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Hyundai green light for RHD Genesis SUV

It’s go: Hyundai’s swoopy Genesis G70 four-door “coupe” – seen here in concept form – is set to lend its platform to two other models, an SUV and two-door coupe.

Large luxury SUV bound for Genesis line-up in Australia about 2018

Genesis logo29 Sep 2016

By RON HAMMERTON in PARIS

HYUNDAI management in South Korea is believed to have signed off on a right-hand-drive version of a large global SUV for its fledgling Genesis luxury brand in Australia.

The vehicle – unrelated to Hyundai’s mainstream Santa Fe family SUV – is destined to become the third model in Genesis’s Australian line-up, on the way to a five-model range by about 2020.

Based on the current Genesis rear-wheel-drive large sedan that will be renamed Genesis G80 after a facelift next year, the unnamed SUV is expected to arrive in Australia’s 30 Genesis showrooms about 2018.

Although detail is sketchy, it could be expected to go up against a raft of luxury SUVs such as BMW’s X5, Audi’s Q7, Mercedes-Benz’s GLE and the Lexus RX.

Assuming it employs the same powertrain as the Genesis sedan, it will get a 232kW 3.8-litre direct-injected petrol V6 attached to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

A petrol-electric hybrid version might also slide into the line-up, maybe using Hyundai’s 2.0-litre GDi direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine/electric motor combo that generates a combined 180kW of power and 353Nm of torque.

While the Genesis G80 sedan puts the power to the tarmac via the rear wheels, the SUV version undoubtedly will split the drive between all four wheels, but with a rear-axle bias.

The big wagon will be one of two SUVs for the Genesis range, although the second model – a smaller “near luxury” SUV about the size of BMW’s X3 and Audi’s Q5.

It will be based on the Genesis G70 sedan that GoAuto expects to break cover in final production form at the 2017 New York motor show, almost 12 months to the day after a concept for the rear-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series rival first appeared at the Big Apple’s annual show.

The four-door sedan, which has a low-slung coupe-style roof line like BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe, is scheduled to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2017 to join the facelifted G80.

Because the G70 is bound for this market, it seems a no brainer that the related SUV will get a right-hand-drive version for this country too.

The G70 is also expected to spawn a two-door sports coupe to go up against BMW’s 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class Coupe, as well as Infiniti’s Q60.

The G70 concept at New York was armed with the aforementioned hybrid powertrain, but as GoAuto has reported, a top-of-the-line twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 engine producing 272kW/510Nm is also likely to be offered in the sedan and, potentially, the coupe.

That engine has already appeared in Genesis’ South Korean flagship, the G90, that has been ruled out for Australia. No left-hand-drive version is available due to low sales volume potential, and even if it was, HMCA might not have ticked the box for the big limousine that supposedly competes against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS.

In the big G90, the turbo V6 can power the sedan to 100km/h from standstill in 6.2 seconds, so it should be quite startling in the smaller and lighter G70 and its coupe sibling.

But that is about as fast as it will get for the G70 sedan and coupe sibling, as GoAuto has been told that, contrary to some media reports, Genesis will be strictly a prestige brand and not get the go-fast N treatment that is now being applied to some Hyundai models.

The plan is to keep the Genesis and Hyundai N brands quite separate, to appeal to different markets.

While all 165 Australian Hyundai dealers will get to sell N-enhanced cars, only about 30 hand-picked dealerships will get Genesis.

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