Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Redesigned 2015 Hyundai Genesis Meets Greenville, South Carolina: The Ideal Marriage

I'm not the kind of guy who shows off a lot. I'm old, bald, fat and broke, which doesn't leave me a lot of wriggle room for showing off.

But I did get to show off my city this week to about 60 people – 40 or 50 of them had never been to Greenville before. I was only too happy to bask in the deluge of compliments rained down on me by my media brethren and Hyundai internals attending the two-day function. 

2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0L next to Greenville's Cigar Warehouse.
The occasion was Hyundai's Southeast media introduction for its redesigned 2015 Genesis. It attracted motoring media from Texas to North Carolina.

For eight years I pestered Hyundai's regional PR wonks to host an event in Greenville. My lobbying efforts finally paid off. I'm no hero. I am, however, persistent and annoying – apparently exactly the qualities required to convince a major auto company to invest something north of $75,000 on an event in a city that half the attendees had never heard of before booking their flights. 

Greenville's Westin Poinsett Hotel.
Hyundai chose downtown's Westin Poinsett for our two-night stay. Yes, Hyundai was gracious enough to put me up there as well, despite my living 15 minutes away. Because I had some difficulty piloting the elevator back to my 9th-floor room both nights, that I didn't have to get myself all the way home was a good thing.

Enjoying some updates over the years, the Westin is clean, comfortable and modern in an “Old South” sort of way. It is centrally located to all the downtown attractions. I had been in it a few times, but this was my first experience overnighting there. It was quiet and the service top notch. 

Although Main Street, where the Westin sits and the test cars were staged, is often backed up for several blocks, downtown Greenville is less than sprawling and we were outside its confines in about five minutes as we sprinted for North Carolina.

The next-generation Genesis was a good fit for the Upstate, as the locals call the area surrounding Greenville. Classy without being ostentatious pretty well describes Greenville and Genesis.

When it hits dealer showrooms in a month or so Genesis will be offered in two basic flavors: a $38,000 3.8L V6-equipped version and a $51,500 5.0L with its V8. For another $2,500, you can opt for AWD on the 3.8L.

We had the opportunity to drive all three Genesis configurations. Had I not followed it with wheel time in the 5.0L, I would have been quite satisfied with the performance of the 311-horsepower 3.8L. It spooled up and got itself briskly off the line. Both the 5.0L and the 3.8L use an eight-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission to hustle power to the rear wheels – or all the wheels for those 3.8Ls so equipped.

As fine as the 3.8L is, its performance was dwarfed by the 420-horsepower 5.0L. Goosing the accelerator on the 5.0L was like being shot out of a cannon.

Hyundai found some terrific roads to stretch out the Genesis and tax the bounds of its handling. Although the route never had us more than 50 or 60 miles from my house, I hadn't been on some of these roads. Rt. 178 north of Pickens, SC was awesome. 

Spending time in both front seat positions as well as about 45 minutes in the backseat, I was impressed with the comfort and support of all the seats. A six-foot-plus passenger would have no shortage of rear-seat legroom. In fact, Genesis has more interior passenger volume than any of its core competitors, such as the Infiniti M, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The craftsmanship and quality of materials throughout the cabin are top shelf.

Genesis holding court in front of Hendersonville's Flat Rock Wood Room.
Lunch was at the Flat Rock Wood Room in Hendersonville, NC. A curious pairing, it specializes in BBQ and wood-fired pizza. I can't speak to the pizza, but the pulled pork was exceptional. With eight local beers on tap and 15 or so other microbrews in bottles and cans, they can expect to see me again.

Soby's as seen from the front drive of the Westin Poinsett.
Dinner our first night was a buffet at Westin's Spoonbread Restaurant. The second night we walked across Main Street to Soby's where Hyundai had reserved most of its second-floor dining room and bar. Soby's is my usual Friday-night hangout. I'm not exactly “Norm” there, but I am fairly well known. As always the food was terrific and the service exceptional.

A bit of Hyundai decoration at Soby's.
I've been writing about cars and participating in media events for 25 years or more; this was the first time an event, other than maybe a lunch, has taken place in the city where I live. It was a hoot. 

A bit of Flat Rock Wood Room humor.
Hyundai isn't the only carmaker I've hounded about doing an event in Greenville, but it was the first to pull the trigger since I've lived here. This event is motivating me to turn up the heat on some of the other car manufacturers I've discussed Greenville with.

If nothing else, I am persistent. And how the hell else am I ever going to get to show off?


  1. Sorry I missed this trip. Probably wouldn't have gone anyway because it conflicted with a SAMA luncheon, but would have given it some thought. But for some reason, I am no longer invited to Hyundai events. Even the one in town last year they asked me for dinner but not for the drive the next day. BTW, I think that was the hotel I stayed out years ago when I went to cover Ken Hatfield's first game as the Clemson coach.

  2. Don't understand why Hyundai wouldn't include you. I'd raise some hell. It was a great event! Oh, and just to be clear, you'd rather go to a SAMA lunch than a manufacturer's event. Are you nuts?

  3. I know what you mean, but because of the Hyundai event, attendance was down at the luncheon. As an officer again, I felt pretty much obligated to go. Turns out, Bill Adam had the flu and wasn't able to attend, so it would have been very sparse! I'm going to talk to Marcello/Ariel which I see first (no doubt Marcello) and see what the deal is.

  4. Turns out Bill Adam wasn't invited either. BTW, I've finished reading this now.