This is the new Genesis X Concept, an electric grand touring car with extreme presence. Unveiled in Los Angeles, California, the concept previews a forthcoming flagship electric car and appears to be more production-ready than the 2018 Essentia concept.
In the late-2000s, when electric and alternatively powered cars started bursting onto the scene in earnest, the trending topic was whether these new propulsion systems needed to be cloaked in a new design language to showcase their alternative powertrains. While some carmakers tried this – GM, Toyota and BMW, to name a few – this was largely unappreciated by customers. They were already early adopters of new technology and they didn’t necessarily want to be so visible; blazing down an unconventional aesthetic path wasn’t on their agenda.
Fast forward a decade and markets worldwide have made the decision for us. SUVs and crossovers are what the global market craves, and so the sea of automotive manufacturers is catering to this demand. Some have stopped building cars altogether, opting instead to exclusively build larger crossovers and trucks, where, incidentally, profit margins are greater. Genesis, the premium car brand from the Hyundai Motor Group, is not one of those companies.
Genesis is still in its nascent phase but has been coming in strong with a series of concepts that informed later production vehicles. I remember seeing the GV80 and Essentia concepts in the flesh at Pebble Beach and marveling over the ‘two lines’ lighting and minimal surface treatment, which was reminiscent of a sculpture. It was calm and graceful but powerful and commanding at the same time. And the proportions were perfect.
The four-seat Genesis X is long, low and wide. It’s traditional in its proportions but not in its surfacing, with a very strong undercut character line arching over the shoulder along the body, starting from the top of the clamshell hood to the rear. This is the only demarcating line on the bodyside. There is no eye-catcher element in the door, only a soft surface volume leading down into the rocker panel.
The roofline, meanwhile, sweeps over the top of the car in a refined gesture that recalls previous German GTs and the two-line signature is present in the lower rear corner of the DLO surround. At the rear it’s equally minimalistic, the concave truck lid surface is reminiscent of the Italian coda tronca cars while the two-line motif is repeated beneath the bumper in a gesture that seemingly outlines twin exhaust outlets.
The fenders have been pushed out over the track communicating the sense of power coming from all four wheels and giving the car a very planted stance. Designers may have gone a bit overboard with the ‘two lines’ lighting, which carries over through the wheel arches aft of the front fenders, but it’s something fresh and new and will be a unique brand identifier. This also serves to visually elongate the front end and give the car a strong dash-to-axle read with the cabin pushed far back. This has always been used to communicate power.
From the horizontal lighting bars and its forward-canted shield-shaped grille to the 3D-printed five-spoke alloy wheels and muscular fenders, the concept’s exterior is lean and menacing, while the interior is a serene space that blends technology with elegance and sophistication. It’s clean and minimal, with all of the functions neatly placed around the driver, the main focal point.
The unique sphere gear selector – which I’d love to try – and hidden air vents are juxtaposed with brogue leather seats, a weave-patterned fabric made of upcycled leather and beautiful metal detailing as a nod to traditional luxury. The ambient lighting, color-coded stitching and bi-tone, contrasting colorway – a traditional scotch brown-colored leather cockpit and ocean wave green blue passenger area – mix the feeling of modernity with old-world elegance and craftsmanship. Genesis designers haven’t overlooked any element.
In the age of dominant vehicle typologies and the rise in electrification, brand identity and differentiation amongst vehicle manufacturers will be paramount. The Genesis X concept proves that can be achieved through reworking a lauded vehicle typology and proportions that we all know (and love). The concept puts a fresh spin on traditional Gran Turismo luxury cues to create a fresh interpretation that is thoroughly modern in feeling and execution. It’s another strong showing from the Hyundai Motor Group.