New Hyundai Genesis Driven To See If It’s Worth More Than A BMW 535i

Badge snobs look away, the Hyundai Genesis has arrived at the UK shores and boy does it have to prove itself. This is Hyundai’s halo car, a 5-meter executive saloon with all the tricks of the Korean company thrown at it, the flagship that made the US market fall in love with it.

Already in its second generation, the Genesis is now reaching Europe, including a right-hand drive version for the UK, to demonstrate Hyundai’s ability in making a proper luxury sedan. There is only one tiny problem though and that is the price, with Hyundai asking for a rather hefty £48,005 (about $72,700 at today’s exchange rates) for the privilege of owning one.

Combine this with the fact that there is no diesel option available and you can guess that the Genesis will remain a very rare sight on this corner of the planet. The only engine available is a 3.8-litre petrol V6 which makes 311hp and 293lb-ft (397Nm) of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. CO2 emissions, upon which is calculated the road tax cost, are rated at a massive 261g/km. To give you a perspective, McLaren’s 570S is rated at 258g/km. This is after all a model developed with the US market in mind.

From the inside

Open the door, throw yourself at the comfy driver’s seat and you are greeted by a suitably luxurious environment which offers the expensive kind of isolation from the outside world. The fit and finish are just excellent as well as the perceived quality, from the leather upholstery to the soft-touch plastics. The only thing that kind of spoils the image of it is the amount of shared switches and buttons with lesser models of the range.

As a true car to be driven in, the Genesis offers to the rear passengers their own set of controls mounted on the armrest, from which they can operate things like the audio system, the rear sun-visors, their adjustable ventilated/heated seats and even the passenger’s seat position to further increase the already big legroom.

How does it drive though?

On the road, the Genesis is an honest cruise ship that doesn’t pretend even slightly to be a driver’s car. Everything is smooth and well isolated, with the ride being as comfortable as your bed on a Monday morning. The soft suspension soaks everything well but in the same time allows the Genesis to float a bit too much. Established German rivals offer better body control without being left behind on the comfort side.

The eight-speeder’s velvety changes further enhance the serene driving experience of the Genesis but it could be snappier on downshifts. The V6 emits a healthy, satisfying sound when worked hard without ever getting annoying or intrusive. Performance is brisk enough for a near-two-tonne car and you can make good progress with it, once you get used to the body movements and the generous dimensions but you soon realize that the Genesis is more capable than happy to be driven that way.

Bottom Line

Hyundai UK already knows that very few people will choose to buy a Genesis. With a £48,005 price on it, they have a rather strong point, especially if you think that a BMW 535i starts at £44,685 or even a Maserati Ghibli at £53,575. The BMW offers a more sophisticated set of handling characteristics, being more fun to drive, faster and a lot cheaper to tax, thanks to its lower CO2 emissions (179 to 174g/km, depending on spec). And that’s before we start discussing brands and their depreciation values after a few years. The Maserati is a… Maserati.

Think of it as Hyundai’s technological tour-de-force instead, with all of its benefits soon to be shared with the rest of the range, like the lane keeping assist, the emergency brake assist, the round view cameras and the blind spot detection finding their way into the more popular models.

Hyundai has built a really good car and I understand why this is so popular over at the US. The thing is that although the Genesis is a truly great $38,000 (the MSRP US price) executive sedan, it really has no chance as a £48,005 luxury saloon.


  • Andrewthecarguy

    Looks nice but I can’t get with the interior…

  • Six_Tymes

    a very sharp looking car inside and out. I like it a lot. Just a tad too expensive. 10 grand less and i think it would sell much better.

  • pcurve

    why don’t they just lower the price? I’m so confused.

    • Craig

      Me too. At least until they get some sort of foothold.

    • bd

      Basically just offering it pretty loaded for the UK market.

    • thunder bolt

      The high price is due to taxation in Europe, but in North America, you can get brand new one for as cheap as 35k U.S. dollar

      • 35K Us = £23,000 UK pounds at current exchange rate. I’m no financial wiz but that’s an additional £25,000 ‘European tax’ – Hyundai wants? Thats more than the bloody car!

      • accolade

        It’s actually $38K

  • Doc_V

    Nice car… but not 5 series money nice… And I’ve owned a few Hyundais and quite a few BMWs

    • iTsLiKeAnEgG

      This will depend on which generation you’re comparing but I went from a 2007 BMW 530i to a 2010 Hyundai Genesis V8 and I couldn’t have been happier with the transition.

  • Kash

    I feel the current 5-series isn’t as boldly styled as the last and i kinda just see it fade into the crowd, plus they have so many variants and they’re so cheap everyone has one it feels like. This though, i like the looks better. It’s bolder, it’s Asian, and if they tune the engines better it’ll be a much better car.

  • PeterMcPumpkinPhD (Harvard)

    You are basically paying for the Hyundai badge and they throw the car in for free

  • MultiKdizzle

    Uninspired design on the inside and out.

  • Imjus Sayin

    I think Hyundai would need to surpass Lexus and Infiniti on performance, reliability, and above all, quality perception to be able to charge anything above 40k in Europe. Not just for the Genesis, but all the models it sells in Europe. The established marque players are moving downmarket under 40K and selling well because of the badge perception. Anything above 40k is all about the badge cache, which Hyundai’s image still does not carry. Why buy a copy when you can own an original?

  • R1S0

    “…especially if you think that a BMW 535i starts at £44,685….”

    ….yeah, it STARTS. You must add some extras to match the Hyundais standard equipment.
    And i doubt it will cost you £3320.
    (And there is something you even cant get in Bmw 5 series like ventilated rear seats,etc.)

  • RCW89

    Okay fair enough some may feel that this car is too expensive and I wouldn’t argue that the 5 series is a better car but if we are talking solely price which seems to be emphasized so much what no one is talking about is the fact the genesis is fully loaded from the off, so yes it costs more than a base 535i, I mean you don’t even get keyless entry as standard on the 535i it is part of a comfort package! then you start adding the rest of features that thhe hyundai has and the bmw quickly becomes 58k, So at which point the hyundai becomes a fair bit cheaper.

    • Obsequious_Lickspittle

      Second hand the Hyundai becomes a heck of a lot cheaper even accounting for the depreciation that big BMWs suffer.

  • I know the ‘cost of doing business in the UK’ excuses manufacturers use but honestly – virtually DOUBLE the US price?!?!! I would be amazed if they sold even one. Its a very nice looking car and would make an amazing second hand buy though….

  • NWxSW

    Keep in mind that in the US this particular model would run over $49k due to the options installed, or about 31,500 pounds.Still a huge difference but not quite as huge. The base $38k Genesis in the US doesn’t come with any of the tech stuff, a sunroof or the high grade leather.

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