Drive Wire: December 10, 2015

The Genesis G90, a new Benz E-Class, tougher safety ratings, a mountaineering airbag, and sick motorcycle tricks.

Hey guys, it’s Christina Thompson and this is Drive Wire for Thursday, December 10th.

Hyundai has revealed the G90, the first car in their new “Genesis” luxury brand. About the size of the top-tier Germans—the S-Classes and 7-Series sedans—it will be priced on a tier lower. However, it’s lives up to Wuropean standards: it has a 419-horsepower V-8, an interior featuring Italian leather and real wood trim, and all the gadgets and gizmos in the infotainment system. Hyundai’s “athletic elegance” puts it all in a striking package. We’ve never been so psyched to drive a Hyundai.

The new Mercedes-Benz E-class will debut at the Detroit Auto Show, but Benz leaked shots of its new interior. It looks absolutely sumptuous. The top-of-the-line model gets a crystal clear digital dash, which can be set to three different styles, classic, progressive, or sport. The steering wheel incorporates touch-sensitive gesture command pads to control infotainment. And the whole interior will be awash in customizable LED lighting. If the car’s performance is half as good as its interior, we’ll gladly take it for a spin.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Association is going to make it harder for automakers to score the five-star safety ratings that are so popular with consumers. They’re doing this by taking active collision-avoidance technology into consideration when awarding stars, so everything from blind-spot detection to automatic braking is on the table. The takeaway? It’s one more step on the road to self-driving cars, since a better safety rating for a car that can actively control itself is a powerful move in the direction of the autonomous automobile. Upping safety standards is not only good for the autonomous car industry, but it will drive all manufacturers to make a better car for the general public.

Check out today’s gear pick, the Mammut Pro Protection is an active airbag-ready backpack for mountaineers. The airbag can be purchased separately from this otherwise fantastic framed pack, which has all the attachment bells and whistles an alpine adventurer could ask for. Regardless of how comfortable you are with the terrain, you should be better safe than sorry with the latest in outdoor safety.

What do you get when you combine a monstrous motorcycle, an abandoned factory and Romain Jeandrot? One intense Gymkhana video. For nearly ten minutes, Romain flies in and out of buildings, weaves through obstacles and performs insane acts of balance we would be afraid to do on solid ground, nevermind on a motorcycle. With countless close calls, we’re glad to see this didn’t end with a nasty case of road rash.

That’s it for today’s edition of Drive Wire. For more, be sure to come back to thedrive.com, and follow us @thedrive on all your favorite social media platforms.