Before we go any further: yes, the name of this ravishing concept from Genesis is a bit of a mouthful – but it is so-named for a reason. Is it a play on the term “Generation X”? The name of a yet-to-be-announced e-sports venue in Genesis’ hometown of Seoul, South Korea? Is it a sneak peek at a space program that Genesis or parent company Hyundai is planning because, well, they seem to be winning at everything else these days? Indeed, as of this writing, Hyundai has just won three of a six possible World Car of the Year Awards, announced the morning before the Speedium graced the stage at the new Genesis House in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district.
The answer to all of those is a resounding “no” (well, we’ll see about the space program) as it is, in fact, inspired by a racetrack situated northeast of Seoul in Inje. It’s affectionately referred to as “Korea’s Nurburgring” by the manufacturer and even the Speedium’s colour name – Inje Green – is borrowed from the racetrack because, Genesis says, it reflects the mountainous region the track inhabits. That may be the party line, but anyone who knows the Nurburgring likely knows that it is often referred to as the “Green Hell” and it seems too much of a coincidence for that colour name not to be a cheeky allusion to that.
Of course, all that is secondary to the fact that the Speedium Concept, the brainchild of World Car Person of the year and Genesis Chief Creative Officer Luc Donckerwolke and his team of designers is gobsmackingly gorgeous. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Donckerwolke: he has helmed some of the most legendary car designs over the last few decades, including the Bentley Flying Spur, Lamborghini Gallardo and even the Audi R8 Le Mans prototype racer, to name but a few.
Surprisingly, though, it actually wasn’t one of those projects that Mr. Donckerwolke mentioned when we asked him what inspired him to design the Speedium, but something much further back in the automotive canon: the Shelby Daytona Coupe, a V8-powered road racer from the 1960s.
“I’m somebody who’s basically grown with a hunger I could not satiate about classic vehicles and race cars,” he said. “That’s why we have a lot of muscle in this car but it’s (done) in a way which is not exaggerated, but it’s very athletic.”
Sure, but I’m finding it hard not to label as “exaggerated” the wheels and the headlights that wrap all the way around the grille and through to the leading edge of the doors. The overall shape, though, is one of elegance and the kamm back and ducktail spoiler are very reminiscent not only of the Daytona, but of other classic designs such as the Ferrari 250 GTO or Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ.
Which stands to reason because while there are no plans yet for a production version of the Speedium, it does signal in which direction Genesis EVs are heading. In order to do that, you need some futuristic elements but at the same time since this is a luxury brand, it needs to have a certain stance or detailing, or general attitude about it that speaks to a luxury car buyer.
“We always start with what the customer wants and that allows us to differentiate (ourselves) from other brands,” remarked Donckerwolke.
It doesn’t stop at the design, either, but also with the performance and handling of the cars.
“It would be easy to stay in the past, but we have to deal with it,” said Donckerwolke. “We have to admit that we have a new powertrain and that there’s a great advantage to it, something we could never have imagined.”
Like the low-slung look of the car itself, one of those great advantages he speaks of is the fact that EVs tend to have a lower centre of gravity than their ICE equivalents due to having their heavy batteries stuffed deeply into their floors. This is advantageous to SUVs and CUVs that need to have tall bodies to accommodate their passengers, but also to sports cars or grand tourers like this to keep the body in check as you move quickly through corners. Donckerwolke himself admits to driving more smoothly in an electric car – both on the track and on the open road – and keeping cleaner lines through corners.
“You will not compensate for not having a V8 resonating in your ears, (but) it’s all about transforming the way you drive in a more fluid way.”
So while we aren’t getting our hopes up for a production version of the extraordinary – and it is extraordinary, from its name on out – Speedium Concept, Genesis was very clear in illustrating that it does represent the next step in the brand’s stylistic evolution. It’s one that includes a symbiosis between Donckerwolke’s design team and the engineering team for the brand’s e-GMP platform as both teams were able to start out on the ground floor to ensure their ideas would flow together. This allows the design team to take certain liberties that otherwise might clash with the facts and figures, the nuts n’ bolts put forth by the engineers.
That also means each Genesis model can adhere to the brand’s stylistic identity, but get its own tweaks to differentiate, even if they’re riding on a shared platform.
So even if the Speedium remains a design study of sorts, it does represent a bright outlook for the fast-rising brand, one that’s on a trajectory we are very much looking forward to following.