greater efficiency while retaining road feel and feedback and customizable yaw control for different road conditions and driver preferences.
The earlier versions of Genesis were notable for providing surprising performance at a reasonable price for a full-on luxury car. It will be interesting to see how the HCD-14 holds up to this record if it transitions into production.