A little over a year ago, we wondered aloud why the Lexus GS 350 – a car that’s delightfully comfortable and composed – sells in such small numbers in Canada. Then we pitted it against the hottest new mid-level luxury sedan in the land: Cadillac’s excellent CTS sedan and wondered even more. After hard-fought competition, the Lexus emerged bloodied and battered, but victorious due in no small part to the excellent value it represented against the much costlier Caddy.
Sadly, the GS’s sales are even softer so far in 2015 despite our praise last year. The Germans continue to do well with their segment offerings, but now there’s a new contender in the mid-size luxo group: Hyundai’s newest Genesis sedan. And let’s just cut to the chase: it’s an outstanding effort. Polished and honed over last year’s already very good version, the new Genesis seems to prove that the Koreans have Lexus in their crosshairs and they aim to show no mercy in squeezing the life out of the remaining GS sales.
With such a serious new presentation from Hyundai, we couldn’t ignore comparing last year’s favourite against this upstart to see if our Lexus love continues to burn as hotly as it did last year.
The GS 350 AWD that Lexus supplied us for our last comparison test was a luxury trim car finished in a bluey-green hue that was nicely applied but a colour that didn’t really help its overall appearance much. This year, our GS is an F Sport trim car with handsome dark grey 19-inch wheels and wearing a sublime Atomic Silver paint job that is stunningly liquid in its appearance. The F Sport grille and subtle rear spoiler set the Lexus up as the sporty choice of our duo, and it’s a striking machine, no doubt about it.
But the GS was the first foray for Lexus into its current family look, led by the “Spindle Grille” and now only three years in it’s starting to appear a little tired. The profile and rear still look great, but the front end is overdone with scoops and slashes in an attempt at visual aggression. It simply ends up looking like a caricature of a sport sedan rather than the real deal and it is unlikely this look will age as well as the competitors over time.
More on Autos.ca: Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate
A decade from now, Hyundai’s new Genesis will still be unmistakable as a luxury car. It is long, low and wide with an imposing grille the likes of which is found on all the big power-player luxury cars. And while the cleanly styled posterior and profile are striking, it’s the Hyundai’s front end that looks best to our eye. The slick LED light treatment and winged Genesis badge on the nose will even have the neighbours forgetting that this car is sold on the same showroom floor as a $10,000 Accent.
Styling: Hyundai: 4.5, Lexus: 4