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Genesis’ first SUV GV80 launched, threatens likes of Benz, BMW

GV80 has reasonable price, “Korean luxury” design

Hyundai Motor launched Wednesday the much-anticipated first SUV from its luxury brand Genesis, the GV80, which is expected to compete with models from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

The world’s fifth-largest automaker in terms of sales aims to sell 24,000 units of the GV80 in Korea this year, with plans to launch in North America as well. 

Genesis’ GV80 is unveiled at a ceremony at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

According to the company, the two-row GV80 was built on the brand’s first rear-wheel-drive platform, based on three key pillars: the design concept of “athletic elegance,” a simple yet comfortable interior, and an enhanced luxurious feel with various color options. 

“Based on the differentiated design and high-level technology, the GV80, which is launching today, will offer customers with safer, more convenient driving,” said Hyundai Motor CEO Lee Won-hee at the unveiling ceremony of the GV80, attended by some 300 reporters from domestic and global media outlets. 

“From now on, Genesis will create design, product quality and service that only Genesis can provide,” Lee added, in a rare appearance at a launch event for a new vehicle.

The Genesis brand, which began in 2015, has now added an SUV to its lineup previously filled with sedans. It plans to roll out the mid-sized SUV GV70 within the year and an electric vehicle by next year. The GV80 is expected to hit the US this summer. The brand has so far entered the US, the Middle East and China. 

Genesis the GV80 (Hyundai Motor Group)

Luc Donckerwolke, executive vice president of Genesis at Hyundai Motor, said, “The GV80 is the first ambassador of the Genesis’ SUV design. (It was developed) only after considering we can make it unique and recognizable during the day and night. The answer was: design starts from the brand.” 

Donckerwolke formerly designed vehicles at Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi.

In line with the sedans G70, 80 and 90, the GV80 features Genesis’ signature G-Matrix pattern -- from the front to the rear -- surrounded by high-tech slim quad lamps. 

The pattern -- inspired by the reflection of diamonds when illuminated by light -- was also applied to the edges of 22-inch wheels and the car’s interior. 

Albert Biermann, chief of Hyundai Motor’s research and development, said the GV80 was developed to “exceed expectations.”

“We developed GV80 by looking at how Genesis’ DNA can differentiate our very first SUV -- because it was Genesis’ first and foremost SUV,” he said.

Interior of the GV80 (Hyundai Motor Group)

The interior of the GV80 is minimal, comprising a reduced number of intuitive, simple physical buttons and a rotary dial gear selector. This was inspired by the Korean traditional concept of the “beauty of white space,” the company said. 

In addition, the GV80’s horizontal infotainment screen has newly adopted a liquid-crystal display touchpad and an upgraded infotainment system, including artificial reality-based navigation, Genesis car-pay and an enhanced voice recognition function.

As for safety functions, Genesis has included center-side airbags, (level-two) highway driving assist II, smart cruise control-machine learning, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, driver attention warning, forward attention warning and forward collision-avoidance assist. 

While the GV80 will go on sale starting with the 6-cylinder 3.0-liter diesel engine model, the carmaker said it will later launch the model with 2.5-liter gasoline turbo and 3.5-liter gasoline turbo engines.

The diesel model has a maximum of 278 horsepower and up to 60 kilogram-meter torque. 

From left: Hyundai Motor Executive Vice President Chang Jae-hoon, Hyundai’s research and development chief Albert Biermann, Hyundai Motor CEO Lee Won-hee, Genesis’ Executive Vice President Luc Donckerwolke, Genesis’ global head Lee Yong-woo and Hyundai Design Center chief Lee Sang-yup attend the unveiling of the Genesis GV80 in Ilsan on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The GV80’s price starts from 65.8 million won. The customized program Your Genesis allows customers to select options on their own -- including the engine, number of seats, wheel, 11 exterior colors and five interior colors -- allowing more than 100,000 combinations of options. 

The program will be extended to sedans in the future, the company added. 

The price range of the GV80 is lower than similar models from other global brands. Mercedes-Benz’s GLE starts from around 90 million won, while the BMW X5 begins from around 100 million won and the Audi Q7 at around 80 million won. 


By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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