Hyundai again stole the limelight at the 2017 New York auto show, presenting the Genesis brand’s first SUV concept — the Genesis GV80 concept. The GV80, which follows on from the Genesis New York concept revealed at the New York show last year, was designed by a team in Hyundai’s North American design center in Irvine, California.
As a one-man show, I can’t always attend every event in the automotive calendar and I sadly missed out on this year’s New York show. Fortunately my friend George (aka MotoMan) was on hand to interview lead exterior designer Brad Arnold, Genesis chief designer John Krsteski and interior designer Kerrin Liang. You can watch the live interview above. For those who’d rather read, see below…
The Genesis GV80 concept is a fuel-cell SUV that combines luxury and versatility, similar to Bentley’s Bentayga. But it isn’t just a venture into a new typology for the nascent luxury brand, it also features an array of design elements that build on the company’s ‘Athletic Elegance’ design direction, which will be carried over to future production models in the range.
Arnold reveals that the Genesis GV80 concept originated from sketches that he and designer Tony Chen were working on for the production model. Top brass saw these and asked the designers to work on the show car. While Arnold was taken off that project to lead the exterior design of the GV80 concept, he and Chen continued to feed ideas back and forth, informing the show car’s final design.
The GV80 concept presents a modern interpretation of an SUV, one that will be at home in the urban environment. Building on the strength of architecture and the beauty of natural elements, the design team expressed these ideas by utilizing high-quality luxury materials and jewel-like forms to create a feeling of desire.
The front face of the car showcases the brand’s unique quad lamps and signature Genesis crest grille, which establishes a dominant center spine that runs through the length of the vehicle. The grille’s diamond motif mesh acts as a symbolic graphic, with the chromed grille surround meant to represent the setting in which the diamond is placed. Below the lower setting, an aerodynamic fascia channels air through precision facet cut-outs around the front wheels and side rocker panels. These warm-toned alloy elements signal key structural components and technical features alluding to the GV80 Concept’s functionality and alternative powertrain. The rest of the exterior panels’ bespoke Ice Granite finish provides a subtle contrast against the detailing.
The concept’s bodyside is characterized by balanced proportions and full surfaces, with a parabolic line that visually connects the front and rear of the car. This accentuates the shoulder and adds more visual width to the SUV’s athletic fender forms and wheelarches, which house the concept’s 23-inch mesh alloy wheels. Electronic door handles sit flush underneath the concept’s shoulder line for enhanced aerodynamic performance and simplicity.
The core of the vehicle is extended through the rear, visualized by the center spine detail in the upper rear brake light. Further fortifying the GV80 Concept’s athleticism, slim quad lamps elongate towards the powerful rear quarter panel for a planted stance. Laser fiber optic technology in the tail lamps produces a truly unique Genesis lighting signature at night. The lower rear fascia provides soft visual intrigue and function with purposely integrated vents to cool elements of the alternative powertrain.
The GV80 concept’s interior, designed by Kerrin Liang as an extension of the luxury and performance elements found on the exterior, is a sophisticated environment that caters to the driver as well as passengers though craftsmanship, attention to detail and technology.
The main element is the Architexture suede-covered bridge instrument panel element that stretches from door to door to enhance the feeling of spaciousness while concealing the HVAC system’s air vents beneath. Liang notes that wood wasn’t considered as her goal was to create something new. A wide 22-inch curved display set in the instrument panel cascades into the driver’s cluster, which combines the precision of a classic speedometer with the immersive flow of information from a digital display.
Further uniting the interior and exterior, the GV80 Concept’s side pillars are constructed with a structural truss design viewable from inside and outside the vehicle. This detail brings in the exterior environment, promoting a unique interaction with the outside landscape. Additional versatile storage compartments are creatively integrated throughout the SUV concept in the lower doors for ultimate convenience.
The GV80 Concept’s interior features an innovative Human Machine Interface that offers users intuitive operation and function control through the use of a new multi-function interactive controller with capacitive touch. All of this technology is blended into the precision designed details of the vehicle.
The horizontal 22-inch curved OLED infinity display presents two distinct zones, providing separate driver and passenger experiences. An ash wood lower center console integrates the high-tech controller and polished linear metal inlays with capacitive touch capabilities. The top of the interactive multi-function controller features a concave gorilla glass touchpad and knurled metal wheel with handwriting recognition as another method for interacting with the informational panel.
Through touch control, each metal string allows direct access to the most commonly used functions including Navigation, Entertainment, Communication, and Environment. By tapping these metal strings, passengers gain separate control of a mini-view on the right side of the wide display without disturbing the driver. The custom inlays of the console run through the center spine of the SUV emphasizing the length of the vehicle while creating four separated zones. Each passenger is invited to a tailored seat with access to the capacitive touch inlays and an individual entertainment system allowing for control of a customized user experience.
Color and Materials
To complement the exterior design, the GV80 concept’s interior environment showcases a curated combination of high-quality materials, vibrant colors and rich textures that lend themselves timeless sophistication.
The GV80 features a semi-aniline leather interior, with quilted diamond stitching on the door panels, seat inserts and center console, harmonizing with the facet details on the exterior.
The wrapped leather on the upper instrument panel is contrasted with Architexture suede on the instrument panel bridge that surrounds the front passengers for an interesting tactile accent. Echoing the warm alloy metal from the exterior, the trim detail below the bridge indicates the flow of cabin air and is highlighted by polished aluminum trim pieces.
Embracing its urban and outdoor spirit, the GV80 Concept’s ash wood center console and floorboards provide a contemporary organic element to contrast against the other authentic materials.
Finally, the SUV’s cargo area features an elegant tonal and texture effect by Architexture suede, dark gray leather and slate ash wood that is both visually appealing and functional with contrasting sleek metal tie downs. Genesis designers also created a bespoke luggage set to fit into the trunk of the GV80. The pieces are made from the same materials used in the car’s interior, completing the luxury package.
Overall the Genesis GV80 concept is an appealing proposition for Hyundai’s luxury brand’s first SUV. It effectively communicates the Genesis brand’s luxury ambitions and sporting pretentions through unique design elements that come together very well.