The Start Of Something Big, Part III: The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Hyundai Genesis
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8.
If, on the day I launched TireKicker in August of 2008, I had posted that the day was coming when Hyundai would be a threat to Lexus, this blog likely would not be here today.  No one would have believed me. Credibility would have been lost on day one. I didn't believe it then. What a difference six years and three months makes.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Hyundai Genesis
2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8.
As we noted in our recent review of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0, that car threatens the flagship Lexus LS460 by being very nearly as good for about eight grand less...which puts it right about where the smaller six-cylinder Lexus GS350 usually ends up being priced with options.

Now comes the six-cylinder Hyundai Genesis 3.8.  Five horsepower more than the GS350, much more car and $9,300 less in base price.

If you just heard a loud "gulp", it's likely from Lexus' executive offices all the way over in Japan.

Sure, with a bigger car and only a 5 horsepower advantage, the Hyundai is a bit slower than the Lexus, but the difference is very small....0-60 in 5.5 for the GS350, 5.9 for the Genesis 3.8.  Fuel economy is practically identical...19 city/29 highway for the Lexus, 18 city/29 highway for the Hyundai.

Before you say "luxury cars are not about price"...just remember that Lexus got its start 25 years ago by building cars comparable to Mercedes-Benz and pricing them significantly lower.  Hyundai is turning Lexus' weapon against them with the new Genesis.

In fact, if you could bring yourself to forgo options and just take the extremely well-equipped Genesis 3.8 stock, you'd be looking at a flat $38,000....which is not only $9,300 less than the GS350, it's only $450 above Lexus' longtime entry-level sedan, the ES350 and just $1,450 more than the IS250. Short version: With the Genesis 5.0 and 3.8, Hyundai has managed to put Lexus' entire non-hybrid sedan lineup squarely in the crosshairs.

2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 interior.

Of course, base Genesis models with zero options are likely to be as rare as un-optioned Lexii. Our tester had the Signature Package (power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, integrated memory system, ventilated front seats, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, HID headlights, auto-dimming outside mirrors, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and a power rear window sunshade with manual rear-door shades) for $4,000....the Tech Package (ultra leather seats, a 7-inch LCD cluster display, power driver's seat cushion extender and side bolster, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, smart cruise control with start/stop capability, haptic steering wheel and pre-safety seatbelt, auto emergency braking, high beam assist, electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold and front and rear parking assistance) for $3,500 and the Ultimate Package (genuine matte finish wood and aluminum trim, heads-up display, power trunk lid, premium navigation with a 9.2-inch HD display, a 17-speaker Lexicon Logic 7 audio system and dual-mode vent control with CO2 sensor) for another $3,500.

That's 11 grand worth of options, but starting at $38,000, the cash register stops ringing on the sweet side of 50 grand....at an even $49,000....which is only $1,300 more than the base price of the Lexus GS350 and $7,645 less than the bottom line on the most recent one we've driven.

The only thing that should worry Lexus more than this year's two Genesis models is what Hyundai will do next.