When the Hyundai Genesis was introduced in 2009 it was a radical departure from Hyundai's modest roots as a value brand. The idea of selling a luxury sedan to compete with established vehicles like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class seemed like a foolhardy attempt to bring their brand upscale. Hyundai's first luxury attempt was anything but foolhardy as the Genesis went on to win dozens of awards including Canadian and North American Car of the Year. Building a well-respected luxury car might not bring huge sales volume into Hyundai dealerships but by showing the world what Hyundai is capable of building has helped to move their less expensive models. For 2012 Hyundai has taken an already capable car and improved several areas including a sporting element to their design.
The original Genesis received many awards but they were for the build quality, drive and packaging, not exterior styling. From certain angles the outside looked like a Mercedes and from others a BMW or Honda. For 2012 Hyundai has removed this hodgepodge approach and smoothed out the design, making it more cohesive and appealing. Style sells. To be fair to Mercedes, there is more than a passing resemblance to the last generation S-Class. All models receive 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 around back. The V8 model is called R-Spec, which receives a few extra tweaks including tasty looking 19-inch wheels.