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Hyundai Genesis


Alfa Romeo Giulia

Summary

Hyundai Genesis

Anybody who doubts that Hyundai is gunning for the number one in the world has rocks in their head. Big heavy ones. Korean companies do not settle for anything less than number one. The second-generation Genesis (our first taste here in the Antipodes as the gen-one had its steering wheel on the wrong side) is proof.

What's different about Hyundai's unstoppable rise is the way they're going about it. They've always done their own thing in Korea, reinventing themselves time and again when they strayed off the beaten path.

The Genesis is a gamble for a Korean company in foreign markets whose default setting for luxury is marked, Britain or Germany. If Hyundai gets the Genesis wrong there will be howls of derision, or at best patronising pats on the back - "Nice try, you'll get there one day". But if they get it right...

Safety rating
Engine Type3.8L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency11.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Alfa Romeo Giulia

You know how in the movie Rocky III Rocky Balboa has become all rich and successful, but unfit and he can’t really box to save himself.

Then the young maniac boxer James 'Clubber' Lang (awesomely played by Mr T) challenges him to a fight and his trainer tells him he’ll lose, but he fights him anyway, and gets knocked out.

But then he asks for a rematch, and Rocky trains hard and makes a comeback to beat Lang. Well that never happens. If it was the real world Rocky would have been beaten again.

Alfa Romeo is a bit like Rocky. The Italian carmaker used to be unbeatable in speed and looks – it won the first ever Formula One Grand Prix in 1950.

Alfas were drop dead gorgeous too, but then - like Rocky - things started to go downhill. It got successful, unfit and old. Yes, occasionally there were flashes of the genius we once knew, but if a car maker takes enough hits there’s every chance it will never get up again. Alfa Romeo had become a joke. It hurts to write that.

But there’s a big difference between Rocky and Alfa because a car maker can start afresh, build a fighter with a new body, more powerful fuel-pumping heart, stronger bones and given the right trainer it could become formidable.

Well that’s what Alfa hopes. The fighter’s name is Giulia. The trainer is Roberto Fedeli. The story goes that the head of Fiat Chrysler Sergio Marchionne could see Alfa was circling the plughole and called in the only person he felt that might just have a chance of being able to reach in and save it before it went down.

That was Ferrari’s chief engineer Fedeli. Told to fix it or look for a new job, Fedeli reckoned it was possible, but he needed some money…five billion Euros in fact. Oh, and he’d need a team… of 800 designers and engineers. He wasn’t mucking around.

When the Giulia made its world entrance in 2016 the star of the range – the hardcore Giulia Quadrifoglio (or QV for short) stepped into the ring dripping in carbon fibre with an engine that had Ferrari’s finger prints all over it and mouthing off about having just set the new lap record at the Nurburgring.

It’s mission is to lead Alfa Romeo’s comeback… and slay BMW’s M3 on the way there.

Now, we recently had the chance to drive the new Giulia Quadrifoglio on a track and it made us so happy you could tell we were grinning even though our helmet. But what is it like to drive on the road? We found out at its Australian launch. How did it handle the real world? Does it have what it takes to beat the M3 and Mercedes-Benz’s C63 S? More importantly is it enough to save Alfa Romeo?

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Hyundai Genesis8.6/10

The Genesis is not quite a match for cars twice its price but it makes you think what's possible. It doesn't have the dynamic brilliance of a BMW or the self-assured faultless execution of a Mercedes. Lexus ought to be worried, though - why would you have an LS when you could have this? The only answer is 'badge'.

The Genesis is an epoch-making car for the Korean manufacturer. As the company has got better, there are fewer excuses for overlooking it. While the Genesis is pitched into a shrinking market, it's not really meant for the average i30 buyer to buy, but to see.

It's bristling with tech and is not only a halo car but a shot across the bows of both Lexus and the Germans. Attached to that shot is a note: "We're coming for you." In other words, Hyundai got it right.


Alfa Romeo Giulia8.6/10

Absolutely stunning – both to drive and in looks. This is a monster, but one you can live with safely and practically. Proper rear seats, a proper boot and proper performance. A quality feeling package that feels more than a bit Ferrari but entirely Alfa Romeo. It does everything the M3 can. This looks very much to be a prize fighter that will lead Alfa Romeo’s comeback.

Comment call to action: Do you reckon the Giulia Quadrifoglio will make Alfa the next big thing? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Design

Hyundai Genesis8/10

The Genesis is like no other Hyundai. For a start, it's gigantic - it looks easily as big as a BMW 7 Series (it isn't) with the road presence to match. There's a lot of BMW from most directions, but with a sharper approach to the creasing and character of the sheet metal.

Towards the rear it's more BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and is all the better for it. The style is understated and technocratic.

The big wheels from the Ultimate pack help make it look lower and sleeker, too.

Inside is also very Germanic, but with a bit more of a Lexus feel. Our car had the lighter leather which meant that the wood and the metal materials didn't necessarily work well together.

The interior is expertly put together and feels like it will last forever.

The only jarring moment is the gear selector is shared with our long-term Hyundai i30 - it looked a bit cheap in what is otherwise a beautifully executed cabin - it needs more heft.

On Australian-delivered cars there is just one Hyundai badge, sitting proudly on the boot - you get the feeling this was debated long and hard and when the decision was made to go for it, a big one was chosen.

However, the winged Genesis branding takes pride of place everywhere else. When you approach the car at night and the puddle lamps come on, the Genesis logo is projected on to the ground, crisp and clear.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

With its long, nostrilled bonnet, high roofline, short tail and almost no overhangs to mention there’s more than a sniff of BMW 3 Series going on. That’s no bad thing – its intentions are clear.

It’s actually smaller than the M3. The dimensions reveal that at 4639mm the Giulia Quadrifoglio is 32mm shorter end to end than the Beemer, but only 4mm narrower at 1873mm in width and just 2mm taller at 1426mm.

The Giulia is light at 1585kg thanks to the driveshaft, roof, bonnet, front splitter, plus the rear spoiler and side skirts being made of carbon fibre. Meanwhile the engine, suspension, brakes doors and wheel arches are all aluminium.

Inside, the cabin swallows you up in stitched leather, there’s a dash that that swoops and curves in front you and holds the impressive display screen. Many Alfa cabin traits are there such as the driver-orientated controls which tend to make the front passenger feel like, well just a front passenger.

Under all of this is an entirely new platform called Giorgio – it’s scalable like Volkswagen’s MQB. This means the Giulia is just one of the cars to be based on it – the Stelvio SUV also uses it and Alfa says there are more to come.

Practicality


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

I don’t normally fit Alfa Romeos because I have Viking ancestry and don’t come from a land where the people have short legs and long arms. So as much as I’ve liked driving Alfas, when I do my legs are cramped and yet I feel too far from the wheel.

Not so in the Giulia, everything feels the right distance away. And the pedals, which in other Alfas are far too close and cause me to constantly hit the brake and accelerator at the same time just because my feet aren’t like a ballerina’s are a proper distance apart. Not once did I embarrass myself with my ‘brakcellator’ trick.

Room in the back is excellent – it’s a four seater and even at 191cm I can sit behind my own driving position with a good three fingers space between my knees and the seatback.

Boot space is also excellent and matches the M3’s 480 litres.

Storage inside is good in some places – such as wide the centre console storage bin, but not so great in others – the door pockets are only enough for small bottle and there only two cupholders – they’re in the front.

Price and features

Hyundai Genesis9/10

The only way to describe the Genesis' pricing is aggressive - kicking off at $60,000, it's the most expensive Hyundai money can buy, but with a spec list like this, you won't feel at all short-changed.

Your sixty large buys you a huge cabin with a seventeen speaker stereo, auto headlights and wipers, LED ambient lighting inside and out, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, powered front seats which are heated and cooled, satnav, front and rear parking sensors, and plenty of other bits and pieces.

Our car had the $22,000 Ultimate package, adding 19-inch alloys, blind spot sensor, front and side cameras, around-view display, real leather, more adjustments for the driver's seat, ventilated seats in the front, heated rear seats, panoramic glass sunroof, acoustic glass, heads-up display, powered bootlid and LED foglamps.

You can have a lot of the more useful features in the $11,000 Sensory Pack. It's a good middle ground that, for example, features the excellent heads-up display.

The 9.2-inch screen splits the asymmetric air-conditioning vents. The software is unique to the Genesis and a huge leap forward over the rest of the Hyundai range - classy, smooth graphics, a good responsive screen.

You control the seventeen speaker stereo from here, which kicks out a rich sound and an impressive Bluetooth performance - rear seat passengers can also run the stereo from their armrest. The satnav is detailed and chatty, while the excellent heads-up display shows a configurable information set in strong, clear graphics.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

The Quadrifoglio is the king of the Giulia range and lists at a right royal $143,900. Sounds like a fair bit of coin, but it undercuts the M3 Competition’s $144,615 and C63 S’s $155,510.

Standard features are excellent – there’s the 8.8-inch display, 14-speaker Harman Kardon 900w sound system, the carbon fibre bonnet, roof, side skirts and rear spoiler and carbon fibre interior trim, leather and Alcantara upholstery, the steering wheel with starter button, quad exhaust tips, aero curtain on the front bumper, active aero splitter, rear diffuser, B-Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-high beam, aluminium pedals and advanced safety equipment which we’ll tell you about, too.

Engine & trans

Hyundai Genesis9/10

The Genesis is powered by Hyundai's own 3.8-litre V6 developing 232kW and 397Nm, mated to Hyundai's eight-speed automatic transmission.

Despite weighing just under two tonnes, the Genesis completes the dash to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds.

It has a claimed 11.2L/100km on the combined cycle. In what must be a first, we got below that, averaging 10.8L/100km over two weeks. And that's without stop-start fuel-saving to blunt the effect of lot of city driving.

We'd still like to try the V8 - only available in left-hand drive markets - though.


Alfa Romeo Giulia10/10

When it comes to six cylinder engines it’s hard to beat an inline six – the balance is near perfect, they scream and BMW’s delivers its power beautifully.

The Giulia has a V6. It’s a 2.9-litre twin turbo that makes more power than the M3’s 331kW at 375kW and also more torque at 600Nm.

It is a potent power plant and Alfa won’t say it too loudly, but with the same bore and stroke as the V8 in Ferrari California T it’s pretty much the same thing only with two cylinders chopped off.

Sending all that grunt to the rear wheels is an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission – I have pictures of this transmission on my fridge – it’s in a lot of cars and I am yet to find another road car transmission I like more.

A claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds beats the M3 by 0.2 seconds.

Fuel consumption


Alfa Romeo Giulia7/10

Alfa Romeo says the Giulia Quadrifoglio should drink Premium Unleaded at a combined rate of 8.2L/100km. It should, but it won’t if you drive it like we did. Let’s just say after 400km and starting with a full tank the fuel light came on.

Driving

Hyundai Genesis8/10

At five metres long, with a ride firmly pitched in the luxury camp, the Genesis is not going to tempt you into a track day, even with rear wheel drive.

Blindfold your passengers and swap them between a Lexus, a BMW and a Genesis and the overwhelming impression they'll get is one of incredible smoothness.

Sitting in the back of the Genesis, it's easily as good as the German and luxury Japanese competition. The seats are hugely comfortable, there's ample head, leg and shoulder room and it feels lot nicer than anything within a bull's roar of its price.

No matter where you sit, it's an incredibly quiet car. The engine is a distant whoosh, the tyre noise muted and there's almost no wind or ambient noise. It's supremely comfortable and the excellent stereo will wash away what little noise does invade.

It certainly feels its weight from the driver's seat, with a competent, soft turn-in, but if you're wanting sudden movements, this isn't the car for you.

On fast flowing roads you can have some fun, but things will get floaty and that will quickly kill that fun. The ride and isolation from the rest of the world is completely worth it.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

Starting in the Giulia with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes ($13,000) and the equally optional carbon fibre sports buckets ($7150) we joined Port Macquarie’s peak-hour traffic. Those anchors felt ‘doughy’ first thing in that cool morning and it wouldn’t be until they had some serious heat in them that they’d start to come to life. That wouldn’t be long because we were heading for the hills where great roads waited. But it gave us a good chance to drive this car in ‘normal’ conditions.

Straight away that ride felt so comfortable, so soft even that I was worried it affect handling later. I’d just got out of testing a BMW M3 which feel rock hard even on a ‘soft’ suspension setting. Steering was one-finger light. The dash is high, the window sills are high, the Recaros felt tight.

As we trundled down the main street that V6 gurgled deeply in third gear – that didn’t sound like any V6 I’d driven lately. Coming out of a roundabout and a gear change back to second and the V6 stirred louded but kept its throaty roar – this was special. Dabbing the accelerator the nose lifted up. This thing wanted to go. It felt light, ‘pointable’. Everything felt light – from the accelerator pedal to the steering and body weight. It was happy to stay on the leash.  Well behaved, patient.

As we left the city behind I clicked the drive mode from ‘Natural’ into Dynamic and with heat now in the brakes decided to see what $5 billion euros and 800 engineers and designers felt like.

With acceleration so hard each shift upwards felt like a punch in the back. Those turbos are wound up with 35psi of boost it’s not until second gear that it rushed it then it’s time to for third and fourth. Using those giant paddles it’s hard to shift fast enough to keep up.

The only thing more impressive than the acceleration are those ceramic brakes – we’re talking 100km/h- 0 in 38.5 metres.

Swapping into a Giulia Quadrifoglio with standard brakes and seats I found stopping power was still impressive – those seats actually more comfortable for me.

As we scrambled through the tightest corners through the bush heading higher and higher it became clear that this was different from the M3. The BMW feels harder, firmer, more planted. But the Quadrifoglio was just as adept but did it in a softer more flowing fashion. It’s was agile, changing direction as easily as you could think it.

Also changing direction in the front splitter – it’s active meaning it moves up or down depending on when you need the extra down force.

It’s more powerful than the M3 and you can feel it – it’s wilder, less serious and slightly crazy, but smoother and softer in its suspension – there were times we scuffed the front splitter in dips.

There’s road noise – lots of it on the course chip. That is probably the only complaint. That and visibility front and side is hampered by the thickness and placement of the A and B pillars. The indicators are confusing and hard to stop indicating… but these are small things.

At full roar the Quadrifoglio bellows likes it has so much more to give, the M3 screams into battle.

Both are so so good, and do the same job, but differently.

Safety

Hyundai Genesis9/10

Nine airbags, traction and stability control, lane departure warning, forward collision control, ABS, brake force assist and distribution and traction and stability control bring the ANCAP count to five stars.

The Sensory and Ultimate packs add blind spot sensors and around view cameras.


Alfa Romeo Giulia9/10

The left-hand drive version of the Giulia Quadrifoglio has scored the maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating, which is yet to be recognised by ANCAP. There's so much more than a reversing camera too, with active cruise control, AEB, lane keeping and rear cross traffic warning and auto high beam. 

There’s two top tethers and two ISOFIX points in the back seat.

Ownership


Alfa Romeo Giulia7/10

A three-year/150,000km warranty covers the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Servicing is recommended at 12 month/15,000km intervals and Alfa Romeo has a pre-paid plan available for owners.