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Hyundai Genesis book open – and shut

Not for Oz: Hyundai has confirmed that the award-winning Genesis sedan will not be built in RHD guise in its current generation.

Bigger 5.0 V8 for Hyundai’s 2011 Genesis sedan but RHD production still in limbo

9 Nov 2010

THE Australian future of Hyundai’s Genesis appears to be less certain than ever following mixed messages from the company about when right-hand drive production of the cracking new coupe and sedan will finally commence.

Officially, Hyundai continues to rule out a RHD version of both the current Genesis coupe, released in Korea in 2008, and the Genesis sedan, launched to critical acclaim last year in the US, where it was named 2009 North American car of the year.

However, that view is not shared by Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) president and CEO Steve Yang, who last week confirmed the award-winning Genesis sedan will not be built in RHD guise in its current generation, but clearly stated that next year’s facelifted Genesis coupe would be produced for Australia and other RHD markets in 2012.

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Former HMC Australia marketing director Kevin McCann told GoAuto last year that he hoped RHD Genesis production would commence following the release of a midlife facelift for both models next year, with Australian deliveries to start by late 2011 at the earliest.

When asked to clarify the RHD Genesis plan after Mr Yang’s comments last week, the director of global public relations for HMC’s Overseas Business Division, Frank Ahrens, said: “It was a mistake. There is no plan to produce either the Genesis sedan or coupe in the current generation.” Despite that, GoAuto and other Australian media outlets were invited to Korea to drive the Genesis sedan and coupe last week, when HMC also confirmed the ‘Tau’ V8 that powers the flagship Genesis sedan will be upgraded from 4.6 to 5.0 litres next year for overseas markets.

While the facelifted 2012 Genesis coupe will continue with turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and naturally aspirated 3.8-litre V6 petrol engines, next year’s upgraded Genesis 5.0 GDI sedan will be fitted with Hyundai’s GDI direct petrol-injection system for the first time.

The sedan’s current multi-point fuel-injected 4.6-litre V8 delivers 375hp (280kW) on premium unleaded petrol, but Hyundai says the bigger new 5.0-litre Tau V8 – which grows from 4267 to 5038cc – will offer up 430hp (325kW) on 98 RON premium unleaded.

Hyundai also says its new V8 will deliver 510Nm of torque – up from the current engine’s 451Nm – which would see it match the outputs of Holden Special Vehicles’ top-shelf 6.2-litre V8 by all but 40Nm and fall 10kW and 60Nm short of Ford Performance Vehicles’ new supercharged ‘Miami’ 5.0-litre V8 (335kW/570Nm).

The Tau GDI (for Gasoline Direct Injection) will come standard in the Genesis V8 with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission developed by Hyundai itself to replace the current model’s six-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Hyundai has previously said the Tau V8 could be bore and/or stroked to a maximum displacement of 5.5 litres, but that any increase in capacity would not reach production if the current 4.6-litre engine’s fuel consumption could not be maintained.

However, official documents supplied by HMC show the Tau GDI will in fact be six per cent more fuel efficient – while delivering a 12 per cent improvement in peak power – as well as reducing CO2 emissions by no less than 30 per cent.

Hyundai says the result is class-leading fuel consumption of 9.0L/100km (highway) and 13.0L/100km (city) – down from 9.4 and 13.8L/100km – that betters the efficiency of the Genesis sedan’s most direct (US) rivals in the Lexus GS460 (4.6 GDI), Mercedes-Benz E550 (5.5 MPI) and Infiniti M45 (4.5 MPI).

Apart from direct-injection, key new technologies for Hyundai’s all-alloy 32-valve DOHC V8, which weighs 216.9kg, include dual variable valve timing, a roller timing chain, tuned intake system, piston cooling jets and ‘eco-type’ oil filter and oil-cooler.

While the upgraded 2012 Genesis sedan and coupe officially remain off-limits for Australians – meaning both models could be up to four years away from local showrooms – Hyundai has confirmed it is also developing an even more formidable force-fed version of its Tau V8, which could emerge in the next generation of the Genesis sedan and perhaps Hyundai’s new flagship sedan, the Equus limousine.

Senior Hyundai powertrain engineers would not comment on the possibility of a turbocharged version of the Tau V8 to match the most powerful engines from Germany in the absence of a top-shelf V12 from Hyundai, but official HMC documents refer to a “Turbo GDI” version of the 5.0-litre Tau V8 with “Stratified Burn GDI (and) CVVL”.

Watch this space.

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