On 4 November 2015, Genesis officially splintered out of Hyundai to become a standalone luxury car brand. The move was to satisfy the increased yearning for a luxury brand under the Genesis name.
On Tuesday 15 November 2022 (barely seven years after the separation), Genesis unveiled the X Convertible, the third electric vehicle concept under the X family trilogy that will drive the company’s EV future.
Prior to Tuesday’s reveal, Genesis had unveiled the X Speedium Coupe and X Concept as the other two EVs in the X family. The reveal of the X Convertible was held ahead of the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. Since all the cars are just concepts, performance details will have to wait a little longer.
Nevertheless, the intent of the reveal is not just to showcase Genesis’ design versatility. Rather, it is the brand’s way of creating awareness for its new EV portfolio. The most asked question afterward was whether the X Convertible or something close to it would soon be available to customers.
Luc Donckerwolke who is Genesis and Hyundai Motor Group’s chief creative officer gave a cautious answer. “Let’s put it this way,” he said to TechCrunch, “I am investing enormous energy, my energy, to make that a reality.”
Genesis began its X family concept trilogy reveal with the two-door X Concept grand tourer in 2021. This was followed by X Speedium Coupe in early 2022 which built on the themes of the first concept. The company called the X Convertible, “a beacon”.
The four-seat EV was unveiled to hand-picked guests and media at a multimillion-dollar Malibu, California home. Judging by the muffled gasp of the audience, Genesis can push forward knowing they have struck an important emotional chord. The venue of the reveal was an easy pick because California is the clear leader in EV adoption across the United States.
Donckerwolke did not mince words on the company’s intent, “we have to infuse more passion into the brand,” he said. “If there is anyone in doubt that electric vehicles cannot be attractive, we want to demonstrate it can.”
The cultural elements weaved into the X Convertible’s design
The majority of the EVs on the market have a symmetric seat design. The X Convertible deviates from that dogma with an asymmetric four-seat layout that cocoons the driver’s cockpit.
Its instrument panel wraps around the driver and integrates effortlessly with the center console. This asymmetric layout has remained a constant theme in all the X family concepts.
Therefore, with the X Convertible, the emphasis has shifted from just performance to the connection the car has with the driver. The interior design of the showcased X Convertible was inspired by the South Korean roof architecture, Giwa—the tiles on the roof of Korean houses.
Also, cultural elements were infused into the interior and exterior designs of the X Convertible. The interior features Dancheong Orange and Giwa Navy colors which many believe is a nod to the EV’s origin. Dancheong Orange is a traditional decorative painting on Korea’s native wooden buildings.
Both colors encircle the cabin to give a two-line motif. The colors also feature on the seat and fabric stitching. On the outside, the X Convertible concept is sprayed with White Crane paint which represents sanctity and nobility in Korea.
“We need an enduring design philosophy and a consistent foundation for future strategy,” Donckerwolke told Forbe’s, Nargess Banks. “We’ve clearly outlined Genesis’ value as being audacious, progressive, and distinctly Korean because every luxury brand creation has roots.”
Other features of the X Convertible
The X Convertible features a folding hardtop roof. Even when closed, its transparent moon roof still gives the passengers an open-world feeling. This roof architecture and powertrain allow users to experience nature in a different way devoid of mechanical disturbance.
The characteristic quad lights that formed the foundation of Genesis’ Two-Line graphic identity are present in the X Convertible. Also, the manufacturers moved the battery packs and powertrain cooling function to the lower gaps in the front bumper.
Without a doubt, the X Convertible offers an elevated sensory experience for all passengers. However, it takes the sensory experience a notch higher with the high-performance sound system developed by Guk-iL Yu. The immersive audio system first seen in the X Speedium was designed to maximize acoustic performance.
“It is a commonplace development for Genesis to enhance the emotional and athletic facet of our design philosophy by building an emotional trilogy, the X family,” Donckerwolke said.
“Innovation is the catalyst to becoming increasingly engaged with our surroundings. We are in the course of morphing Genesis into a company that will distribute products that customers will love.”
The rear of the X Convertible features a concave elliptical tailgate design with an embedded spoiler. Also, there are horizontal quad taillights that are identical to those on the other X concepts. The taillights are interrupted by an indented V-shape that mimics the company’s logo.
Utilizing the versatility of electric powertrain
Every car maker that hopes to survive or thrive in the EV era needs to display a commitment to sustainable design as well as come equipped with industry-leading vehicle technology. The X Convertible showcased the evolution of Genesis Crest Grille to a lighting signature that announces its electric powertrain.
It shares its architecture with the other concepts in the X family including the powertrain. That means it will likely have a maximum output of 482 hp (359 kW) and an estimated range of 310 miles.
“Electric powertrains have offered us the best scenario to appreciate nature, something convertibles are better at compared to other vehicles. This has pushed the brand to make vehicles with greater emotional resonance,” Donckerwolke said.
Genesis is positioned to be the leader in electrification starting with the electrification of some of its award-winning ICE models. The company is committed to becoming an all-electric vehicle brand by 2030 while also pushing for carbon neutrality by 2035.