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Hyundai looks to AWD performance angle

All-aw: The new Genesis sedan, previewed by the HCD-14 concept, will debut the new HTRAC system.

Hyundai announces HTRAC all-wheel-drive ‘sub-brand’, with Genesis sedan the test bed


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17 Oct 2013

HYUNDAI is preparing to roll-out a new all-wheel-drive system called ‘HTRAC’ beneath key members of its passenger fleet, starting with the next-generation Genesis luxury sedan due for a global premiere by year’s end.

The company promises the system, which variably channels torque between the front and rear axles depending on conditions, will feature on a range of models over the coming years, with the Genesis coupe presumably first in the pecking order after the sedan.

Hyundai hints that a variety of dial- or button-operated driving ‘modes’ will feature to lend a “sophisticated and tailored driving experience”. If it mirrors European cars, the company could feature comfort, medium and race settings.

Unsurprisingly, the H in HTRAC stands for ‘Hyundai,’ and the TRAC is an abbreviation of ‘traction’.

As we know, both the coupe and sedan will be made in right-hand drive this time around, although according to Hyundai Australia public relations general manager Bill Thomas, it isn’t yet known if HTRAC will be immediately be available in RHD applications.

While the Genesis sedan will premiere by the end of 2013 in Korea, that model is not yet confirmed for Australia. Sales of large sedans are going backwards here, after all.

Expect the Genesis to sport a bold hexagonal grille, simple and clean lines and cab-rearward proportions - a la the BMW 5 Series - with lots of distance between the front wheel-arch and doors. That, at least, will be the case if a spy image circulating the web is the case.

The coupe, however, is a lock to come here some time after its global debut next year, and Mr Thomas says if AWD becomes available for our market, the company’s local arm will have its hand firmly in the air to receive it.

The fast-growing company says the establishment on this HTRAC ‘sub-brand’, including models replete with special badging, is crucial if it wants to cultivate a “premium, high-tech brand image”.

Moves such as the application of HTRAC, as well as the construction of a new test centre at Germany’s Nurburgring, a move into the World Rally Championship, and plans to branch out into the genuine performance market with more turbocharged hot hatches, are a sign that Hyundai is still chasing status.

“Hyundai Motor’s HTRAC system has secured best-in-class durability and driving performance through strict tests carried out in various locations worldwide, including the famed Nürburgring in Germany, the Yeongam F1 circuit in Korea and in severe winter tests in Europe,” said vice chairman and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D Centre Woong-Chul Yang.

“We expect our customers to feel world-class safety and driving performance in the all-new Genesis equipped with the HTRAC system.”

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