Few companies have gone through a metamorphosis as impressive as that of Hyundai. Barely two decades ago, merely hearing the name was enough to provoke a gag response from automotive enthusiasts the world over. Not anymore.
Now, the company that once produced rolling offences like the Getz and Excel are responsible for some of the most exciting machinery on sale. The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance – a car from Hyundai’s offshoot luxury brand – is no exception.
The GV60 is Genesis’ electric coupé crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that starts at $103,700 (before on-road costs). The range-topping GV60 Performance AWD tested here costs the best part of $110,700 (before on-road costs).
There is no getting away from the fact that the GV60 has a gaping front end that makes an elephant seal look like Julia Roberts. Honestly, not since Pinocchio have we seen such a protruding nose.
For all our criticisms, however, we must admit that the GV60 is, if anything, distinctive, which is more than can be said for the likes of Tesla’s soap-bar-inspired Model Y or the unassuming BMW iX3.
Regardless, the GV60’s rear end, with its sloping roofline and full-length LED brake light is far more appealing. Mercifully, that’s the view most people will see, such is the GV60’s breakneck speed, but more on that later.
If anything, the GV60’s interior is even more adventurous than the exterior (‘ours’ featured blue upholstery that looked like it had been ripped straight out of the nineties and lurid lime green stitching to match). The quality of the materials is impressive too.
Much of the switchgear is metallic, the roof is lined with suede, and the 18-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, with massage-style ‘Ergo-motion’ control, is utterly soothing.
The GV60 also features Genesis’ new ccIC (connected car Integrated Cockpit) infotainment system that links the instrument cluster with the touch-sensitive infotainment screen, with one panoramic display à la Mercedes-Benz.
Anyone whose been in a recent Hyundai will recognise the infotainment software, though the screen itself is slick and can also be navigated using an intuitive rotary controller.
There’s wireless charging, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though nonsensically, the latter two require a USB-C wired connection to operate. Other interior highlights include a panoramic sunroof, a hands-free powered tailgate, and ambient lighting.
A cracking 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, and a fingerprint authentication system that allows drivers to start and drive the car without a key also feature. The latter offers an authentication function for in car payments as well.
The benefits of this are immediate from the moment you step into the GV60’s spacious interior, with its flat floor and ‘floating’ centre console. That said, people taller than six foot will struggle for headroom in the rear, given the GV60’s sloping roofline.
That aside, the rear seats boast a 60:40 split/fold function, can be reclined, and the outer rear seats can be heated. Overall, the GV60 feels like a luxe place to reside, however, it is let down in a few key areas.
The first is the steering wheel, which is so thick-rimmed that it feels like a pool noodle in the palm of your hand. Then there are the GV60’s wing mirrors, or lack of, to be precise. It uses cameras, which are streamed onto screens in the cabin.
The screens themselves are fairly intuitive, however, we found that condensation would occasionally appear inside the cameras, impeding visibility. There’s 432-litres of boot space with the rear seats in place, or 1,460-litres with them folded flat.
There’s no spare tyre either, as the GV60 comes with a repair/inflator kit. The Performance model features an 800v 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery and dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain.
When pootling around town, the GV60 produces an impressive 320kW of power and 605Nm of torque, enough to propel it from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. Press the lurid green steering-wheel mounted ‘Boost’ button though, and it goes full Lance Armstrong.
Injecting itself with a dose of growth hormone, it churns out a dizzying 360kW/700Nm for ten seconds at a time. With Boost mode enabled and traction control disabled, the GV60 tears a hole in the space-time continuum for a 4.0 second sprint to 100km/h.
We knew the GV60 Performance was capable of these sort of figures before driving it, but nothing can prepare you for what pedal-to-the-metal acceleration actually feels like. For clarity, it’s like being drop-kicked by the Iron Giant.
It’s a shame then that the GV60’s brakes feel like they’re made from bread, such is the lack of bite on offer. You have to practically push the pedal through the floor to quickly slow the GV60 from speed.
This is far from ideal when you’re attempting to ease up 2,210kg worth of metal. The GV60 also struggles to contain its gargantuan weight in the corners, flopping around like a flag in a hurricane when hustled through chicanes at speed.
We could forgive this if Genesis hadn’t called it the ‘Performance’ model or insisted that it offers an “unmatched driving experience” but they did, so we can’t.
That said, when you slow down and treat the GV60 as a regular luxury SUV (albeit one that can rinse sports cars in a straight line), it starts to make a case for itself. The suspension is impressively compliant and the steering is delightfully responsive.
The external noise cancelling is uncanny. You could park in the front row of a KISS concert and still be able to hear your passenger’s heartbeat. It’s that quiet. It would be a delight to drive every day, assuming you don’t have to travel far for work.
Genesis claims the GV60 Performance can travel 466km on a single charge. About 360km is a more accurate figure, especially if you turn the AC on. It’ll charge to 80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes if it’s plugged into a 350kW charger, but good luck finding one.
With an 11kW home charger, it will take about seven hours to get to 100 per cent. Thankfully, Genesis offers owners a free one so they can charge their car while they sleep. Alternatively, there’s a 5-year Chargefox subscription included.
The GV60 was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating. Standout safety features include eight airbags, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot assists, and surround-view cameras with a 3D view, among many others.
There’s no denying that the 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance is an impressive piece of kit. It isn’t the corner-carving monster Genesis’ marketing team might have you believe, but it is a cracking electric SUV nonetheless.
Our test vehicle was provided by Genesis Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, contact your local Genesis dealership.