Hyundai’s Genesis brand wants to establish itself as a luxury player to rival the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lexus, but to do that, Genesis needs to expand its lineup beyond the current range of sedans. At the 2018 New York Auto Show, Genesis teased what one of those future models might be.
The Genesis Essentia concept is an all-electric GT coupe that shows this luxury newcomer is capable of building desirable cars. Where last year’s GV80 hydrogen fuel-cell SUV concept was sensible and practical, the Essentia aims for a more emotional impact.
The sleek Essentia looks like nothing else Genesis currently makes. To tie this low-slung coupe to its less-fanciful models, Genesis gave it the “Quad Lights” from the GV80 concept, and the massive grille worn by the automaker’s current sedans. It’s a bit puzzling to see such a big grille on an electric car, which doesn’t really need one. On the a more functional note, vents behind the front wheels evacuate pressure from the wheel wells, reducing drag.
The Essentia has a race car-style carbon fiber monocoque chassis, with the battery pack housed in the central tunnel. Genesis would not say how big the battery pack is, or provide any powertrains details beyond saying the Essentia has “multiple” electric motors. Whatever powers the Essentia can propel it from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, according to Genesis.
Genesis says the Essentia isn’t fully autonomous, but it does automatically tailor everything from the seat position to the powertrain for a chosen route. An artificial intelligence system analyzes the driver’s behavior and mood, as well as respond to voice commands. The Essentia can also talk to smart homes and devices, and even other cars through vehicle-to-vehicle communication, according to Genesis.
It’s unlikely that the Genesis Essentia concept will enter production, but elements of it might do so. Genesis will get its first battery-electric production model in 2021, and some of the Essentia’s connectivity features could be adapted for production as well. But to really make an impact, Genesis could use a flagship production car that channels some of the Essentia’s style mixed in with the everyday sedans and SUVs.