This Could Be The Start Of Something Big: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Hyundai Genesis
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0.
The story on Hyundai the past few years has been how quickly it has roared up onto Toyota's rear bumper...from the butt of more than a few jokes (Rodney King was widely presumed innocent in car circles because his Hyundai couldn't possibly have been going 110 to 115 miles per hour as the California Highway Patrol had claimed) to a serious contender.

Now, the 2015 Genesis 5.0 makes a case for the brand having done the same to Toyota's luxury division, Lexus.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Hyundai Genesis
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0.
Yes, this is where you read that the flagship of the Hyundai line, the Equus, didn't quite have the chops to go toe-to-toe with the Lexus LS460.  Maybe in five years, we said, but not today.  What we didn't know four months ago was what Hyundai was cooking up one model lower in the lineup...the 2015 Genesis 5.0.

Ten thousand dollars less than the Equus, 21 grand lower than the LS460.  Clearly better than the Equus. And if it's not as good as or better than the LS460, it's sure not $21,000 worse. The Lexus-like lines and Aston-inspired snout give the car incredible presence.  And the best part of it is that $51,500 buys you a complete car, with a 420-horsepower V8 mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters that still delivers 15 city/23 highway and a huge list of standard features too long to list here (but not here).

Interior view of 2015 Hyundai Genesis
2015 Hyundai Genesis interior.
Our tester had only one extra-cost option, the Ultimate Package, adding navigation, a 9.2-inch high-definition display, an upgraded Lexicon 17-speaker surround sound audio system, continuous damping control suspension, a power trunk lid and dual-mode vent control with a CO2 sensor. Package price: $3,250. Bottom line: $55.,700.

It's an LS460 competitor for loaded GS350 money (and the GS has its own worries, since there's also a 311-horsepower V6 version of the 2015 Genesis that starts at an even $38,000...nine grand less than the 306-horsepower GS). And yes, it carries Hyundai's legendary 10 year/100,000 mile warranty.

So, as we've said, in half a decade, Hyundai has gone from joke to serious contender.  Is status symbol next?  And if this is the Genesis....what will the next-gen Equus be like?