Three may be a crowd, but what a mosh pit…
On seeing the three Genesis concept line up, my initial reaction stopped me in my tracks. I saw modernity, striking lines, a confidence so lacking in many a competitor, but also a lineage, a history – well almost. Regardless of the brand’s short lived UK presence, centred upon ‘That London’, these potential people movers embody for this author, on screen at least, desirability above all else.
In Genesis parlance, “A beauty of innovation visualised by design” is a bold enough statement I choose not to argue with. Not wanting to disparage their earlier attempts – the 2017 GV80, Essentia from 2018, the 2019 Mint or their initial 2016 New York – all were interesting but wide of the X mark.
‘The Hidden Hero’ could well be Sang Yup Lee’s username but is however the Genesis way of promoting their ultimate vision of Athletic Elegance. The hue on the X is inspired by Brazilian lagoons which form only during the rainy season and is named Lançóis Blue, favouring the robust athleticism nicely. The grille might upset some, though when on the move it lends a more Bentley-esque persuasion, along with a Crewe-resembling badge – your scribe still happy so far.
Remaining front – now off centre, yet continuing along the flanks – the headlamps, their correct allusion being to that of Go Faster Stripes. In defence of these, they are resolute; arresting; diametric; effective. The X has an elegant overall length, an abrupt but pleasing rear; the coalescing lines above the rear haunch, including the digital side mirrors of elfin slimness. Throw in those tasteful alloys, while you’re at it. Inside appears snug with its upcycled materials and floating centre console. “The beauty of white space,” appears mainly tan.
Other coupés sleep with resentment as we sashay over to the admittedly crass-sounding Speedium Coupé where Genesis pin their hopes that emotions will continue to drive us in the electric age. They also believe the Speedium, from now on renamed the Middle Son, contains more progressive elements over the X – let’s delve deeper.
For those ambivalent regarding the X grille, Middle Son deletes the 3D metal for a more bluff visage, the Go Faster Stripes now forming the company’s crest. Oranges and apples here. Both variants suit the methodology for this observer. Maybe the difference is colour. This being Middle Son from a very forward thinking family, daubing any old green on the bodywork simply won’t do. This is Inje Green, inspired by a Korean racetrack’s mountainous vegetation. As fetching as the Lançóis Blue, thank the Korean gods Genesis didn’t chose grey, black or silver.
In such a shade, Middle Son could be mistaken for a vehicle emanating from Gaydon. And whilst that brand teeters on both financial and reputational cliff edges, Middle Son wants nothing more but to tear down walls and fly. Tradition is fine but there’s little wrong with a resemblance of tradition with cohesive freshness. Side-on views hint at Panamera. Positive. Genesis are deliberate with their ‘anti-wedge’ streamlined looks, the parabolic front to rear line lending the car a classic look from seventy or more years back. Impressive.
Inside remains similar to X – why not save a little Korean Won, but we leave behind tan for Monterey Gold surrounding the Pinegrove Green seats, appearing black on screen. Primarily driver oriented controls, one leans more toward the X interior but this is purely through the hues alone.
Placing X and Middle Son together forms a tangled web of intrigue. Days, weeks even may pass before deciding on which to choose. But then comes the hammer blow: the Convertible X. That first impressions count is a given in this account. The Convertible is an achingly beautiful vehicle. Should the stars align with a multitude of extraneous factors, the Iron Mark would be ousted. Forget any other brand, too. Although not normally a fan of a white convertible, what has swayed my desires?
Firstly, the clean execution. With the hardtop roof down, pure as the driven snow. Of course this is not simply white but Crane White, the feathered creature resembling sanctity and nobility in Korean culture. As it stands, this lifts my senses but one is always interested in seeing other pigments; gold along with those from the X and Middle Son.
Cleanliness is obviously next to the Cheshire located Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope where the wheels appear to have been styled from. Yes, a concept needs frippery to stand out but these delight the soul. Maintaining their neatness would be a thankless task but at least the aliens would have something to behold on landing nearby. Those blue brake calipers might assist their tractor beam lock as well.
As for locking, the anthracite roof appears on screen to sprout in as much fold into position but once up the angles are purposefully poised. Surface tension features heavily in the Genesis positing. The XC is more Bentley than the Cheshire Clan. For a show vehicle this is understatement personified. If Middle Son and X could enthral me while seated with beverage and quality music, the XC would inspire an attempt to use canvas and oils – or have me kicked out from under Chief Creative Officer, Luc Donckerwolke’s feet for gawping too long.
Avoiding Luc’s inevitably trendy footwear by heading inside, roof down we see another colour scheme change. Giwa Navy is not the Korean fleet but that of traditional roof tiles. Blended with Dancheong Orange for stitching (yet more Korean building materials) offers a gratifying plaid effect. The drive by wire crystal ball dominates the console. Flipping between gears and jewellery, will any of the concepts reach maturity?
Turn it on, again… The Koreans have surprised us with several concepts now available on the UK market, Genesis currently exist only online. A selfish decision would be to order the XC today but in all reality a fifty something suffering middle age spread would look incongruous in such a silent, efficient machine. Drivers of such vehicles should be attractive, chiselled and exuding an aura, much akin to the cars.
I would be delighted to see any of these concepts barrel through my purlieu. Sadly as UK driving conditions become ever more legislated against, expensive and let’s face it, boring, can Genesis create the necessary openings to succeed?
In a land of confusion, an invisible touch might just work…
16 thoughts on “And Then There Were Three”
Luc Donckervolke has a history of designing great cars, the Audi A2 and Lamborghinis Murcielago and Gallardo being some of the early ones. He is certainly a master of form.
There’s more than a touch of the BMW 850 coupé about the X, and, the Genesis Coupé and Convertibles are what Bentleys should really look like.
I don’t like the gimmicky grille and light show on the two-door cars, it looks like a scout wearing their scarf the wrong way round, but otherwise I am also impressed.
This was an enjoyable romp around the subject, just please don’t ask me (or Andrew) to pun any more Genesis references.
We’re alway told that our cars look so awful because of the tastes in China.
Now we again see cars from China that look like the ones we make should.
Isn’t Genesis South Korean? The products of Hyundai and Kia usually get positive critiques as far as the design is concerned.
Genesis is Korean (Hyundai’s equivalent of Lexus or Infiniti) but your point still stands. NIO, XPeng, Jidu and others are all creating tasteful and attractive designs.
Outside of their SUV/pickup obsession some US brands seem to be finding their way again (the Cadillac Celestiq and Buick Wildcat were two of my favourites from last year), as are Japan brands (Mazda, some of Honda’s new designs and Toyota’s new Prius). European brands seem to be lagging behind, with designs that are either too messy and tasteless (BMW, DS) or blander than they used to be (VW/Skoda/SEAT). I guess Volvo/Polestar and some Opel and Peugeot designs are exceptions to this.
Korea seems to be leading the way by far. Just about every design Hyundai/Kia/Genesis have released recently has something notable about it. These Genesis cars also demonstrate very well the importance of proportion (obviously achieved more easily as they are concepts). The only areas I think don’t quite work are the lower front air dams…they are more subtle than many (hello BMW) but still overdone compared to the rest of each car. The illuminated grilles on the Speedium and the Convertible are a bit unnecessary, but I have no problem with the striped lights or C-pillar detail – for me this is equivalent to kidney grilles, Hofmeister kinks etc. Also the softly scalloped rears on all three cars are lovely.
Genesis is part of Hyundai/Kia from South Korea, close to China, but not China.
Agreed that the cultures of China, South Korea and Japan are all different (and in a country as huge as China, regional tastes will vary too), so we can’t produce a catch-all snapshot of ‘Far-Eastern Taste’. However, until reasonably recently, Korean design was conservative and unremarkable, yet now it isn’t. Did the Korean people suddenly change, or did designers just stop being complacent?
There are doubtless unimaginative, tasteless and self-important people in China, as in any country. Decent design might aim to filter out their extreme requirements. It would be interesting to know how western companies researched their assumptions about the requirements of the Chinese market. Was it old fashioned and discredited customer clinics? Was it feedback from their local market associates? Or was it just western preconceptions?
Or is it just “to hell with it, it’s far easier and more fun designing incoherent baroque clutterboxes than all that tasteful Ulm stuff, but if anyone asks let’s blame market tastes”
“to hell with it, it’s far easier and more fun designing incoherent baroque clutterboxes than all that tasteful Ulm stuff, but if anyone asks let’s blame market tastes”
That made me laugh…wish I’d written it! 😁
In no way did I intend to suggest Korea and China were equal.
I dimply assumed that Genesis were Chinese because I have no general interest in this type of car and just liked its design.
Isn’t Peter Schreyer working for Kia?
Good morning Andrew and thanks for bringing us these concepts. They are all nice, clean and confident designs in the round. The ‘heraldic shield’ grille still looks a bit contrived to my eyes and I don’t like the way the front light bar stops dead at the leading edge shut-line to the doors. I would stop it earlier (or run it into the door skins) with an oblique cut-off like the rear light bar. That’s just a minor criticism and they all put the current BMW 8-Series to shame.
These are so much nicer looking than most of the line up from other premium manufacturers. I’d be all over these in a heartbeat.
The ‘X’ is indeed wonderful, but wonderful is so much easier to achieve when you are not restricted by the width of ordinary roads and ordinary parking spaces.
I must admit I knew nothing about Genesis until Tiger Woods crashed ‘his’ one….
Very interesting – thank you, Andrew.
My first thought on seeing the green one (Speedium) was Aston Martin. I also see quite a lot of modern Hyundai themes in these vehicles and that’s no bad thing.
There seems also to be an almost Art Deco feeling to some of the detailing and that’s okay, as long as it isn’t overdone.
It’s been a while since I last sashayed.
These are quite wonderful. I’m not up to date enough to know how many Hyundai/Kia/Genesis designers are ‘refugees’ from Europe and the US and how many are home grown, but in Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke, they certainly have a couple of stars. I cannot help but wonder also if it has to do with corporate culture, which seems more optimistic instead of resembling the headless chicken at the Viercilinder.
Speaking of corporate culture, hopefully it’s a long way away from the days when George Turnbull took some technical drawings of the Marina with him and had Giugiaro do a new design for it.
Hi Tom. DTW covered the origins and early history of Hyundai here:
These latest Genesis concepts are ravishingly gorgeous, and I think it would be smart of them to try a limited run type of deal for a production model version as Polestar did with the 1. It generated a lot of good press for the young brand yet limiting the number of cars produced helped induce demand and prevented the stigma of ‘paying >$150k for a hybrid Volvo’. Whether or not Polestar can maintain its design and engineering momentum remains to be seen, but considering Genesis already has a very competitive set of CUVs out (at least for American tastes) it would seem apropos for them to pull a publicity stunt like that to heighten consumer awareness.