THE 2012 HYUNDAI GENESIS R-SPEC
The 2008 Hyundai Genesis
marked a major milestone for Hyundai where the company began to focus on cutting edge design, non-compromising technology and newfound focus on “luxury”
– a word not normally associated with Hyundai. Before the Genesis, I considered Hyundais nothing more than budget cars I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in. Now, with each and every new release, Hyundai captures more of my respect and attention.
The 2012 Genesis R-Spec is more of a “refresh” of the 2008 Genesis than an “all new” car. The only immediately noticeable improvements are large 19” rims (similar to those on the Lincoln MKS), headlamps with highly stylized and distinctive LED light piping, a bumper with integrated dual exhaust and power-folding mirrors with turn signals.
Unfortunately, the Genesis' sheetmetal doesn’t quite match up with the rest of Hyundai’s fleet which wear the eye-catching “fluidic design” sculpturing. Until it’s updated, it will continue to look out of place on their lots.
There also aren’t many body colors optional. You can purchase a regular Genesis in a variety of colors, while the R-Spec is limited to just three: silver, dark silver and black.
Inside, not much has changed. The driver gets heated/cooled seats, but, the front passenger seat only offers heating. The rear couch also gets heated seats. The navigation system is still operated in the same manner as any “i-Drive” German saloon's and there is still no touchscreen available. On the plus side, interior material feel is very good. The leather and soft touch materials all feel upscale, but, my disappointment fell on the look of the buttons and switches. They look dated and out of place.
The Genesis is a very comfortable car to ride in whether you are the passenger or driver and the backseat offers a good amount of leg space. 5 Adults of average size (4 my size) could be comfortable in this car. DRIVING THE 5.0 R-SPEC HYUNDAI GENESIS
The 2012 Genesis R-Spec is equipped with Hyundai’s new 5.0-liter version of the “Tau” V8 they released in the 2008 Genesis 4.6-liter at launch. The R-Spec offers 426 Horsepower and 376 pounds of torque. 96 horses more than the V6, but, only 51 more than the 4.6-liter version.
It also offers an in-house 8-speed automatic transmission that helps it achieve 16 mpg city and 25mpg highway. You might normally associate these numbers with the likes of Lexus or BMW, but, they only serve as a reminder of how far Hyundai has come in a relatively short time.
If you want a luxury vehicle, that can get fast on demand, won’t break the bank and good fuel economy is a must, the Genesis definitely delivers. I’ve driven the R-spec twice and I consistently observed upwards of 18 mpg (combined driving).
Unfortunately, where the R-spec falls short is in actually justifying its $2000 premium over the 4.6-liter Genesis with the same 8-speed. You'll take a 1mpg hit on both the city and highway estimates, but, the R-Spec really isn’t much faster.
On paper, the 4.6-liter Genesis climbs from 0-60 in roughly 5.3 seconds and returns to 0 in about 165 feet. On paper, the R-Spec climbs from 0-60 in about 5.1 seconds and returns to 0 in about 160 feet.
In reality, however, what I observed doesn’t quite satisfy my idea of “performance”. I started my test accelerations by placing the car on a straight strip and accelerating flat out. I also merged into highway traffic as quickly as I could reasonably go. The car does offer butt-in-your-seat thrust between 0 -60, but, it’s at the 60mph mark where there is a “lull” of sorts and the engine seems to feel out of breath. The SRT8 sedans have 6.4-liter V8 engines which will easily race to 85 mph before the car shows any sign of tiring. Granted, there is virtually no place in America you can actually (legally) take advantage of the limits of either of these cars, but, where the extra power would be most desirable is entering highway onramp traffic without having to yield for a large gap before proceeding.
I noticed a small amount of wheel slippage in the standard 245/45/r19 all-season tires. If you don’t mind dropping another $1400, Hyundai will equip the R-Spec with Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole-Position summer tires. This is the only performance option offered in-house. No aggressive exhaust systems, shift paddles or carbon fiber trims are offered.
The 5.0-liter Tau is energetic, but, the real improvements can be felt behind the wheel. The steering weight/ feel have been improved and body motions have been tweaked with updated suspension elements. While the less powerful models have dead-spots in their on-center steering, the R-Spec has been upgraded to track lighter inputs more accurately. Road isolation was compliant despite the low profile tires and large wheels. Interior noise was remarkably quiet- even at highway speeds. This Genesis’ road feel is remarkably smoother and thanks to the bump in speed, it feels lighter on its feet than its predecessor.
While I felt relaxed driving was superb, I would have felt better about having a touchscreen to make inputs simpler. Though my S550 has an “i-Drive” controller similar to the Genesis, the user interface in the Hyundai is more confusing to navigate. I’d also like Hyundai to add cooling to the passenger seat and consider an optional massage seat function like that found in their Equus
. LET’S COMPARE THE R-SPEC to the 2012 CHRYSLER 300c SRT8/ DODGE CHARGER SRT8 I HAVE A YOUTUBE COMPARISON:
I have already decided that my next car will be a 2013 Supercharged Chrysler 300c SRT8
. I happen to love fast cars with interiors I can squeeze my gigantic body into. There aren’t any other cars on the market that offer the performance, interior space, technology, luxury features and reasonable pricing that an SRT8 sedan offers, It appears, however, that Hyundai has decided to try and challenge Chrysler for their domination of this segment.
The R-Spec, fully loaded, carries a sticker price of $47,350
with a destination fee of $850.
A loaded Charger SRT8
carries a sticker price of about $50,000 and the 300c SRT8
, about $54,500 (give or take a few hundred for dealer fees).
Both SRT8s offer features the R-Spec doesn’t: heated/cooled cup holders, heated/cooled seats for both driver and passenger, touchscreen navigation radio systems and an interior that is a visual upgrade from the 5.7-liter V8 version. The SRT8s have attractive metal steering wheels, embroidery on their leather, carbon fiber trim, bellowing exhausts and aggressive seat bolsters. The 300 SRT8 even offers a dual panel moonroof. Both SRT8s also include a special performance data system which tracks numerous stats: 0-60 times, 60-0 times, quarter miles, see your maximum G-forces pulled in any direction or even see how the steering wheel angle affects your drifting. The SRT8 models justify the premium price I’ll have to pay in lieu of the more economical 5.7-liter model.
The R-Spec offers none of these things, but, it still has plenty going for it. It has a softer ride and it’s quieter inside that the SRT8s– even at full throttle. It offers more rear legroom and the interior materials feel higher in quality than what you’ll find in the SRT8s. With gas prices currently at $3.80/gallon premium, you’ll appreciate the ability to use regular unleaded without sacrificing warranty protection. The SRT8s can only use premium. The Genesis will easily return over 18mpg combined driving while the SRT8 musters fewer than 16. OVERALL
Like its predecessor, Genesis continues to offer luxury, technology and performance without the sticker shock of other imports
. Dare I say it… Genesis R-Spec might be a better car than the Lexus LS460
In fact, if you aren’t a “badge buyer” the Genesis offers you far more for your money than the $50,500 Mercedes E350
and the $47,000 BMW 5-series. Problem is: how many German buyers can a “Hyundai” truly sway? The base 2012 Genesis V6
offers an adequate 333HP and lets you get in at $32,000. You can equip the V6 like the R-spec up to $43,000. For $1500 more, you step into the more-than-adequate 4.6-liter V8 Genesis. Add another $2000 to that and you've got yourself an R-Spec.
Considering you could
get the base Genesis equipped like the R-Spec for thousands less with either the V6 or 4.6-Liter V8, it would seem logical that the R-Spec should be reserved for those of us who challenge speed limits on a daily basis or want boasting rights. However, that mysterious “R” in “R-Spec” comes closer to meaning “refined” than “racing”. Yes this car can outperform the standard V8 Genesis, but, not by much. There really isn’t anything to justify the premium price you’d pay over the 4.6-liter Genesis… not even the extra horsepower. In real life, the V6 model will reach 60 from a standstill in a very competitive 6 seconds.
The R-spec will give you more aggressive handling than the lesser trims, but, unless you find yourself at speeds above 75 on a regular basis, it doesn't make sense to spend the extra cash. The lack of visual “goodies” in the R-Spec is a disappointment. For a racing enthusiast, the SRT8 models (especially the Dodge Charger) are far more enticing.
Amount Paid (US$):
Model and Options:
R-Spec with all season tires