GV60 the Genesis of a new wave of stealth rockets

Peter Atkinson |

The Genesis GV60 all-electric SUV rockets to 100km/h in four seconds.
The Genesis GV60 all-electric SUV rockets to 100km/h in four seconds.

Are we breeding a nation of middle-aged hoons?

You might think so, given the number of new, high-performance cars arriving on Australian shores.

Forget old warhorses such as Holden Special Vehicles or Ford’s Tickford operation – the executive rocket for the well-heeled buyer these days is not the type to bark and roar.

Rather, it will silently send you scorching past the speed limit before you’ve even had the chance to check your head-up display.

Technology for electric vehicles has suddenly taken off and left the internal combustion languishing – a kind of natural selection as the world looks for ways to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

There are dozens of these “stealth rockets” and the trend is picking up speed at a furious rate.

But who’s buying them? Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s oldies.

Which sets up the question: is it safe to have retirees getting around in these tyre-smoking machines?

The latest to join the growing queue is Korean luxury marque Genesis which has unveiled its first “ground up” all-electric model, the GV60 Performance (it’s the last word that gives the game away).

The standard GV60 was tested last year, the youthful company enthralling with its pace of development and design. Ballistic performance can be added to its long list of features.

Last year’s test machine was a “single motor” variant – luxurious and brilliantly engineered, while this model has two motors – one driving the front axle and the other turning the rear. It’s proof two motors are better (and faster) than one.

The base model GV60 offers one electric motor with a price of $103,700.

Or there’s the newly arrived flagship AWD Performance which ups the ante, in every way.

Its $110,700 ticket not only gets you more power but more technology and range. A pretty decent upgrade for about $7000.

The Genesis GV60 all-electric SUV interior
The hi-tech cockpit offers innovations such as a rotary gearshift knob. (HANDOUT/GENESIS IMAGES)

The GV Performance boasts a “Boost” button that sharpens its performance from its “basic” 320kW and 605Nm up to the full-blown 360kW and 700Nm.

Genesis claims driving range of 466km and a week-long test drive seemed to back up that up. It is claimed to be the fastest-charging EV on our roads.

Those are a staggering set numbers for any car let alone this sweet-looking SUV.

The extra spend also adds things such as massive 21-inch wheels; adaptive suspension and an electric limited-slip differential to the rear axle.

Which means the only extras to be offered is $2000 for premium paint.

The space-age cockpit delivers innovations such as a rotary gearshift knob which looks like a precious stone in the centre console until you press the start button, which prompts the knob to twist and turn until it resembles a lemon squeezer.

The other signature piece of wizardry is the rear-vision “mirrors”.

They are actually cameras on a stalk where mirrors would normally be – which are viewed via little screens sitting at the bottom of the A-Pillar. It’s cool (Audi uses the same thing) but makes lane-changing or parking no easier than the traditional mirror.

Maybe they’re actually there to reduce wind resistance when you decide to check what 360kW feels like.

And here’s the point.

If these cars are so deceptively quick, what happens when dozens of them are suddenly under the control of octogenarian day-trippers taking out their nice new electric car on Sundays?

Conservative people are suddenly using their EV’s 0-100km/h sprint as a conversation starter. Normal, law-abiding members of the driving public who have suddenly found themselves at the wheel of a virtual supercar.

But what about grandpa and nan suddenly finding 360kW kilowatts beneath the bonnet of their new hatchback. A dangerous combination?

The ease and quietness with which this car can bare its claws is something to behold.

How do we address the issue?

Special licenses or additional tests for certain drivers?

Some states already ban learner drivers from driving high-powered or turbocharged cars while on their P Plates – yet there are no restrictions on EVs, such as the GV60, which are much more dynamic.

There are more electric vehicles on our roads capable of reaching the speed limit in less than four seconds than at any time in motoring history.

Dislikes?

Well, there were few, beyond the side mirrors.

The music that heralds the push of the start button feels like you’re at some kind of mega electronics shop. While the cockpit looks ultra modern, it won’t be to everybody’s taste.

Electric cars tend to be nimble and quick to turn, but the GV almost runs off in fright if you spot a reasonably tight parking spot. Just as well it has its own auto-parking system that will allow you to drive the car out of a tight spot before opening the doors.

But when the combination of mirrors and digital screens are used together, any kind of tight spots will give you nightmares.

Otherwise, its combination of serene driving with sledge hammer performance is quite the package.

But remember, keep one eye on the speedo.

Oh, and keep an eye on grandma too, if she asks for a drive.

GENESIS GV60 PERFORMANCE

HOW BIG?

It’s similarly sized like your average luxury SUV – think Audi Q5 or Mercedes-Benz GLC.

HOW FAST?

It reaches the speed limit in barely four seconds. Madness.

HOW THIRSTY?

Genesis says its driving range is 466km.

HOW MUCH?

The entry-level model costs $103,700; the full-cream Performance AWD variant is $7000 more.

AAP