Genesis X Convertible Concept Wows with Sleek, Minimalist Design

Ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Korean luxury brand showed off a beautiful open-air four-seater, the third in the automaker’s concept trilogy.

  • Genesis X Convertible Concept stars at the Los Angeles auto show.
  • The convertible is the third in a trilogy of concepts that show the brand's possible future design directions, and also show that EVs can be cool.
  • No specifics were given on the powertrain, except that it would be electric.

    It takes a lot to draw a crowd in Los Angeles, but there on the beach in Malibu a crowd gathered to see the new Genesis X Convertible Concept, a four-seat electric car that may or may not see the light of day.

    Passersby on the beach, seemingly every journalist in town for the L.A. auto show, and even a neighbor—a genuine movie star more likely to be seen driving an Aston Martin and fighting bad guys—all came out to ogle the new Korean cruiser.

    “The venue was a natural choice as California leads the U.S. in adoption of electric vehicles and its temperate climate allows year-round enjoyment of the convertible vehicle format,” Genesis said.

    The hardtop is retracted to better show the somewhat subdued interior.
    Mark Vaughn

    The concept is, in theory at least, powered by electricity. In reality this concept, like many throughout automotive history, has to be pushed around gently to get it into place. Nonetheless, the idea was to show that electric cars don’t have to be simply utilitarian appliances. They don’t have to be bland crossover utility vehicles, even though those sell the best. They can look cool and maybe even sexy. Yes, I said it, sexy.

    “If somebody believes that electric vehicles cannot be sexy, Genesis will demonstrate the opposite,” said Luc Donckerwolke, the brand’s Belgium-bred head of design. “All the cars from Genesis will have a high degree of emotionality and attractivity. In a phase where a lot of people are still looking to understand if an electric vehicle should be part of their daily driving, we offer this proof.”

    The convertible is the third in a trilogy of Genesis X concepts that started last year with the Genesis X Concept, an EV-based GT, and continued with the Concept X Speedium Coupe, a perhaps unfortunately proportioned two-door. Of the three, this one, you could argue, was the most fetching, with its smooth sides lacking even door handles, and with tiny TV-screen cameras for outside rearview mirrors. The shape is unadorned and moving, with rounded boattail-looking flanks, pronounced wheel arches, and even a little ducktail spoiler effect on the trunk lid.

    “You are playing on two different characters, athleticism and sportiness, which are antagonists, so that creates a tension, because harmony in itself is sometimes a bit boring, and we really want to create this tension,” Dockerwolke said.

    The convertible is also supposed to have a retractable folding hardtop with integrated transparent moonroofs above each front occupant, “to provide an open feel even when closed.”

    Ready for some design gobbledygook?

    “The Genesis X Convertible concept’s long bonnet, generous dash-to-axle, short front overhang, and long wheelbase are drawn rearwards towards the long deck, accentuating its stately yet relaxed poise,” Genesis said. “The anti-wedge Parabolic Line emphasizes the regal character of the profile, creating tension between the full surfaces through a gently rearward-sloping horizontal belt line, while muscular blisters around the wheels form an athletic ‘Coke bottle’ plan view and integrate into an elegant silhouette when viewed from the side.”

    It looks not unlike those Rolls-Royce Boat Tails we saw last year.

    Interior is downright Spartan, inspired by “Korean roofs.”
    Mark Vaughn

    As for powertrain specifics, despite saying the car is electrically driven, Genesis declined to offer anything specific since any powertrain would be off in the future somewhere.

    “That’s an EV powertrain,” Donckwolke admitted. “But it’s too early to talk about that. We are working on this. And we don’t want now to come with a show car to talk about figures, which could be basically only theoretical. We are working with the right partners to get the right amount of performance, which will be, in my opinion, adequate performance to fit this styling. So it’s not supercar performance, it is adequate performance.”

    Regardless, the people walking by on the beach, a few journos, and maybe even some of you clicking through the photo gallery said they thought it would sell.

    “We’ve had some internal shows with this car, we already had hundreds of requests to build it already,” said the designer. “We basically are investigating how we can create icons for the brand. And this is one of the routes that we might take.”

    So what are the odds that we’re going to see a production version of this?

    “Let’s put it this way, I’m putting a huge amount of my energy to make it possible.”

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