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Caution: Hot! Genesis announces Magma performance models


Genesis announces Magma performance models


In one of the most confusing brand strategy updates of recent times, Genesis announces a new range of performance models titled Magma. Sort of. Ken Pearson tries to make sense of it all.


Magma. Until recently, it was a synonym for lava, Dr Evil and a cargo airline with a fleet of Boeing 747s, but now it could become synonymous with Hyundai’s luxurious sister brand, Genesis. It could be said that the upmarket member of the Hyundai-Kia trinity of brands is still trying to find its feet in Europe so a shot of high performance may be just what is needed for the desirability and orders for Genesis models to build.


So far, so clear cut. Yet the announcement of the Magma Program comes as a bit of a surprise for more than just one reason; it is not uncommon for manufacturers to announce that they are branching out into new markets or unveil a concept car, but to announce the Magma Program and unveil two concept cars at the same time is almost unheard of. So what is Genesis Magma?


According to Genesis, it is “…an exciting opportunity to push the boundaries of performance and luxury for new interpretations in high-performance vehicles.” To me, it’s taking the brand to the logical next stage.


Characterised by beefed-up styling and an unmissable shade of orange paint, the Magma models showcase how Genesis can realise the high-performance ambitions that they have been flirting with for years now. Two new concepts are based on the G80 saloon and the GV60 electric SUV-fastback which join the previously announced GV80 Coupe Concept and the X Gran Berlinetta Concept to make up the Magma range. I say concepts, but three models are clearly near-production examples which seem to be testing the waters for performance cars from Genesis while the X Gran Berlinetta has been playable on Gran Turismo 7 for a few months now.



Genesis announces Magma performance models


Visually, the cars all share the signature wide Genesis grille and parallel light design, but with enlarged front splitters and wheel arches, redesigned wheels that house huge brakes, larger rear wings and twin exhaust pipes for the petrol-powered models. The electric GV60 Magma with no need to house any pipes at the rear gains an enormous diffuser, black bumper insert and a fixed rear wing with a V-shaped indentation in the centre. It borders on looking ridiculous but I love it for that. Look very closely at the black Genesis badge and you will spot a slight redesign compared to the one that currently sits on the nose of production models.


The only interior that we’ve seen so far is that of the GV80 Coupe Concept which has four bucket seats with a checked design stitched into the leather and alcantara upholstery. Naturally, the contrast stitching and the backs of the bucket seats are finished in magma orange. Although the four-bucket seating is unlikely to make it to production, the extensive use of microfibre and leather materials, dark headlining and the reprofiled steering wheel are sure to reach the showrooms.


The fourth model in the Magma quartet is Genesis’s instalment in the Vision Gran Turismo series that has seen manufacturers making concept cars for the racing game since 2013. There’s no way that this twin-charged V6 hybrid coupe is destined for the road - I don’t think the world is ready for a 200 mph two-seater from Genesis - but as the purest expression of Genesis’s design ethos, it’s great to see elements like the grilles, lights, wheels and smoothly integrated high-performance cues like the diffusers and wings making their way to road car designs.


So the cars look the business, but are they as powerful as the looks imply? Well, we don’t know yet. No technical details have been released about these “concepts” although there are some clues and dots for us to find and join together. Starting with the GV60 electric SUV, the Magma version will certainly use an all-wheel drive electric powertrain. Based on the same platform as the Hyundai IONIQ 5 N, it’s safe to expect the GV60 Magma to share the same 641 bhp twin-motor setup as its more angular cousin.


Although there has been no mention of what powers the G80 Saloon or GV80 Coupe, the production version of the GV80 Coupé is already available with up to 409 bhp and 405 lb ft (549 nm) from a 3.5 litre turbocharged V6, so any hotter version would surely be closer to 500 bhp and thus take aim at the Audi RS 4 and RS 5 Sportback along with the BMW M3, X3 M and X4 M. They could be more powerful, they could be less powerful, or I could be right on the money with my predictions, we simply don’t know for sure yet.



Genesis announces Magma performance models


You see, dear reader, it is hard to say for sure what we can truly expect to see from future Genesis Magma models because Genesis has been extremely detailed with the design language and theme for the four Magma models seen thus far, but equally vague about the powertrains and feasibility of them.


I’ve always been a fan of Genesis and how they’ve been doing things differently in their quest to make inroads into the notoriously tough premium car market which is dominated by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. I love the design of the products, the material choices, cabin ergonomics and the Genesis Studio - their interpretation of a showroom - in Battersea Power Station which features the best colour wall I have ever seen. No miniature swatches on a curved piece of metal here, how about one door in each colour mounted to the wall? That’s how to do it.


But announcing a new performance range by showing two concepts that look so tantalisingly close to being production cars to match up with two previously shown concepts that have the same shade of paint while steering clear of committing to actually producing these cars or confirming any technical details other than those that have been indirectly confirmed when one of the “concept” models was confirmed for production last year? That’s not how to do it.

Own it, Genesis. The Magma models show what the brand can be and the reality is that in order for a product range to be taken seriously in the premium end of the market, there has to be a performance version at the top of it. These are the cars that admirers of the brand - and I’m sure many drivers too - have been waiting for.


Are you still with me? Let’s clear things up. Genesis, the premium arm of the Hyundai-Kia empire has been toying with the idea of performance cars for the last few years. They have never confirmed any go-faster models for production but have now unveiled four concepts - three of which look production ready - and given the performance models a name: Magma.

With Magma, Genesis have made the clearest statement of intent to give the brand a performance string to add to its luxurious bow. I think that with the G80 Magma Special, GV60 Magma Concept and the GV80 Coupe, they’ve got three strong places to start to make Genesis as known for performance models as they are parallel light strips.


In short: Genesis can make Magma-badged performance models, all they need to do is make it make sense.

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