Auto Review: A Genesis with attitude

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Feature Article - posted Thu., Oct. 27, 2011
- Contributed Photo

If there’s an upstart in the luxury car field, it’s Hyundai. They have been infiltrating the market with competitive products that have the features and refinement that define the class, while at the same time undercutting the opposition in terms of price. Their full-size Genesis arrived in the U.S. market in 2008, and the rear-drive sedan made waves with its high level of quality and state-of-the-art engineering. Roomy, luxurious and a very solid, quiet ride, the Genesis offered both V6 and V8 engines and all the latest in safety features.

For 2012, the Korean company has expanded the car’s appeal with a new performance edition called the R-Spec. This is a Genesis armed with a very powerful engine and the chassis to handle it, all while continuing to pamper the occupants with elegant surroundings and the latest in luxury features. It does this while still charging considerably less than the competition, all in a quest to make upscale motoring available to a broader audience.

The rear-wheel drive powertrain of the R-Spec is at the cutting edge of the latest engineering practices, with some very sophisticated hardware. The engine is a potent five-liter “Tau” V8 with 429 horsepower. Direct injection fuel technology is employed, and this advanced fuel delivery system helps deliver substantial muscle while lowering emissions and increasing fuel economy compared with conventional fuel injections systems.

Hyundai has created their most powerful engine ever and it is matched with an eight-speed (that’s no typo – it really does have eight speeds) automatic transmission with a manual Shiftronic sport mode. This engine also has specific modifications to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH in autospeak) to maintain a luxury-car level of polish. As you would expect, acceleration is effortless with 60 mph arriving in a scant 5.79 seconds. The eight-speed transmission is practically invisible in operation, in keeping with the high level of finesse that the performance luxury car class requires. Further R-Spec performance enhancements include a firmer, re-tuned suspension (including Sachs Amplitude Selective Damping shock absorbers), recalibrated steering and larger, more powerful brakes and high-performance tires. It all adds greater roadworthiness to an already very comfortable luxury car.

In both the interior and exterior styling, Hyundai has done a superb job of keeping things upscale without becoming overstated or garish. Especially impressive is the intelligent design, for while many of the latest high-tech electronic tools are present (Smart Cruise Control and a Lane Departure Warning System are prime examples), the instrument and control clusters are easy to understand and master, without any unconventional (and confusing) interfaces.

The R-Spec Genesis brings a heaping helping of performance to an already luxurious platform, at a price that is thousands less than the existing players. The 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec is EPA-rated 16 MPG city/25 highway and has a base price of $46,500. With options, the MSRP came to $46,535.

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