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Car and Driver: Invisible Touch: Genesis Still Debating Which Model Will Be First To Get Performance Version (It Won’t Be an SUV)

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2017 Genesis G90 badgeAs one of the busiest men in the auto industry, Albert Biermann must sometimes struggle to remember which of his many hats he is wearing. The former BMW M development boss is now responsible for vehicle testing and high-performance models across the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands, managing a team of 1300 engineers and dozens of forthcoming models.

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But while we’ve been heard about the arrival of Hyundai’s go-fast-ified N models in the U.S., plus plans for a wave of sporty Kia GT variants, things have been noticeably quieter on plans for tuned versions of forthcoming Genesis models. This is, it transpires, because there’s still some major internal debate as to which of the new family should receive the treatment first.

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“On the Genesis lineup, the whole thing is still in discussion,” Biermann told us on a visit to Hyundai’s Namyang engineering center. “Before [the lineup is] fixed, we’re not making any decisions on performance cars—the lineup needs to be clear, and it’s still moving and fluid.”

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According to Biermann, the issue is both deciding which order performance Genesis models will be created, but also whether they will be built with conventional engines or as hybrids: “The road map for the next three or four years is clear, but at some point you have to make sure that, with future mobility and all the emissions targets, that you have the technology out there. A lot of discussion is going on about the timing of switching away from pure internal combustion to hybrid or plug-in hybrid. That’s the same for the high-performance applications.”

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Yet although there are going to be at least two Genesis SUV models, it doesn’t seem that either is likely go get an ultra-fast version. “I don’t think there are really customers out there,” Biermann said. “You have to think about it. Even for the Genesis brand, if we were to make a big SUV with 500 horsepower—or even 600 horsepower—then who would buy it? How long will such cars survive with emissions standards [and] what market would have such a car in seven years’ time? Europe or China? Probably not. Even the U.S. is moving on emissions. I think it would be very hard to make the case for a car like that.”

-43maehsdACU

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