Hyundai is finally breaking into legitimate luxury territory with the 2015 Genesis sedan.

As usual, the company is punching above its weight by offering a product that theoretically competes with much pricier vehicles wearing more prestigious badges.

There are two engines available: a 3.8-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8 that make 311 and 420 hp respectively. They transfer power via an eight-speed automatic to the rear wheels or optionally to all four with the V6. Canadians also get a chance to buy the V8 model with all-wheel drive, but that isnít true in the U.S.

But thatís really beside the point because the powertrain didnít change dramatically between the first and second generations. Everything else did.

The platform is new and, for what itís worth, tuned on the NŁrburgring with help from Lotus. The Genesis is neither light nor terribly sporty to drive, but if thereís one thing development time on the Green Hell seems to deliver, itís the opportunity for engineers to suss out certain undesirable aspects of a car that might otherwise remain unnoticed.

While the Genesis certainly canít compete with the driving dynamics you would get in a BMW 5 Series or Cadillac CTS, it will do you one better by feeling like a quiet, comfortable and planted luxury sedan. If Cadillac is trying to resume status as a luxury auto brand by virtue of rear-wheel drive performance, I say let them have it while Hyundai puts hands on customers looking for an alternative to the common denominator.

You might be surprised by how much the Genesis is capable of on challenging roads. I certainly was.

And even if that isnít on your agenda, itís hard to argue the fact that Hyundai offers its most premium trim package on both the six- and eight cylinder models that adds expensive feeling open pore wood inserts. Similarly, the leather upholstery is surprisingly soft and the infotainment interface is a breeze to navigate and a pleasure to look at.

2015 Car of the Year Nominee: Hyundai Genesis - News