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Auto Show:  2011 Chicago Auto Show

2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec - Chicago Auto Show

February 2011 author photo


February 10, 2011

As if Hyundai didn’t have enough to talk about, they began their day at Chicago’s Auto Show on the receiving end of the Family Car of the Year award, an inaugural offering presented by Chicago’s Midwest Automotive Media Association. Won by the Hyundai Sonata (finalists – among some nine contenders – included Jeep’s Grand Cherokee and Honda’s Odyssey), the accolade is but one of literally dozens bestowed on Hyundai’s hot-selling sedan.

This win in the early morning served as a preamble for Hyundai’s big news: a significant upgrade to the well-received Genesis sedan, dubbed 5.0 R-Spec. The obvious intent is to give consumers who are cross-shopping with German brands a more Eurocentric take on Hyundai’s well-received luxo barge – in other words, more performance.

The heart of the modified menu is under the hood. The well-received 4.6 liter V8 is bored out to 5.0 liters, making the new 5.0 ‘Tau’ their most powerful powertrain – 429 HP – ever. R-Spec-specific 19-inch alloys deliver that power to the ground, while upgrades to suspension and steering calibrations keep the whole package grounded. The visual tweaks, to the credit of Hyundai’s product team, are subtle – it’s more about the smile behind the wheel than having a big vinyl applique on the hood. And when filling the tank you’re still grinning. Despite horsepower upgrades, the EPA rating is down only one mile per gallon in city and highway driving, achieving 16/25 in the city/highway versus the 17/26 for the standard 4.6.

On top of the Autobahn-inspired mods on the 5.0 R-Spec, the entire Genesis sedan lineup will benefit – in model year 2012 – with a host of refinements. The Genesis’ base engine, a 3.8 liter V6, received direct injection technology, bumping horsepower from 290 to 333, and torque – a more reliable measure for daily driving – from 264 lb-ft to 291. Notably, Hyundai tells us that with the enhancements to injection and compression ratio their 3.8 V6 now has more power per liter (87.6) than those V6 powertrains offered by Lexus, BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

All engines receive an eight-speed automatic, more aggressive grille and front fascia, redesigned taillights, new headlight design and ‘sportier’ rocker panel design. The 3.8 Genesis benefits from new 17-inch alloys, while all models receive new colors for the woodgrain when matched with black, beige or saddle leather interiors.

DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec - Chicago Auto Show - Autotrader