2015 Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai’s path from replaceable econobox to highly desirable automotive brand has been a quick one. But, the track of their Genesis sedan from import-premium pretender to notable contender took an even faster pace. And, this 2nd generation of Hyundai’s new beginning appears to be the real deal. So, should established luxury-sports carmakers be worried? Let’s find out.
Hyundai’s Equus may be the brand’s posh flagship. But, it’s the 2015 Genesis that is the most important car for this brand and its efforts to expand into luxury sedan territory, especially if they ever hope to be a notable challenger to Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and other top-tier luxury marques.
That’s because the Genesis is not just a middle weight luxury car, it’s one that Hyundai has infused with enough sportiness to actually make us eager to hop in and drive it. And, when you do, you’ll find some of the seriously good interior quality that is required to be world class. It’s not all there yet, but it’s close. Hyundai has done a fine job of upping the “classy” with genuine materials such as great looking satin finish wood.
Also to play in this class, it takes the latest in high tech. Updates such as Smart Cruise Control and a Head-Up Display are in line with its competition, while available safety systems like lane keep assist and Sensory Surround have the Genesis bordering on being a self-driving car.
The hands free trunk release is pretty trick. Just stand by the trunk with the key on you for 3-seconds and the lid pops open. Virtual gauges are bold and direct while the general dash layout is very nice.
The driver’s seating position is great, with lots of adjustments and good bolstering, though some found the wide cushions a little on the hard side. The back seat borders on huge, with lots of room to spread out, even for adults.
To be a true luxury contender you also need something else, a “big” grille! The Genesis’s has one even if it is Audi-like. And, in similar fashion, this face will also soon work its way through the rest of the Hyundai brand.
Fractionally longer in overall length, yet with 3-inches more wheelbase, proportions are now more modern. It is without a doubt more upscale, and the longer arching roofline gives Genesis a far more aerodynamic profile. In the rear, panels are more rounded as well; and the jewel-like LED tail lights are mounted high.
The same 5.0-liter V8 and 3.8-liter V6 engines are available, but both have been revised for smoother operation and better torque delivery. Our tester sported the 311–horsepower V6 and its 293 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is available with a new HTRAC all-wheel-drive system that works with Intelligent Drive Mode select to divert power forward or rearward depending on wheel slip.
But, all this means less if the makeover de elegance doesn’t carry over to the driving experience. Well, it does, but also to a point. Ride quality is very close to the Big-3 German luxury cars, even if the sporty feel still comes up a tad short.
Things have gotten more responsive and perhaps a little more settled, but when driven aggressively there’s still plenty of roll; nothing a proper ride-and-handling package wouldn’t fix. The V6 engine sounds great, but launching torque is still low, taking our Genesis to 60 in 7.2-seconds.
Response improves markedly as RPMs climb and shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission are quick yet smooth, making the trip through the quarter mile in 15.4–seconds at 96 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, steering feel was numb; like most of the Germans; but on the plus side, this rear-driver still retains some of the first gen car’s tossable nature even with its big improvement in smoothness. Braking is not too shabby either, with stops from 60 averaging a short 120–feet.
The original Genesis sedan surprised us in Biblical proportions. Not just with its luxury feel, but by the fact that we liked driving it a lot. It got Genesis off to a good start and we’ve loved every namesake sedan and coupe we’ve driven since, including this car.
For which government Fuel Economy Ratings are 18-City, 29-Highway, and 22–Combined. Our 23.4 mile-per-gallon average of Regular was a good one. Though the Energy Impact Score remains average, at 15.0-barrels of oil burned and 6.8 tons of CO2 emitted yearly.
And, as nice as the Genesis has gotten, it’s still a great value proposition. The “more for less-ness” starts at $38,950. Most of its direct competition, with far better name cache, start around $50,000.
Genesis signifies birth. And, while the original 2009 Genesis sedan was certainly that, it’s this 2015 Hyundai Genesis 4-door that has the potential of being a brand changing vehicle, if they can follow up with additional models in the same vein. Then, established luxury makers will have something to worry about. Not so much about losing their current customers, but about attracting future ones.
- Engine: 3.8 liter
- Horsepower: 311
- Torque: 293 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 96 mph
- EPA: 18 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.8 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined