Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 - Short Take Road Test

Lighter and more spry than its big brother.

On a street in Ann Arbor, a college-age Wolverine yelled at a C/D staffer getting into this Hyundai Genesis 3.8. "Is that a May-back?" he hollered, mispronouncing the name of the Benz supercruiser.

Without missing a beat, the staffer replied loudly, "No, and it cost less than your Tour-egg." The student struggled, like most, to place the borrowed exterior styling elements of this Korean newcomer. His mental clock having expired, the kid retreated toward campus. Little did he know he was drooling over one of the best-kept secrets in the luxury-sedan market, the six-cylinder Genesis.

With a base price of $33,000, the Genesis 3.8 undercuts similarly sized rear-drive cars from Europe and Japan. Likewise, it costs almost $4600 less than a Chrysler 300C, although the 3.8 can be had for about the same money as a Pontiac G8 GT. Either of those will get you V-8 power, but neither will deliver a level of luxury equal to that of the Genesis 3.8. We highly recommend the $3000 Premium Plus package. It includes a supple leather dash and a 14-speaker audio system, two options neither of the aforementioned American alternatives offers.

Then again, the G8 and the 300C will outrun this Genesis at a drag strip. Still, the 290-hp Korean is no slouch, getting from 0 to 60 in six seconds flat. In fact, that's the identical time we got with a V-8–powered Genesis 4.6 [October 2008], and the overachieving V-6 a Genesis also matched the 375-hp V-8 model through the quarter-mile, at 14.5 seconds. The power deficit of the 3.8 model's V-6 is only evident on the highway, where wide-open-throttle passes leave the driver yearning for more.

The EPA says the 3.8 V-6 is good for 18 mpg in the city (1 mpg better than the V-8) and 27 on the highway (2 mpg more). In our hands, it managed a decent 20 mpg.

And consider this: The 3.8's ride is as good as, if not better than, the 4.6's. The V-6 not only experiences less suspension crash than the V-8 but feels lighter and more spry. That is most likely because the 3845-pound V-6 model weighs some 200-plus pounds less than the V-8 model.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $36,000 (base price: $33,000)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 231 cu in, 3778cc
Power (SAE net): 290 bhp @ 6200 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 264 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting

Wheelbase: 115.6 in Length: 195.9 in Width: 74.4 in Height: 58.3 in
Curb weight: 3845 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 6.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 15.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 32.4 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 6.4 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 14.5 sec @ 97 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 165 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.86 g

EPA city/highway driving: 18/27 mpg
C/D observed: 20 mpg

BY K.C. COLWELL CarandDriver.com

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