The Genesis X Could Be Something Special

The grand tourer is fading. With the all-electric X concept, Genesis has the chance to re-invent the category for a new generation.

genesis x concept
Genesis

The grand tourer is fading. In a world where Aston Martin is focusing on mid-engined performance cars and BMW's range-topping M8 Competition struggles to justify its astronomical price point, there is little room left for a car that puts experience over performance. What little market space for experiential luxury is left often falls instead to ultra-high-end crossovers and futuristic electric sedans. A third segment, a sort of entry level supercar that looks to compete with the entire 911 range in one entry, has created platforms like the Mercedes AMG GT and the Acura NSX, replacing what little space was left for adventurous manufacturers looking to join the grand touring race.

All of this makes for less-than-ideal conditions for the creation of a new grand touring car. The treasures that do slip through, like the Ferrari Roma and Lexus LC500, are almost throwbacks, cars that use ultra-modern styling to harken back to what a grand tourer was in open defiance to the many directions the automotive world has been heading in over the past half-decade. The most notable exception, the hybrid-only Polestar 1, is ultra-limited by design, and restricted to such a small production run that it could never become a market leader in its own right. The category's status as a beloved dinosaur means that grand touring, as a concept, has been left out of a revolution.

Hyundai, of all companies, might be the automotive group to change that. The lineup of their relatively young Genesis brand is packed with excellent cars, but it lacks the name recognition of any of the entrenched German luxury marques, the Japanese premium operations born from the 90s, and the young, tech-focused electric start-ups shaking up the industry. What the brand has is a lineup of compelling cars that can easily be ignored even by a buyer within their segment. To get to the next level, what Genesis needs is a car that stands above all of it and demands respect. A range-topper that can act as both a halo car and a category originator.

Enter the Genesis X. Just as the LC500 combined a decade of Lexus style cues into a car shaped entirely around them, the X takes the Genesis brand's massive corporate face and signature two-bar light features to their logical conclusion. Like the Polestar 1 before it, the result is a stunning GT concept designed more to show how elegant the company's design language can be when unrestrained. Unlike those cars, however, the future of the Genesis X is wide open.

No production plans have been announced for the Genesis X. As of now, it is simply a design concept, and plenty of memorable design concepts have proven to be nothing more than that. We never got a Mazda RX-VISION, and, after two years of radio silence since the first hopes of production, it seems entirely possible that the Essentia concept, the X's Genesis show car predecessor, could suffer the same fate. If Genesis is serious about its future, the Genesis X cannot fade in the same way.

No serious details were announced when the car was shown earlier this week, but Genesis made clear that the X is, at least in theory, fully electric. Around the same time, corporate partners Kia revealed the specs of their EV6 GT, a production-ready electric car reaching 577 horsepower. If Genesis wants to produce the X, that level of power is a perfect match.

The Genesis X does not need to be the fastest electric car in the world. It does not need to be the most efficient, the most expensive, or even the most luxurious. All the Genesis X needs is a chance to stand out.

It has been eleven years since Mercedes first experimented with an all-electric grand tourer based on their SLS AMG, and four since Polestar revealed the final form of its flagship hybrid GT. Neither were sold in serious numbers, and neither ever had the chance to linger in a showroom to be seen by an average buyer. If the Genesis X gets that chance, it could be the first all-electric grand tourer to reach something close to mass production.

Whether production happens in the form of the X or 2018's Essentia concept, Genesis has the chance to re-define the grand tourer for a new decade. Genesis has already produced its share of great cars, but the opening at the top of their lineup is their chance to define a brand in desperate need of a definition. The company has big ambitions, and an all-electric grand tourer is their best chance yet to shoot for the moon.

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