2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec

Print| Email a Friend| Back

Date Posted: March 21, 2012
By Zack Spencer

For 2012 Hyundai updates the Genesis with more power, a new 8-speed automatic, much better styling and a new trim called R-Spec..

The Scoop

The Hyundai Genesis has been a success in terms of promoting the brand's ability to build and design at the highest level. Introduced in 2009, the sedan version won both the Canadian and North American Car of the Year awards and sent a shot across the bow of established brands. A year later Hyundai introduced a coupe under the Genesis name but these two products should not be confused, one is a luxury sedan the coupe is a smaller, very sporty car. It is surprising they share the same name; the coupe could have been called Tiburon, which was Hyundai last attempt at a sporty two-door. Both the sedan and coupe have received major updates recently. For those looking for a powerful, eye appealing full-sized sedan on a budget, this R-Spec version is a head turning option.

The Skin

The Genesis sedan is sold in two basic trims, a V6 and then the V8 R-Spec model seen hear. Both receive exterior updates for 2012 including new headlights with LED accents, a bigger grille opening, a new front bumper with chrome trim along with thicker rocker panels, brighter side window trim, new wheel designs, improved rear taillights, bumper and exhaust tips. What sets the R-Spec apart are very aggressive 19-inch polished alloy wheels, extra chrome around the windows and dark chrome surrounding the more aggressive head lamps. The first version of the Genesis was a perfect example of design by committee, where this model has a much more cohesive look. What makes the R-Spec even more attractive is an ''all-in'' price of $53,499; cheap compared to anything from Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

The Cockpit

Hyundai committed more to exterior updates than interior tweaks. The basic design that started in 2009 remains intact in the inside and for the most part this is a good thing. The fit and finish is as polished as anything on the road and gives Lexus a run for their money. The computer interface is surprisingly easy to use, I found it simple to change radio frequencies and set stations, BMW could learn a thing or two from Hyundai! Improvements to the interior include heated rear seats on this R-Spec and logo'd door sills and floor mats. What could use improvement is the length of the seat bottoms, which do not extend to support the thighs. This might seam trivial but in the luxury sedan segment, these small details can be a deal breaker.

The Ride

What makes the Genesis remarkable is the level of technology added to the drivetrain, including more power, a new transmission and adjusted suspension. Both the V6 and this V8 received a big jump in power. The 3.8L V6 gets direct injection and a 43hp bump in power to 333hp. The biggest change is the move from a 4.6L V8 to a 5.0L V8 including a bump from 385hp to 429hp. Both models get a new 8-speed automatic transmission, which is right at the top of the class, competing with brand costing much more. What this transmission lacks is a sport setting for a more lively drive, the driver can only leave the shifter in drive or shift manually but there is no in between. The R-Spec also benefits from stiffer springs, shocks and thicker sway bars. In the city the R-Spec can be a bit choppy but on the open highway it is a treat.


It is interesting that Hyundai has limited the Genesis to specific trims depending on the engine size. For example the V6 model is not offered with the R-Spec exterior and suspension tweaks. The opposite is true with the V8; it isn't available with the regular suspension found in the V6. Buyers who are looking at a full-sized luxury car receive a lot a value in the R-Spec, it has a ton of power, good looks and a stable ride. The difference between this car and much more expensive sedans are features like adjustable suspension, extra adjustment on the interior, power trunk closure and sports settings for the transmission. Considering the price advantage this car has, it is easy to overlook many of these features. On the whole the Genesis is a lot of car and a much better looking one too.

The Good, The Bad


Value. The closest competitor is the Lexus LS and it costs over $83,000.


No sport setting, adjustable suspension or all wheel drive.

The Lowdown

Power: 5.0L V8 with 429hp

Fill-up: 13.1L/8.1L/100km (city/highway)

Backup: 5-year/100,000km

Sticker price: $53,499

Share it