Review: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

By Brendan Moore

Hyundai wants you to think only good thoughts when you think of them; they certainly don’t want you to think that they make pretty good cars, “but.” The Korean automaker is really not interested in having any sort of qualifier come after their name anymore when their cars are being discussed. For instance, qualifiers like, Hyundai makes good cars, but they don’t have a sports car. Or, Hyundai makes good cars, but they don’t have a true luxury car. Or, Hyundai makes good cars, but they don’t make a sports sedan.

With that in mind, Hyundai has really expanded their lineup in recent years, and the results have sent competitors in nervous paroxysms. Consumers have noticed, too, and the Hyundai lineup is doing very well in terms of sales. “Value for the money,” quality, and yes, even styling seem to be recurring themes when consumers are asked what they like about their Hyundai.

That brings us to this review of the 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, the company’s take on injecting some sport into their Genesis luxury sedan.

The first thing Hyundai did was add horsepower to the Genesis (never a bad way to start). The standard 385 HP engine in the Genesis was uprated to 429 HP. They also added a sport suspension and some very nice-looking wheels and performance tires. This, the plethora of standard equipment on the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec to start with, makes for a very h, fast car.


It’s sort of bland-looking. The styling is not even close to being as good (or as daring) as the styling on the recent cars from Hyundai, cars like the new Sonata or the Veloster. And the handling is numb and a bit uneven when pushed – okay if you want conquest customers from Lexus, since they’ll feel right at home, but not okay if you’re going to play with the big boys from Germany, or say, the Cadillac CTS or the Jaguar XFR.

Also, I thought the downshifts in the eight-speed automatic were a bit slow and lazy, which hardly puts the sport into sports sedan.

After driving the Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec around for a week, I can say that it’s a good value for the money if you want luxury, room and horsepower (it’s faster and corners much better than the regular Genesis), but if you want a sports sedan, the car writes a check it can’t cash. It is an underachiever in terms of handling.

It’s like one of those sports teams put together by a rich owner who goes out and gets all the mega-talented free agents he can – the ingredients for a winner are all there, but ultimately, the team just doesn’t work together very well and they don’t put a lot of wins up on the board.
It’s a very good sedan; it’s just not a sports sedan. I enjoyed driving the car, but it is not going to strike fear into the hearts of any true sports sedans.

It would, however, be unwise to underestimate Hyundai in terms of the improvements they’re capable of when the redesign of this rolls around. Hyundai is very, very good at improving their cars and their competitors ignore their busy efforts at their own peril. I am 100% certain the next iteration of this car will have more sports sedan DNA injected into it.

My car had an MSRP of $46,535, which included:

Standard Equipment:
5.0-liter V-8
8-speed automatic transmission w/Shiftronic
Electronic stability control
Traction control
Lane departure warning system
Selective damping shock absorbers
R-Spec sport tuned multi-link suspension
19-in. machine finished alloy wheels
Rain-sensing wipers w/auto-defogging windshield
Leather seating w/heated seats
Cooled driver seat
Tilt/telescopic steering column
Power sunroof
Power rear sunshade
Lexicon 17-speaker audio system
Navigation system w/8-inch display
Driver information system w/multimedia controller
Electronic parking brake

Options: (only one) an iPod cable for $35.00

Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined) 16/25/19 mpg
5.0-liter aluminum V-8
Horsepower: 429 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
8-speed automatic transmission w/Shiftronic
Curb weight: 4046 lb
19-inch machine finished alloy wheels

The price premium for this model over the standard Genesis is very small and gain is large, so if I were a Genesis buyer, I’d definitely plump for this model, because even though it’s not the equal of true sports sedans, it’s still a huge bargain in terms of a luxury sedan, and, as I noted previously, it certainly performs better in every way over the standard Genesis.

And for very little extra money – the R-Spec is only around two grand more than the 4.6 liter Genesis sedan. Now, that is a sweet deal, even if you can’t challenge a BMW M5 in the twisty bits.

Hyundai provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting, a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area, where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at .


Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at .

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  1. Not everyone wants to go real fast, you know. Some of us prefer to catered to in the lap of luxury as we roll along towards our destination.

  2. You may prefer that, and that’s okay, but if that’s the case, are you going to buy a car that supposed to be a sports sedan?

    I think most people that buy a car labeled as a sports sedan expect a sports sedan.

  3. What sense does it make to build a car that 97% of buyers don’t have the ability to drive at such limits. I think Hyundai is doing just fine.

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