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by Jay Traugott
Can Hyundai duplicate its winning formula of affordable luxury for its next-gen Genesis sedan? We'll find out later next year.
Hyundai surprised the automotive luxury market when it launched its first-generation Genesis rear-wheel-drive sedan back in 2008. Despite it not being quite as luxurious or advanced as the typical players in this segment, brands such as BMW and Lexus took note on how the Genesis was still a well-rounded premium package at a significantly cheaper price. Call it affordable luxury and consumers responded.
Now the South Korean automaker is getting ready for round two, as a next-gen Genesis sedan prototype has been caught by our spy photographers. According to sources, the new Genesis will be built on an updated and lightened version of the current RWD chassis. The suspension will also be revised for sportier handling. But perhaps the most significant changes will be the exterior design, which we can already tell from these photos is more dramatic than the current car's. There are LED running lights up front as well as a wide, hexagonal grille opening with horizontal grille bars. It's possible that the headlights may even be full LED units.
Under the hood will likely be updated versions of the 3.8-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 engines, both of which will be mated to an eight-speed automatic at launch. However, a ten-speed automatic is also said to be in development and will be available sometime after the car's initial launch, upping the gear-count in an ever-escalating game of one-upmanship that's been playing out in the luxury segment. Expect to see the new Genesis sedan (no word yet on the coupe) unveiled sometime later next year as a 2014 model.