Jeff Thisted: The Hyundai Genesis provides everything you've come to expect in a luxury sedan, only at a much lower price than the competition.
Jeff: And for 2012, there are some minor changes to the grille, bumpers, the headlights, the taillights... But the real changes Shawntey is going to tell you about - they're under the hood.
Shawntey: There are three engines that power the new Genesis sedan: a 333-horsepower V6, a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 385 horsepower and the new five-liter V8 that puts out 429 horsepower in the new R-Spec model, which we have here today.
Jeff: And all three of those engines come with an 8-speed automatic transmission attached, and you've got manual shift controls, which lets you shift whenever you want to.
Shawntey: The 4.6 gets electronic fuel injection, while the 3.8 and the five-liter use direct fuel injection to achieve their hefty outputs.
Compared to its more expensive rivals, the Genesis lacks some refinements. Instead of real wood used in the Mercedes, there are leather surfaces on the dash, the door panels and the center console. Now these seats are soft and pliant, though, and much wider than most European cars.
Jeff: The control knobs and buttons look and feel dull, but the Genesis comes with all the accessories you'd expect in a modern luxury sedan.
Shawntey: Like standard Bluetooth and a navigation system and backup camera. And an available 17-speaker Lexicon audio system that's one of the best in any car, at any price.
Jeff: And only the base Genesis comes without a standard navigation system, which is offered in either the Premium or Technology option packages. Standard on all models are XM radio, iPod, USB and auxiliary input jacks and heated front seats.
Shawntey: The Premium package adds 18-inch wheels. Now the Technology package ups the ante even more with front and rear parking sensors, upgraded leather upholstery, heated rear seats and that amazing stereo system.
Jeff: The Genesis starts at just over $34,000, but, for 12 grand more, the R-Spec has absolutely everything - including 19-inch wheels and sport-tuned transmission, steering and suspension.
Shawntey: Hyundai's available Lane Departure Warning System monitors the road and chimes in if the driver starts to change lanes without signaling.
Cabin noise is at an absolute minimum, even on the highway.
Jeff: Even in this R-Spec, with the stiffer Sport Suspension package, has the smooth ride and feel of a luxury car.
Shawntey: And with a reported 0-to-60 time of 5.3 seconds, the R-Spec stacks up well against cars like the Lexus GS460 and the BMW 550i. Fuel mileage for the 3.8-liter is 18 miles per gallon city and 28 highway. Even the five-liter V-8 gets a respectable 16 city and 25 highway.
The Genesis may lack some of the elegance of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and some of the cutting-edge technology of the BMW 5 Series.
Jeff: That's right. But for thousands of dollars less, the Hyundai Genesis delivers an incredibly well-equipped car with a solid level of comfort and convenience, and in the case of the R-Spec, a lot of power, too!
In November 2012, Kia and Hyundai adjusted the fuel economy ratings on some 2011-2013 models. This article has been modified to reflect the accurate EPA ratings.