Dead sexy looks and high-end tech paint a very bright future for Genesis

The stunner you see here was just revealed at the 2018 New York International Auto Show as the latest concept from Hyundai’s standalone luxury sub-brand, Genesis. It’s called the Essentia, and it’s framed as an all-electric, two-door, Gran Touring model packed with the very latest convenience features. It’s also one helluva looker, in case that wasn’t already completely obvious, and it’s pretty quick as well.

Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis Essentia Concept.

What Makes The Genesis Essentia Concept Special

The Genesis Essentia Concept Is The Outrageously Gorgeous EV Concept We Need Exterior
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Viewed head-on, the windshield sweeps down into the front end, revealing the carbon fiber chassis and suspension components beneath.

The first thing to grab you when checking out the Genesis Essentia is the way it looks. This thing is a jaw-dropper, no doubt about it, and Genesis should be quite proud of it. And while we realize that as a concept car it’s unlikely we’ll see it put into production completely unchanged; it sure is comforting to know that this “ideal” design exists at all. If this is where Genesis is headed in terms of aesthetics, then we say “full steam ahead.”

Indeed, the Essentia gets the very latest design language from Hyundai’s luxury division, something the brand is calling “Athletic Elegance,” and the look will undoubtedly inform future Genesis model designs, as confirmed by Genesis Head of Design, Executive Vice President Luc Donckerwolke: “A Gran Turismo typology highlights our ambition as a luxurious car brand for the connoisseurs and it is the perfect base to project our DNA in the future.”

Highlights for the concept include classic GT proportions, with the front end dominated by a long hood line, and a rear occupied by an aft-leaning cabin and upturned flick of a tail. The stance is also incredibly low and wide - just how we like it.

The body is made entirely from carbon fiber, while the paint finish is an attractive shade dubbed Stardust Gray Metallic. Viewed head on, the Genesis Essentia is equipped with a brand-centric Crest Grille design, while the windshield sweeps down into the front end in a seemingly seamless and graceful arc. Just behind the elongated glass section you’ll find carbon fiber chassis and suspension components in their full glory, mating form and function into a single cohesive aesthetic. It’s hard not to feel something just by looking at it.

The nose cone takes its inspiration from formula race cars, and includes svelte intakes placed on either side of the grille that act as air curtains, directing airflow around to the corners and through the body. The corners of the front end also utilize Genesis’ branded Quad Light structure, a feature we first saw on the GV80 SUV concept. These units utilize laser optics technology to offer a thin headlight housing that’s mounted flush with the body, enhancing the car’s streamlined appearance.

The Genesis Essentia Concept Is The Outrageously Gorgeous EV Concept We Need Exterior
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Further Midas metal copper material was added as trim to the wheels and as window surround, offsetting the gray paint with a splash of color.

Moving to the sides, we find functional air vents mounted just behind the front wheels, which help to reduce overall aerodynamic drag by alleviating pressure inside the wheel wells. The lines here curve elegantly and with purpose, with parabolic lines in the sides leading to flared-out wheel arches in the rear. Did we mention we really like how this thing looks?

Adding even more drama to the curb-side arrival of the Essentia is a pair of butterfly doors, which open up, rather than out, much like you’d get on a modern supercar. To get into the thing, there are sensors in the B-pillars that offer biometric facial recognition and fingerprint recognition, as clearly, no simple key or button will do.

The sharp rear end is decked out with another set of Quad Lights, once again sitting flush with the bodywork. Below the deck-lid spoiler is a diffuser element complete with carbon fiber accents. Further Midas metal copper material was added as trim to the wheels and as window surround, offsetting the gray paint with a splash of color.

Take a gander at the interior, and you’ll find a rather simple design that’s streamlined to do away with as many hard buttons and “clutter” as possible. Breaking up the horizontal shapes is a variety of textured materials and looks that add a handsome bit of premium aesthetic to the cabin.

You’ll also notice a ribbed interior structure, something that Genesis is calling “G-Matrix.” Apparently , the structure “uses a dynamic web allowing lightness and internal air flow.” The structure was also 3D printed, which cuts costs compared to traditional production methods.

The various interior bits include a mix of different materials, such as Cognac leather with a chevron quilting for the seats. The center console gets Oxford Blue leather as a cover, and even the seat belt slots are unique, utilizing a glass pearl finish with treated aluminum and polished aluminum. There’s loads of carbon fiber as well.

The Genesis Essentia Concept Is The Outrageously Gorgeous EV Concept We Need Interior
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The center console gets Oxford Blue leather as a cover, while inputs for the infotainment gear are made via the jewel-like central controller

There’s an 8.0-inch display behind the steering wheel, complete with a piano black surround, while the rest of the dash gets a stretched-out digital display mounted high. Inputs for the infotainment gear are made via the jewel-like central controller.

The 2+2 rear bench seats stand out in contrast to the front thanks to Oxford Blue velvet upholstery, while Genesis says there’s also a decent amount of space in the trunk to pack in the bags for long trips.

The powertrain consists of a high-density battery pack mounted under the floor, which sends juice to multiple electric motors. The low battery pack also gives the Essentia a very low 50-inch roofline without sacrificing too much space inside.

The various tech bits include onboard vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication equipment, which help to keep the driver informed about upcoming traffic situations and road conditions.

There’s also machine learning that’s used to find the best routes from A to B. The tech will even set up the driving experience to match the route, adjusting the seating position, powertrain settings, chassis settings, and audio system to match, whether it’s a curving mountain road, or a straight shot on the highway.

The onboard systems can also connect to your various devices and smart home features, simultaneously offering a high degree of customization. For example, you can turn on lights at home, open up the gate for deliveries, and more, all from the comfort of the driver’s seat.

The Essentia’s AI capabilities encompass voice recognition, as well as next-gen Genesis Intelligent Assistant, and the ability to determine individual driver moods via driving behavior analysis.

The Genesis Essentia Concept Is The Outrageously Gorgeous EV Concept We Need Interior
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The electrons are put to use for high-performance aspirations, with Genesis claiming the Essentia can dance the 0-to-60 mph shimmy in just 3 seconds flat.

As for motivation, the Essentia is the first-ever battery electric vehicle from Genesis, and rather than focusing on eco friendliness, the electrons are put to use for high-performance aspirations. The multi-motor electric powertrain should be able to create tons of speed thanks to a low-weight carbon fiber monocoque chassis, while handling chops come courtesy of a push rod suspension, just like in a race car. You can even see the push rods in the front end through the long glass, which we think is one very cool feature.

All told, Genesis says the Essentia can do the 0-to-60 mph shimmy in just 3 seconds flat. No word on range per charge, though.

“Essentia is the brand’s initial concept for a true GT car and challenges the status quo as the ultimate manifestation of Genesis design and engineering,” Genesis states in a press release.

All told, we’re very excited to see this thing. It looks amazing, it comes packing with the latest technology, and it promises tons of performance potential. We can’t wait to see what Genesis ends up doing with it in terms of production.


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Read our full review on the 2017 Genesis GV80 Concept.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Press release

Today, Genesis unveiled its groundbreaking Essentia Concept at the New York International Auto Show. The all-electric, high-performance concept elevates and reimagines the “Athletic Elegance” design paradigm, while providing a vision of future Genesis product performance and technology.

“We understand our obligation as a luxury car manufacturer to create objects of desire, sparking passion and inspiration by emphasizing a culture while exceeding expectations in terms of technology and connectivity, bringing our outside world seamlessly to the inside of the vehicle,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, Global Head of the Genesis Brand. “This is what the Genesis Essentia Concept is all about, and we are thrilled to introduce our interpretation of an all-electric, two-door Gran Turismo here in New York.”

Essentia is the brand’s first battery electric vehicle and features a lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque, a robust, multi-motor electric powertrain, and a custom-tailored interior. Essentia is the brand’s initial concept for a true GT car and challenges the status quo as the ultimate manifestation of Genesis design and engineering. As a capable, thrilling sports car designed to counter the complexities of a modern lifestyle, Essentia offers serenity, clarity, and beauty.

“The Genesis Essentia concept defines our vision for an electric Gran Turismo that integrates Athletic Elegance and Genesis DNA as defining parameters,” said Executive Vice President Luc Donckerwolke, Head of Genesis Design. “A Gran Turismo typology highlights our ambition as a luxurious car brand for the connoisseurs and it is the perfect base to project our DNA in the future.”

Exterior Inspiration: Updating an Icon

Throughout the design, the philosophy of “Athletic Elegance” has a prominent role, marrying power and precision through artistry. Essentia takes its inspiration from iconic Gran Turismo proportions, with a long bonnet and a swept-back cabin. Finished in Stardust Gray Metallic, the carbon fiber-bodied Essentia is positioned low to the ground intentionally, to make it instantly recognizable through a graceful silhouette.

“The search for dynamic proportions was contrasted with advanced aerodynamic flows to highlight the bionic combination of performance and aesthetics,” Donckerwolke said. “Essentia embodies the genetic elements of the Genesis design.”

Its front fascia introduces an evolution of the Genesis Crest Grille that highlights efficiency and aerodynamics. Visible through the transparent hood is the advanced carbon fiber chassis, pronounced formula car-style nose cone, as well as the exposed, pushrod suspension. Intakes positioned left and right of the Crest Grille function as air curtains, streamlining airflow around the front corners.

Flanking the Crest Grille are signature Genesis Quad Lights, first introduced on the GV80 Concept. Made possible by laser optical technology, the extremely thin, flush headlights are integrated into the body of Essentia. Extending onto a side blade aft of the front wheels, the lights create a unique light signature for Essentia. Functional air outlets located just behind the front wheels reduce pressure buildup and contribute to reduced drag.

The side profile of Essentia is dominated by the iconic parabolic line that provides visual structure to the body while also emphasizing its overall length. The anti-wedge parabolic line gracefully runs along the shoulder line of Essentia until it meets the muscular rear wheel arches. Butterfly doors enable effortless and elegant ingress and egress. A sensor mounted in the B-pillar integrates fingerprint controls and biometric facial recognition for opening and closing the doors.

The rear of Essentia is defined by an aerodynamic cut-off surface that houses the flush rear Quad Lights and emphasizes the muscles of the rear haunch. An elegant rear diffuser surrounded by carbon fiber acts as a clever, integrated venting solution for the rear wheel arch. Midas metal copper, which is also used as detail trim on the bespoke wheels inspired by the Genesis G-Matrix philosophy, surrounds the entirety of the daylight opening.

Interior Functionality: Elegant De-cluttering

The underlying design theory behind the cabin of Essentia was to maximize the connection between car and driver. Reducing clutter and focusing on beautifully executed details, while displaying the elegant, transparent cockpit cell, was critical.

“On the interior, purism has also dominated the creative process for the interior skin, the layer in contact with the occupants, but less traditionalist the connection between the outside skin and the internal structure. We connected both with our flowing G-Matrix that uses a dynamic web allowing lightness and internal air flow. This highlights the exciting opportunities being explored in 3D printing which transcends the lengthy, inflexible and costly tooling process,” said Donckerwolke.

The interior of Essentia utilizes a mixed-material approach influenced by high fashion and classic color combinations. Cognac leather seats with chevron quilting envelops the driver and passengers in true cockpit fashion. A slim center console covered in Oxford Blue leather bisects the cabin. The front and rear seat belt slots are out of the ordinary, as well, composed of glass pearl finished/treated aluminum and polished aluminum. Layered carbon fiber décor adds a sporty and technical element to the interior details, with a 3D optical effect achieved through the latest technology of layering individual pieces of carbon.

Ahead of the driver is an 8-inch widescreen display with piano black surround. The information in the cluster includes only what is necessary for driving. The widescreen display is operated by a jewel-like central controller, providing a fulfilling user experience for both driver and front passenger.

The rear seats, which are accessed through Essentia’s butterfly doors, are covered in contrasting, Oxford Blue velvet. In line with Essentia’s purpose as a true grand tourer, a luggage compartment behind the rear seats affords plenty of cargo room for a weekend road trip with no particular destination in mind.

Electrification: Evolving the GT Benchmark

Underneath the carbon-fiber monocoque of Essentia is a state-of-the-art, high-density battery pack and multiple electric motors that enable a powerful, confident driving experience. The electric powertrain allowed Genesis Design to redefine classic GT proportions with an extremely low, transparent hood that flows seamlessly into the windshield and the “bubble” roof.

The battery pack is housed in the center tunnel in an I-shape structure, as opposed to underneath the passenger compartment. This allows Essentia to achieve the super-low, 50-inch roofline and spacious, GT-style cabin. With an estimated 0-to-60 time of 3.0 seconds, Essentia brings sports car-level performance to the realm of electric luxury coupes.

Disconnectivity: A New Standard

Essentia was designed to be thoroughly connected to the world around it, while providing its occupants a virtual escape. The technology housed in Essentia surpasses the industry standard, focusing on the connection between the vehicle and its environment in the near future.

For those moments when knowing what’s ahead is critical, Essentia features advanced vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle technology. Essentia can inform the driver of up-to-the-minute road conditions, and help avoid accidents and traffic jams. Further to that, instead of simply providing the quickest or most efficient route, Essentia uses machine learning intelligence to recommend routes based on driver inclination.

And when the route is chosen, Essentia automatically tailors the driving character to its owner’s preference for that road. From seat position to powertrain performance and audiophile system to chassis settings, the joy of the journey deserves technology to match.

Essentia also integrates with smart homes and devices, offering situation-based, personalized recommendations. Entirely customizable, the system also allows Essentia to connect seamlessly with the driver’s smart home systems to preprogram HVAC settings, turn on lights, allow for package deliveries, and automatically take the stress out of mundane tasks.

AI also plays a critical role in the technological capabilities of Essentia. Voice recognition and the next-generation Genesis Intelligent Assistant allow for two-way dialogue and full vehicle control through voice command, as well as individual driving behavior analysis and driver mood determination. Essentia can transact mobile payments through its center screen, making electronic payments possible for all kinds of situations.

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