Charleston, SC — My, how the fallen have become mighty. Hyundai’s also-ran status from the ‘90s has quickly turned into try to keep up with us in this century.
The company has turned out one success after another and isn’t slowing down. Even with new product in the pipeline it has had time to revise and refine offerings that are barely in mid-life status.
Yep, the Genesis — a luxury sedan that competes with cars far more expensive — has been tweaked. It’s also added a new model, the R-Spec, which adds revs and speed to a classy sedan.
There are now three Genesis Sedan models. There’s the base 3.8-liter V6 model that has three trim levels. There are two V8s: A 4.6 liter which is a carry-over from last year. The 5.0-liter has 429 horses and a revised suspension for a sportier feel.
All Genesis sedans get a slight facelift. The front grill and bumper are revised and the bumper gets new chrome treatment. The headlamps are more squinty with daytime running lights and LED accents. The outside mirrors are more elegant and have a motorized fold feature.
The rear is more square and elegant, looking very BMWish. The taillights are combination units and the rear bumper is stubbier with integrated dual exhaust tips.d Both 17-inch and 19-inch wheels are new as well.
It’s the R-Spec that got my attention. Hyundai has crafted a 5.0-liter engine that’s smooth and responsive, yet can return 16 city and 25 miles p
er gallon on the highway. Impressive for a 429 horsepower engine with 376 pounds-feet of torque. Hyundai achieves this in par
t by direct injection which it uses in all it’s engines. This beauty can scoot to 60 in 5.1 seconds, according to Hyundai.
I don’t doubt that claim. Riding around Charleston over hill and dale (and lots and lots of bridges) was exhilarating. A light tap of the gas and the car whisks off without much drama. The transmission slices through its eight (8) gears with precision and authority. The Shiftronic feature allows you pick your own gears. Kick downs seemed drama free and the cabin was absent of all noise.
Handling of the R-Spec is far much more aggressive than the 4.6 I also drove. It gets a lightweight 19 mm hollow-type rear stabilizer bar and higher front and rear spring rates. The shocks have been upgraded to Sachs ASDs that give a 25-30 percentage higher damping rate. This reduces body roll, increases stability, improves front and rear balance and allows faster turn-ins.
Does all that make this a sports car? Depends on who’s sport’s car you compare it with. I don’t think it’s quite an Audi or a BMW, but it’s more aggressive than the aging Lexus GS and ES sedans and maybe the Infiniti M sedan. It is certainly sporty on challenging roads. Steering, braking and handling never seem to come undone.
What this car has all over those is that it’s close enough in performance but nowhere near the price. The R-Spec cost $47,350. That includes destination and everything else. There’s no optional equipment. If the company has left out something major I didn’t notice.
People who buy the Genesis may first go after it for the bargain that it is but will quickly realize that Hyundai has got it right. It’s not just the price, it’s the performance. The Genesis sedan deserves its own second channel much like Acura and Lexus but the cost would be a lot for the company and would probably erase the price advantage it has over the competition.
That said, get one of these before the company realizes it can raise the price by thousands and still sell many them.