(MCT) -- Pop a few buttons off most provocatively dressed Hyundais, and you will find four-cylinder hearts born to be mild.
Like a few big-city strutters you've known, they promise more than they can deliver. (I keep a tattered court document in a bottom drawer to remind me of mine.)
In fact, take a typical Hyundai to a wild party and it will doze off in the parking lot by 9 o'clock, probably dreaming of growing up to be a Lexus.
Don't get me wrong. Hyundais can comfortably transport us to a glassy office or a table at a local burger joint.
But few live up to their athletic stances or strong, tightly cut bodies when it comes to handling and driving dynamics.
They just look good by the pool.
So here's Hyundai's little irony:
Although the 2015 Genesis sedan appears to be as tame as ever - it's about the only member of the Hyundai family that doesn't dress to excess - this car has some fire in its feet.
You won't find any badges on its smooth fenders, but Hyundai sought some chassis-tuning help for the new Genesis from legendary Lotus.
And it works pretty well, giving the more sophisticated Genesis some decent dance moves.
I just wonder why the car doesn't shout a bit louder about it. (These days, I swell with pride when my socks match.)
Fortunately, I had the Genesis 5.0, equipped with the optional 420-horsepower V-8 and a lofty window sticker price of $55,000.
Just last year, I would have struggled to see much value in a $50,000 Hyundai. Cars like the Genesis and Equus just didn't offer the sort of refined handling and ride that buyers expect in expensive cars.
That may not be true anymore.
The first thing I noticed about the silver Genesis I had recently was that it looked larger.
But the truth is, the 4,300-pound rear-wheel-drive sedan sported about the same dimensions as the old car with the exception of a 3-inch-longer wheelbase.
With the front and rear wheels set farther apart, though, the Genesis somehow seemed a tad bit sleeker and more sure-footed.
Up front, a blunt five-bar grille faced into the wind almost upright, like a BMW or Audi. In keeping with prevailing style now, large, semi-dramatic headlamps swept around into long front fenders.
Fitting for this segment, the Genesis wore a long, slightly raised hood that flowed into a nicely raked-back windshield.
A conservative character line passing through the handles of the car's huge doors saved the sides from looking too slabbish.
Moreover, short overhangs front and rear helped the big sedan look mildly athletic - as did 245-40 tires up front and 275-35s on the rear wrapped around 19-inch turbine-style wheels.
It looked fine. I guess I just wanted to see a couple of crazed Hyundai lines running wild on the sides or the hood.
For some reason, the great 5-liter V-8 in the car I had was down 9 horsepower from last year, dropping slightly to 420.
You won't notice it.
For a company focused mostly on fuel-sipping four-cylinder engines, Hyundai bolts together a pretty sweet V-8.
It feels as smooth and refined as the Germans' V-8s. And at $55,000, the Genesis 5.0 costs less than many 5-series BMWs with a turbo-six and about the same as a well-equipped Lexus GS 350 with a V-6.
(I presume, incidentally, that Ford doesn't have some sort of trademark protection for "5.0," which it has long used to identify V-8 models of the Mustang.)
The engine jumps to life with even minor throttle inputs, its 383 pound-feet of torque growing rapidly from idle.
In fact, the engine seemed so responsive and flexible that I was a little surprised at Car and Driver's estimate of a 0-to-60 run in "only" 5.2 seconds.
The car felt faster with the throttle on the floor and the eight-speed automatic clicking off positive shifts.
As you might expect in a 2-ton car with a sizable V-8, fuel economy doesn't rate front page headlines: 15 miles per gallon in town and 23 on the highway.
What has changed, though, is the unflappable way the Genesis contends with life's straights and curves.
In "sport" mode, the big sedan just felt more confident, rolling along on smooth surfaces with the sort of firm, well-damped ride that suggested lots of fine-tuning.
Though the Genesis never seemed tossable, it did turn into sharp curves with fair enthusiasm and decent precision.
The car leaned a little in hard corners, but it was pretty minimal. Hitting the brakes hard in mid-curve to avoid a loopy street citizen who had suddenly stumbled off the sidewalk didn't upset it much.
Shockingly for a Hyundai, the Genesis' steering qualified for a considerable role in the car's much-improved handling.
Still a little thick at parking-lot speeds, the steering began to quicken and feel more linear at 30 mph, and by 70 or 80, it seemed pretty natural.
ON THE INSIDE
While I am still reluctant to think of the Genesis as a true luxury sedan, I have to admit the black interior in mine looked pretty upscale.
Slightly pliable leather-like material on the gently sculpted dashboard felt rich and featured stitching on its edges.
A large 9.2-inch touch screen was integrated smoothly into the dash - visible without being obtrusive.
Graceful climate and audio controls were laid out horizontally beneath the screen, European-style.
And get this, Germans: The stereo could be tuned with a real knob.
Meanwhile, flat-toned dark wood and a thin band of aluminum provided subtle trim on the dash and door tops.
Lightly pleated black leather seats with perforated centers featured gray piping on their edges that matched a gray headliner.
As you might expect given the size of the Genesis, leg- and head-room in back were plentiful.
So were the false warnings emitted by the car's various safety systems, which vibrated the steering wheels and sounded a warning if any vehicle was within 25 feet of us.
That was great fun in the fast-moving early-morning traffic on Central Expressway.
Actually, I didn't take many points away for it. With a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the Genesis is still infused with solid Hyundai genes.
But it moves now with most of the grace of a 5-series BMW or an E-class Mercedes-Benz - and that's a lot more significant than matching socks.
2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0
Type of vehicle: Five-passenger, full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan
Price as tested: $55,700
Fuel economy: 15 miles per gallon city, 23 highway
Weight: Estimated 4,300 pounds
Engine: Five-liter V-8 with 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Performance: 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds
SOURCES: Hyundai Motor America; Car and Driver
(c)2014 The Dallas Morning News
Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services