Once upon a time, America was chock full of rear-wheel-drive (RWD) cars with beefy engines. They comfortably cruised Interstate highways and transported an entire generation of families. Most of those cars today have been replaced by front-wheel-drive sedans with turbocharged engines or all-wheel-drive car-based crossovers.
The Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are perhaps the only remaining RWD American sedans that can be had with a V8 engine. Even the all-new Lincoln Continental, once the epitome of rear-drive land yachts, will return with V6 power and either front- or all-wheel drive.
Buyers who long for a V8 RWD luxury sedan will have another option, though. They’ll just have to look toward the newest South Korean brand to get it.
The Genesis brand, Hyundai’s answer to Lexus, BMW, and Audi, will debut in the U.S. with the full-size G90 sedan, followed shortly by the more affordable G80. We don’t know when the G80 will debut, but we’re starting to hear some tantalizing tidbits.
Since the current Hyundai Genesis was redesigned for the 2015 model year, the new G80 will likely differ only slightly when it assumes its new name.
In the U.S., customers will have a choice between two different engines. The most affordable comes in the shape of a 3.8-liter V6 that will deliver 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque. For the power-hungry among us, there’s a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 offering up a more acceptable 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.
Whichever engine is chosen, it gets mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. All-wheel drive (AWD) is an option with the V6 engine only.
Going with the V8, though, will give buyers more than just power. The latest-generation Hyundai Genesis 5.0, according to one reviewer, is better in nearly every way.
The springs are stiffer to handle the extra mass. Continually variable electronic damping is included for quicker compression and less dart. Tires are now staggered from 245/45 in front to steamrolling 275/35 out back, for increased negative caster which reduces understeer. Front brake rotors, already clamped down by monoblock 4-piston fixed calipers on the Genesis 3.8L, are upsized to 14.2-inches. That’s serious Mercedes AMG E63 sizing. The steering e-assist steering is untouched, and while the ratio is fast, on-center vagueness & minimal communication holds over from the Genesis 3.8L V-6. Want to see a trick not possible in it’s less athletic sibling? Disable the Genesis 5.0’s aggressive traction control for some lurid tire spinning.
Genesis hasn’t announced when the 2017 G90 will go on sale or for how much. We’d put a safe bet on an early fall arrival, starting at around $65,000, with the G80 coming sometime later and probably starting at around $45,000.
Be sure to budget more, though, to get that tasty V8.
Would you rather have an AWD V6-powered sedan, or a rear-drive V8?