Genesis is the brand you may never have heard of.
If you’re now thinking of Phil Collins then you need to re-read the above. We’re talking about premium cars from Korea, not prog-rock from Surrey.
Genesis is the luxury division of the Hyundai Motor Group – much like Lexus is to Toyota or Infiniti is to Nissan. Except posher. Much posher. So posh, in fact, that they are the official sponsors of the PGA Scottish Open – from henceforth called the “Genesis Scottish Open”.
And it was the very snazzy Renaissance Club in North Berwick that the lovely people of Genesis invited the media to take a look at their first fully-electric vehicle, the Genesis GV60.
Genesis UK Managing Director, Andrew Pilkington was on hand to answer questions and explain the ethos behind Genesis – a dealer that has no dealerships but instead, a Personal Assistant that will see you straight through your next luxury car purchase; from hitting “Purchase” on the website, right through to personally delivering the car to your door.
And that is what Genesis is all about – the personal touch. Andrew was at great pains to explain that your personal assistant is not a Sales bod. You’ve made the choices yourself from the website with no pressure from any salesperson. I must say that the website is so impressive in its detail, I did kind of expect a salesperson to start pestering me online. . . but it never happened. You get to look around at leisure and to make the right choices for you.
Genesis must also be the only car manufacturer that offers a like-for-like vehicle transported to your door for those times your car is in for servicing. Nothing is too much trouble and this is how Genesis intend to change the selling and owning experience beyond recognition. Impressive stuff. And so are the cars.
I was lucky enough to be one of the first journos to get behind the wheel of the GV60 and it was also my first time behind the wheel of any Genesis model. Which was surprising as they’ve been around since 2016.
However, although they have the likes of the GV70 luxury SUV in petrol and diesel format, with the G70 and G80 luxury saloons also similarly powered, the company intends to be fully-electric by 2025. Which isn’t far off at all, and so hence the future of Genesis begins with the fully-electric GV60.
And I think they’re off to a good start. The GV60 is striking to look at with its clamshell bonnet, flush door handles and a raked roof line. It looks muscular and those distinctive light clusters, front and back, add to the drama. It certainly stands out – especially in the Matterhorn White Matt of the press vehicles – although the Sao Paulo Lime is also a stunner.
Whichever colour you choose you’re looking at a starting price of £47,745 for the entry-level Premium model which has a single 168kW (226 bhp) motor driving the rear wheels only.
Add £6,600 and you get the Sport model with dual motors providing 314 bhp and all-wheel-drive. However, I’ve been driving the range-topping Sport Plus which costs from £66,145 on-the-road and gives you a more-than-generous 483 bhp and 700 Nm of torque, along with AWD. This model is capable of hitting 60mph in under 4 seconds and has a top speed of 146 mph.
And if you’re thinking the Tesla Model 3 could have it beat on price and outright performance then all I can say is “take a look inside the GV60 and feel the quality”. Not only does the GV60 outshine the bland Tesla on looks, it totally eclipses it on interior fit, finish and ambiance.
On entering the GV60, the first word that sprung to mind was “Bentley”. Now, I know that can be a great compliment or it can come with a huge side-order of irony/eye-rolling, but the GV60 doesn’t feel like it is trying too hard. The quality is most certainly there – everything that looks metallic is actual metal; everything that looks wooden is actual wood. There is no deception here. It’s just that winged badge and the diamond-patterned leather upholstery . . . However, it is all wrapped up with a feeling of opulence that takes your breath away. It really is that good – at a fraction of the price.
You even get a crystal-ball in the centre console that magically turns into your gear-selector when you switch on. Over the top? A little bit, but I loved it. It provides a sense of occasion we haven’t seen since Jaguar and their pop-up, rotary, gear selector.
Genesis say the interior invokes the “Beauty of White Space” which I can plainly see in the test car which has a beautiful cream interior. I think what they’re getting at is the interior is luxurious without being fussy. It feels very airy and you definitely get a sense of space. The ‘floating’ centre console adds to that feeling, as does the simple but classy climate controls sitting below the narrow air-vents.
The fully-digital dash (two 12.3in screens, side-by-side) is an impressive piece of kit with the clearest, sharpest graphics I think I’ve ever seen. My car didn’t have the digital exterior mirrors fitted – which is fine as I think the extra screens look a little fussy on the inside.
The swathes of cream may be a little too much for some – especially those with kids or pets – but the darker materials on offer are just as sumptuous; just take a look at https://www.genesis.com/uk/en/models/gv60.html and make your choice.
I didn’t get enough time to make a note of everything about the new Genesis GV60, suffice to say the rear passengers should be more than happy, although the sloping roofline may not agree with 6-footers, the boot looks fine for a couple of sets of golf clubs and everything is very well screwed together and feels top-notch.
However, what was really distracting me from my usual methodical approach to reviewing a car was the fact that I’d clocked the large, lime-green “Boost” button on the steering wheel and I was dying to get going and push it . . .
So I did. I was a little disappointed that I had to push a Start button to get going – the Volvo XC40 Recharge merely requires you select a gear to start things up and simply put the selector into “Park” to switch things off. Tsk . . .
However, once on the move the Genesis GV60 feels every ounce the luxury SUV that it is. Almost silent from the get-go (apart from the muted crunch of gravel, of course) the GV60 feels eager straight away. A light(ish) push of the impressively-styled aluminium accelerator has you whisked forward in a manner that makes you smile and immediately wonder where the nearest quiet B-road is.
I found a few of them and some dual-carriageway too. Having 483 bhp split evenly between front and rear wheels means the GV60 can pass almost anything on the road in the blink of an eye. You really don’t need that Boost button. Except for the times you want to make yourself giggle out loud, or perhaps make your passenger’s eyes bulge. It is crazily quick.
The handling felt better than expected with the all-wheel-drive making the GV60 feel stable and assured. The steering loaded up nicely and gave decent feedback, while the ride comfort was excellent without feeling wayward in the corners. First impressions were very good and I can’t wait to take one for a longer drive.
The GV60’s range is around 290 miles on a full charge of the 77.4kWh battery, while an ultra-rapid charger can get you to 80% charge in just 18 minutes.
The on-board technology and cloud-connected features probably deserve a review of their own with the likes of Electric Active Sound Design (E-ASD) technology which accentuate the car’s dynamics and provides the driver with additional feedback. It produces various virtual driving sounds through the speakers based on the driving mode, the vehicle’s speed and accelerator pedal data. Customers can choose from three sounds called Futuristic, G-Engine and E-Motor, which give the car a sound characteristic to suit different moods and driving styles. You can even explore detailed volume controls and pedal responses in the “Settings” to customise their driving experience. Yes, really . . .
Genesis actually has a Head of Noise, Vibration and Harshness; he’s called Christopher Mills and he explains: “The absence of traditional feedback provided by an internal combustion engine means that many customers come away from driving an electric car feeling that it lacks character. Our E-ASD technology provides customers with the choice to reintroduce a soundtrack to match GV60’s dynamics.”
The Genesis GV60 certainly gave a good first impression on all fronts – style, interior ambiance, quality and driveability. It looks the part and feels very special to be simply sat in, let alone drive. How the buying public will take to the on-line experience and lack of showrooms, only time will tell. It may be an Invisible Touch too far for some. However, for those happy to trade browsability for sheer excellence of service, Genesis could be a revelation.