2012 Hyundai Genesis Review

Impressive and tempting in R-Spec form, the improved V6 makes the most compelling case for a Korean luxury sedan

2012 Hyundai Genesis Review

Before 2008, the phrase “Korean luxury car” would have been a punchline, but the Hyundai Genesis managed to elevate Hyundai from also-ran foreign manufacturer to a legitimate contender in the public’s eye.

FAST FACTS

1. New for 2012 the Hyundai Genesis gets an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 gets direct injection that helps add 43-hp for a total of 333-hp.

2. An R-Spec model joins the Genesis lineup with 19-inch wheels, high-performance summer tires, larger brakes, new transmission and steering settings, plus a modified suspension setup. It also gains a 5.0L V8 with a 44-hp improvement for a total of 429-hp.

3. The 2012 Genesis sedan starts at $34,200 and jumps significantly to $44,500 for the 4.6L V8. R-Spec models retail for $46,500.

4. Fuel economy improves across the board, with the 3.8L V8 now at 19/29-mpg, the 4.6L V8 at 17/26-mpg, while the R-Spec is pegged at 16/25-mpg.

Three years on and the Genesis is due for an update, and Hyundai has gone beyond the usual tweaked tail lights and new wheel designs. The big news for the 2012 Genesis is a power bump, with the base Genesis V6 now making 333 horsepower, up from 290. At the other end of the spectrum, a new Genesis R-Spec model with a stiffer suspension, tighter steering and a more aggressive wheel and tire package comes equipped with a direct-injection 5.0-liter V8 making 429 horsepower. The former top-dog Genesis with the 4.6-liter V8 remains in the lineup with the same 385-hp, although fuel economy has been improved by one click on the highway for a new 17/26-mpg rating.

R-SPEC A SHOWCASE FOR WHAT HYUNDAI CAN DO

During the technical briefing, Hyundai was quick to boast that the 5.0 is the most powerful motor ever developed by Hyundai, but equally coy when asked about expected sales numbers for the R-Spec, or what percentage of Genesis customers would opt for the $46,500 high-performance model. Clearly, this is a demonstration of what Hyundai can do rather than a volume model, but that didn’t stop us from making a bee-line for the R-Spec, even when conventional logic dictates that we’d only be set up for disappointment upon switching into the V6 model.

Despite being saddled with over 4,000 lbs of weight, the R-Spec hauls itself down the road with little abandon. Coming out of a traffic circle, we gently applied the throttle to see what would happen, and were granted with a microsecond powerslide before the traction control put a stop to our fun. Beyond the traffic circle, there was little in the way of curves (save for the occasional high speed sweeper) for us to test the improved steering, springs and damping, but we noticed that all three felt fairly firm, especially more so than the last Genesis we drove a couple years ago. Hyundai has added more assist to the R-Spec’s steering, something that we definitely welcome, but that may not be looked upon favorably by other Genesis drivers, who tend to trade in cars like the Lexus ES350 and Honda Accord.

The suspension calibrations of the Genesis was one area previously criticized for being both uncomfortable and not sporting enough. Given that we were on a largely straight, perfectly paved ribbon of black tarmac for the entire drive, it would be hard to fairly evaluate the suspension’s improvements, although we did feel certain firmness when tossing the R-Spec into corners. A better test would be a week on Midwestern, winter-afflicted pavement, and we’re hoping Hyundai takes the hint.

What everyone wants to know about is the new powerplant, and the 5.0-liter V8 is like most Hyundai engines; it does what it says on the tin with little fanfare and lots of competency. Anyone expecting an American-style rumbling small-block can stop reading right now, as this V8 is much closer to something you’d see from Lexus. It may not operate silently in the background like a Lexus V8, but the nature of the R-Spec calls for a bit more involvement, and a step on the throttle will launch the luxury sedan down the road at a rapid pace.

One criticism we do have is with the throttle tip-in, which we found awkward and stilted from a dead stop. In addition, the 8-speed automatic takes a brief pause when downshifting, but this isn’t exclusive of the Hyundai unit – we have never been enamored with 8-speed automatics and their multitude of ratios, and the gear-hunting is a general affliction rather than a specific issue.

UP-RATED V6 MAKES V8 A HARD SELL

As we handed off the keys to the R-Spec and hopped into a V6-powered Genesis, we were expecting to be a little underwhelmed by the 100 horsepower deficit, but that wasn’t the case. The base Genesis is more than adequate, with 333 horsepower and a chassis only slightly less sporting than the R-Spec. The V6 also weighs a few hundred pounds less, an important factor in everything from fuel consumption to performance.

We had trouble discerning the performance of the two cars – sure, the engines sound slightly different, the steering has a bit more slack on the V6, and the R-Spec can hit 60 mph in 5 seconds as opposed to just under 6 seconds for the base car, but does it really justify the roughly $3,000 price premium between a similarly equipped V6 and an R-Spec (a base Genesis V6 with no options and an R-Spec have a nearly $12,000 price gap)?

Our V6 tester came with all the bells and whistles of the R-Spec, like the 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, lane departure warning system, HID headlights, Bluetooth and in-dash navigation system, leading us to further question the necessity of the R-Spec. Sure, it’s a great symbol of Hyundai’s accomplishments, but with the significant price gap and superior fuel economy (19/29 mpg for the V6 versus 16/25 mpg for the R-Spec), we found ourselves more enamored with the plain-Jane 6-cylinder car. Even if the R-Spec looks like something out of a rap video and can serve up powerslides on demand, the V6 is the practical choice that doesn’t lose much in the way of performance, luxury or style.

If there is a reason to opt for the big 5.0-liter it’s that you’ve already committed to the idea of getting a V8 and with the price premium to step up from the 4.6-liter to the 5.0 just $2,000… well… why not?

THE VERDICT

Hyundai says their target Genesis customer is “the millionaire next door”, ostensibly a wealthy guy who is secure enough to drive a Hyundai, but probably wears a watch that you’ve never heard of, but costs more than a Rolex. While we wholeheartedly endorse the R-Spec, this kind of buyer isn’t too interested in the boy-racer aesthetic or the extra few thousand that the big engine costs. For them, the V6 is more than adequate, and if they really are millionaires, they probably have something more hardcore lurking in the garage anyways.

RELATED READING

2011 Chrysler 300 Review

2011 BMW 535i Review 2011 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost Review 2009 Acura RL

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked