Genesis’ Magma models are about looks and also about performance

By | March 29, 2024

a group of cars parked on a road with mountains in the background

Genesis’ Magma Performance Wing is stylishly progressiveGenesis

  • Genesis aims to delve further into its performance roots with a new US-focused concept known as the Genesis GV60 Magma.

  • The Magma version, based on the current GV60 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, features a wider, more aggressive stance and wind tunnel-tested aerodynamics.

  • Speaking to Genesis Chief Creative Officer Luc Donckerwolke, we learn that the Magma should split the difference between performance and style.


To say that Genesis has been flirting with performance for eight years would betray the budding relationship that already exists within the Korean luxury brand. Of course, the brand is largely focused on providing a lavish sensory experience to its customers, but the underlying mechanisms aren’t just geared for smoothness.

Take the 2024 Genesis G70 that we tested on the track at Apex Motor Club. Its target audience will likely choose the middle lane for most highway trips, but the prevalence of low-end turbochargers makes the compact sedan a spirited companion. Rear-wheel drive variants also seem to turn their rear axle with a certain eagerness, for what that’s worth.

Luc Donckerwolke wears glassesLuc Donckerwolke wears glasses

Luc Donckerwolke was named World Car Person of the Year 2022 for his work on models such as the GV60 and GV70.Genesis

But creating a performance ethos is about more than EV boost buttons and mediocre horsepower. In fact, qualifying performance is mostly about feel, both in the hands moving the wheel and how it feels to look at the shape. And if there’s one thing Genesis is good at, it’s bringing a variety of effortlessly subtle forms to the road.

This prowess is partly due to Genesis Chief Creative Officer Luc Donckerwolke. With a career spanning several decades spanning the entire spectrum of the Volkswagen Group, Donckerwolke became Chief Creative Officer for Hyundai Motor Group and the Genesis brand in 2020.

Under his watch, the Genesis brand flourished, as Donckerwolke’s touch is linked to popular models such as the full-size Genesis GV80 and the sleek Genesis G90 executive sedan. But now, in collaboration with the New York International Auto Show, the chief designer is explaining the evolution of Genesis’ first wave of true performance models.

“Genesis Magma offers an exciting opportunity to push the boundaries of performance and luxury for new interpretations in high-performance vehicles, with the ultimate goal of developing models exclusively for Genesis,” said Donckerwolke.

A series of fiery orange smeared models, unveiled as forward-looking concepts, are surrounded by shin-height glass as Donckerwolke talks. These concepts are known as the GV60 Magma and G80 Magma and simply ride on their original platforms. Without a lot of Genesis mechanical details, it’s hard to say how vibrant these will actually be.

a car parked on a beacha car parked on a beach

The highest GV60 available today produces 429bhp, although power figures for the Magma have yet to be revealed.Genesis

Furthermore, US customers won’t be able to reap the benefits of Genesis’ brightest executive sedan yet, as the G80 Magma will only be sold in Middle Eastern markets. From a business perspective, this makes sense, given the relatively low market share represented by executive sedan purchases domestically. Compact, electric hatchbacks are a different story.

That’s why Genesis has committed to bringing the GV60 Magma to the US, building on the success of the compact crossover and its Hyundai sibling, the Ioniq 5. Notably, the GV60 Magma deviates from its traditional appearance in favor of a wider mouth (for improved battery cooling) and adding canards to the front and wider fenders across the wheelbase.

The New York International Auto Show opensThe New York International Auto Show opens

Genesis says improving battery and brake cooling was a key focus when designing the GV60 Magma.Spencer Platt – Getty Images

Even under the fluorescent glow of the Javits Center, the GV60 Magma sits nicely with its titanium-colored, fluidly shaped, aero disc-integrated 21-inch wheels. Hidden in the side profile, the aerodynamic disc formation provides even more road presence, in contrast to the traditional meekness of size that many compact crossovers exhibit.

The aggressive package is combined with a stately wing that is supplied with air through a set of fins on the tailgate. Donckerwolke confirms that all these stability-oriented features have been developed using wind tunnel simulations, and that they functionally provide downforce.

Make no mistake: the Genesis Magma products are performance vehicles, but Donckerwolke emphasized that these are not track vehicles either. By staying true to its brand image, Genesis is counting on a consumer who values ​​both style and sportiness, it seems.

“While speed and performance are important, the Genesis Magma program will look further and prioritize the driving experience to combine the fun of sporty driving with effortless comfort,” Donckerwolke explains. “It’s not a pocket rocket.”

It’s worth noting that Genesis’ Magma series shouldn’t be the equivalent of Hyundai’s N-brand performance wing. With Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 N set to hit dealerships soon, Genesis’ performance models will function as range-topping models rather than forming an entirely new arm of the luxury brand.

a few sports cars on a road with a cloudy skya few sports cars on a road with a cloudy sky

Genesis previously unveiled a GV80 Coupe and an X Gran Berlinetta Concept respectively, seen at the ends of this lineup.Genesis

It could make sense for Genesis to adopt the hardware and software from the drifting Ioniq 5 N, but neither brand has confirmed this. Still, the GV60 Magma will be equipped with an interior that aims to split the difference, especially in terms of seating choice. Body-colored bucket seats are available, but less aggressive comfort seats will also be available.

“Comfort in a sporty vehicle is in fact lateral support,” says Donckerwolke. “The morphology of all drivers will differ from customer to customer and continent to continent. It’s almost a science.”

When asked about the potential sales figures of the GV60 Magma, he says it is unlikely that production numbers will be limited. Without pricing details and production timelines, tangible market comparisons remain limited, although Donckerwolke estimates the Magma would make up around 10% to 15% of model sales.

Before leaving, the lead designer provides another tidbit of knowledge, noting that the GV60 Magma will be offered in other colors. The color scheme of the same name will remain, but the normal color palette will also be for sale. Still, we hope to see a few orange cars on the road soon.

What kind of performance vehicles would you like to see from Genesis in the future? Share your thoughts below.

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