DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Ever since spending time in the Genesis at the Detroit auto show, I’ve been looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one. The brand has really needed a unique look for its higher-end offerings, and in my opinion the show Genesis offered it; fortunately, the design looks just as good on the street as it does on the turntable; this is a long, wide machine that says “luxury car” from stem to stern. It’s neither in-your-face nor dull, and perhaps most importantly, it’s distinctive…at least from the front.

Dynamically, the new Genesis is a huge leap forward from the previous model. While I haven’t had it on a handling course or high-speed track, in all types of daily driving up to and including 80 mph freeway cruising, the Genesis V6 chassis proved itself the equal of a BMW 5-series or Mercedes-Benz E-class, and it didn’t require a “sport” setting to achieve that balance. Steering, alas, isn’t quite there…it is hugely improved over the darty, imprecise steering of the previous Genesis, though, and it’s probably only a software revision away from playing with the Germans in that category, too.

Our 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 came with just about every option one could wish for minus the V8 engine, and as Mark Vaughn noted during one of his preproduction drives, the V8 really isn’t necessary. Not only does the six have ample horsepower and torque, but the transmission is perfectly programmed to take advantage of it. Not once did I find myself wishing for more power during a weekend of driving.

If there’s one “but” that remains with the Genesis it’s the fact that it’s a $52,500 Hyundai. Don’t get me wrong -- the Genesis feels like a bargain at $52K: I optioned an equivalent 5-series and ended up at $68K and change. But how important is value to this shopper?

Thus, my prediction: The 2015 Hyundai Genesis will be a runaway hit in the “non-brand-conscious luxury-car buyer” segment. I just hope for Hyundai’s sake they’re able to attract more than just those 22 sales, because the Genesis deserves to be at the top of a lot more buyers’ lists.

2014 Hyundai Genesis first glimpse

Here are the first official shots of the next Hyundai Genesis, a long, cool drink of water that will chart the course for many larger Hyundai sedans to come.“We want more premium luxury,” ...

The interior quality of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan has also been greatly improved.

EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEN ROSS: Hyundai needs to get people behind the wheel of this car; this Genesis is a great package both inside and out. The interior is exceptional and comes with every bell and whistle you would expect to find in a $70,000 car. The matte wood trim and cream-colored leather work well together, the entertainment system is intuitive and does what some higher end systems can’t do: plug and play your phone with out spending 20 minutes looking for the correct button to push.

The exterior is different without being flashy or overly designed; classic lines but unique in its own way. You do see some strong influence from European makers, but it holds on to just enough of the Hyundai styling cues to stay true to the brand.

Winner!

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan comes in at a base price of $41,450 with our tester topping off at $52,450.

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Dang. Nice car. Really nice.

I like the exterior shape quite a bit, even though it sort of reminds me of a larger Chrysler 200. Not a criticism, just an observation. To my eye, this car would fit right in Chrysler’s lineup -- the proportions look right on and the shape is pleasing. It’s a huge improvement over the old Genesis.

One night doesn’t really give one a clear driving impression, but so far so good. It’s quiet and serene. Yeah, like a Benz. Seriously, it’s that comfy.

The ride feels about perfect: The right amount of body control with a ride that soaks up potholes and such with ease. In fact, the ride/body control might be the biggest improvement over the outgoing Genesis. The V6/transmission relationship is good -- smooth and quiet and decent-to-good power.

Yes, yes, this is a $52K Hyundai. Is the world ready for it? That’s actually a more than fair price, but I guess the question is, will buyers bite? There’s been a lot of office chatter about this car, such as: “that new Genesis is really good for a Hyundai.

“…for a Hyundai.” How long are we going to keep saying that? When will Hyundai get over the hump of its Hyundai-ness and have consumers dropping the “for a Hyundai”? Ever?

For now I’ll say this: I don’t know if this car will take sales away from the Mercedes-Benz E-class/Audi A6/BMW 5-series, but I sure can see it giving the Toyota AvalonChevrolet ImpalaChrysler 300 and Nissan Maxima absolute fits. 

The exterior of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan is a highlight for our editors.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: The new sheetmetal on this Genesis is sweet. It’s probably the best-looking Hyundai in the stable. One guest at the party last night thought it was an Audi, another, not really a car guy, thought it was an Aston Martin. Seriously.

The interior is just as nice as the bodywork. The white leather looks good with the black trim. The seats are soft, not Lexus soft, but close. The central screen is easy to read and use and I like that Hyundai adopted the BMW central control dial; it seems to be the best way to control these systems. Oh, and that panoramic sunroof is great, too, lets in a ton of light and it can be covered with the push of a button.

I was surprised to see output pegged at 311 hp; I know the new Genesis coupe gets 348. But the Genesis didn’t feel sluggish at all. The pedal showed sufficient urgency as well. I just got out of our long-term Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec; that thing reacts to inputs on a calendar, not a clock. My only complaint, and probably the only reason to get the V8, is that you hear a decent amount of engine noise in the cabin, at least at high revs. I don’t mind that, but the type of buyer who goes for this wants a silent, sublime driving experience.

The steering wheel has a good amount of weight dialed in, and it is all-wheel drive, which means the Genesis was great on a recent rainy morning. I hit a few bigger puddles and it seemed to just plow right through them. This is no lightweight at 4,300 pounds. And I can’t complain about 25 mpg on the highway, that’s for sure.

Would I buy this if I was looking for a luxury sedan? I would. I’m not a big “name” guy; I don’t need to drive a big name company. This offers about 90 percent of what the Germans do at about 60 percent of the price. It’s a net win. 

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that puts out 311 hp with 293 lb-ft of torque.

ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Wow, the chassis engineers have been hard at work over at Hyundai, haven’t they? From the small Elantra GT I drove a couple of weeks ago and now this new Genesis 3.8 sedan, it really seems like the Koreans are pulling themselves together when it comes to suspensions. It seems like those floaty cars that crashed over road imperfections may be a thing of the past, and that’s incredibly good news for the consumers.

A new platform underpins this new Genesis sedan that’s no doubt stiffer than the one it replaces. It’s pretty clear there’s substantially updated stuff here with how well this sedan tracks through a corner. It’s really quite impressive with the composure and much-improved ride quality. It’s a champ at softening the blow from the majority of ruts that I encountered during my two-night stint. It’s a rather quiet ride, too.

Will it match a BMW 5-series in the reflexes department? Eh, I’m not sure if I would go that far, but it’s a pretty darn good handler and that’s something I don’t think I’ve really ever said about a bigger Korean car. I will say that I think the ride is more comfortable than a run-flat-tire-shod Bimmer 5-series, though. It’s also very quiet rolling down the expressway.

As Andy said above, the steering still needs some work but is again much better than the overboosted system in the pervious car that lacked any feeling or feedback. There’s at least some weight tuned in there now with a little numb spot on center.

I found the 3.8-liter V6 adequate for moving the 4,300-pound sedan around. Sure the 5.0-liter V8 would be the ticket to have some more fun, but for regular driving, the six-cylinder is serviceable and smooth. The eight-speed automatic is also a slick unit, performing quick and well-timed shifts.

The sheetmetal is sharp with an imposing front grille. Sure, there are still some borrowed styling elements here and there from other carmakers, but it’s nice and clean-looking overall.

What’s also nice is the interior with substantial-feeling controls. The buttons no longer feel cheap and hollow. Leathers and materials throughout are nice, and they even paid attention to other little details. For example, the front door map pockets are lined with a felt/suede-like material. Normally, I grumble about Hyundai’s front seats being too flat and lacking in support, but the Genesis’ are darn good, being both comfortable and having some side support. The Lexicon sound system also sounds great.

This is an incredibly strong redo by Hyundai overall. It’s now a car that shoppers should certainly seriously consider if they are in the market for a 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class or Lexus GS. No, the Genesis badge isn’t going to carry as much weight as the other three I listed, but if you can get past that, there is a lot to like about the Hyundai. So give it a chance, people! The new Genesis will surprise you. 

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan chassis gets some well deserved upgrades.

Options: Signature package including power tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, integrated memory system, ventilated front seats, power-tilt and telescoping steering wheel, HID headlights, auto dimming outside mirrors, blind-spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, parking guidelines, power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades ($4,000); tech package including ultra leather seats, 7-inch TFT LCD custom display, power drivers seat cushion extender and side bolster, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, haptic steering wheel and pre-safety seatbelt, auto emergency braking, high beam assist, electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, front and rear parking assistance system ($3,500); ultimate package including genuine matte finish wood trim and aluminum trim, heads-up display, power trunk lid, premium DIS with navigation with 9.2-inch high definition display, Lexicon 17-speaker discrete logic 7 audio system, dual-mode vent control with CO2 sensor ($3,500).

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