Used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec
Edmunds' Expert Review
With handsome styling, generous luxury features and engine power to match, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis takes its rightful place among established luxury sedan rivals.
The Hyundai Genesis is aptly named. Although the Korean automaker's luxury sedan isn't creating a new segment from scratch, it has created a category in which performance, power, luxury and comfort exist in balance with incredible value. Simply put, no other car offers so much for so little as the 2012 Hyundai Genesis.
For 2012, an already strong engine lineup is bolstered by a 429-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 (included with the new R-Spec model), while direct-injection technology now catapults the base V6 well past 300 hp. A new eight-speed automatic transmission also helps the Genesis achieve better fuel economy. Outside, the Genesis receives some styling tucks, with tighter, more sporting looks front and rear.
Inside the silent and spacious cabin, high-quality leather covers the dash, doors, consoles and most other points that you'll come in contact with. Soft, pliant seats will keep driver and passengers alike cradled in comfort for short hops and road trips. And when the hushed and muffled sound of the road becomes too much to bear, the two available Lexicon audio systems will liven the cabin with full, rich surround sound. The 17-speaker version is truly one of the best stereos in any car at any price.
Its price and humble lineage might make the 2012 Hyundai Genesis seem more of a competitor to the likes of the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus or Toyota Avalon. But it's actually more of a bargain-priced rival to premium striders like the Infiniti M or even German midsize sedans.
In this company the Genesis shows only minor deficiencies. It lacks an all-wheel-drive option and its braking distances are a bit long, for example. The new R-Spec model also lacks a degree of ride and handling sophistication you'd find in the European models it's targeting. But these are minor problems compared to what is likely the largest obstacle the Genesis faces in the marketplace: whether or not buyers will embrace the badge on its trunk lid.
trim levels & features
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis is a full-size, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan available in 3.8, 4.6, 5.0 and 5.0 R-Spec trim levels (the numbers denote engine displacement).
The Genesis 3.8 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (includes power lumbar), a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.
The Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, automatic wipers, power-folding side mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather dash and door trim, driver memory functions, a power rear sunshade, a rearview camera, a navigation system with real-time traffic, a 7-inch touchscreen interface and a 14-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system with a CD/DVD player.
The Technology package adds or supplements Premium package equipment with adaptive HID headlights, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, an electronic parking brake, upgraded leather upholstery, a ventilated driver seat, heated rear seats, an enhanced Bluetooth system, a rotary-knob based multimedia interface with 8-inch display, and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with HD radio and an in-dash six-CD/DVD changer.
The Genesis 4.6 includes Premium and Technology features as standard equipment but substitutes a wood-trimmed steering wheel for a leather-wrapped piece. The Genesis 5.0 is identically appointed, with the exception of the more powerful engine. The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec incorporates all Premium and Technology package features, plus 19-inch wheels and sport-tuned transmission, suspension and steering. High-performance summer tires are optional on the R-Spec.
performance & mpg
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 gets a 3.8-liter direct-injected V6 that produces 333 hp and 291 pound-feet of torque. Like every Genesis, rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, this engine took the Genesis from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.
The Hyundai Genesis 4.6 features a 4.6-liter V8 good for 378 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque with regular gas, and 385 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque with premium. Estimated fuel economy is 16/25/19.
The Hyundai Genesis 5.0 and R-Spec join the lineup with a 5.0-liter direct-injected V8 making 429 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the R-Spec hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16/25/18.
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis comes standard with antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front and rear side airbags and side curtain airbags. Parking sensors, lane-departure warning and a rearview camera are optional on the 3.8 and standard on the 4.6 and 5.0 R-Spec. In Edmunds brake testing, the Genesis 3.8 came to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet, while the 4.6 stopped in 124. Both are average distances, but the R-Spec's 112-foot stop with its optional summer tires is excellent.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, meanwhile, awarded the Genesis the best possible score of "Good" in its frontal offset, side and roof strength tests.
The soft ride of most 2012 Hyundai Genesis models is a good indicator of the car's luxury intentions, and thankfully it lacks the disconnected float that characterizes some other sleepy cruisers. When called upon, the Genesis can perform evasive maneuvers predictably and with little drama. Steering doesn't provide much feedback, but it's reasonably precise and suits the car's purpose. Thanks to extensive sound insulation, the Genesis is also a remarkably quiet car.
Engine power also more evenly matches other premium brands, with Genesis V6 and V8 models delivering smooth and linear acceleration. The new 5.0 models are just downright fast, matching the acceleration potential of V8-powered sport sedans that cost thousands more. However, unlike its regular Genesis counterparts, the R-Spec suffers a firm ride over broken pavement that sets it apart in a bad way from those aforementioned sport sedans.
If not for the sweeping "H" logo on the Genesis' steering wheel, most people would likely think they're driving a Lexus. This is especially true of the fully loaded model, which offers a full complement of modern comforts and conveniences wrapped in interior materials that feel rich and well-built. The Genesis cabin clearly takes aim at the Japanese luxury standard-bearer, as even the crisp, bright electroluminescent gauges have a Lexus-like appearance.
Controls are well laid out throughout the Genesis price and trim range, while the task of commanding the more complicated available electronic systems -- included with navigation -- is accomplished with either a touchscreen or control knob and visual display. We wish there were stereo preset buttons with the latter setup, however, as it can take awhile to click and turn your way to the radio station you want. The multi-speaker Lexicon sound systems are also very impressive, with the 17-speaker version being one of the best systems found in any car at any price.
Befitting a luxury touring car, the front seats of the Genesis provide plenty of comfort for both driver and passenger on longer trips. The same can be said of the rear seats, which offer optional heaters, in addition to the ample head- and legroom afforded backseat passengers. The rear seats don't fold down for additional cargo space, but a pass-through feature accommodates longer items that won't fit in the 15.9-cubic-foot trunk.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
We're sitting across from a man named Skip. He's being interviewed as part of an effort to find out how people research cars, and after doing so himself, Skip has decided he will buy a 2012 Hyundai Genesis.
Now, this distinguished, white-haired gentleman in the black suit has the money to buy a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But after researching, driving, poking, prodding and stuffing his golf clubs into their trunks, he's found that not only is the Genesis a vastly better value, but it actually meets his needs better.
The fact that a Hyundai is being considered alongside flagship luxury cars at all is reason for the Korean company to pop open a few bottles of Soju and celebrate. But resting on such laurels is not in Hyundai's relentlessly self-improving makeup. Its midsize luxury sedan can be better and swing for farther fences, and to do so, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec has been created.
This new range-topping trim for the refreshed 2012 Genesis is the only way to get the equally new 5.0-liter version of Hyundai's Tau V8. It's a bored-out version of the 4.6-liter V8 bolstered by direct injection and a higher compression ratio. The result is a rating of 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.
Not only does this make it the most powerful engine ever produced by Hyundai's car division (there's certainly some Korean-market bus with something beefier), it also boasts the most horsepower among a group of V8-powered luxury sedans that includes the BMW 550i and Infiniti M56.
However, when we strapped the R-Spec onto our friendly neighborhood dyno, the Hyundai didn't quite match its Japanese rival. While the M56 sends 380 hp to the wheels, the Hyundai manages "only" 364. Either Infiniti is being coy or Hyundai is being optimistic, but they can't both be right.
Infiniti scores another victory on our drag strip, besting the Hyundai by 0.3 second from zero to 60 thanks to its apparent power advantage and roughly 200 fewer pounds. Still, the R-Spec takes only 5.3 seconds to hit 60 (5.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout as on a drag strip), which is on par with the 550i, Audi A6 3.0T and Mercedes-Benz E550. In other words, it may not be top dog, but it's still damned quick and holds its own against some very distinguished company.
It's also capable of a rather epic tire-scorching burnout, as well as the sort of spine-in-your-seat punch you expect from a big V8. Power delivery is absolutely effortless and buttery smooth, but without the sort of aural histrionics that'll weaken the knees of car-loving passersby. However, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec has an ability to shock fellow motorists like few other cars on the road — you just don't expect an anonymous Korean luxury sedan to take off in such an exuberant manner.
Eight Is Too Much
On the highway, the 5.0 clearly has more than enough passing power, but it's let down by its eight-speed automatic transmission. Now standard throughout the Genesis lineup, this new eight-speed is said to improve acceleration, shift smoothness and fuel economy.
It may indeed do all that, but despite the more aggressive shift schedule and throttle mapping of the R-Spec, it also has a tendency to feel flummoxed by its multitude of gear choices when the time comes to downshift. You'll be cruising along in 8th, lay into the accelerator for a pass, then wait as the transmission realizes a drop to 7th or 6th isn't sufficient since both are also overdrive gears. You'll likely end up in 5th, but by then, your passing moment may have passed.
Sure, there's a manual option with the gated console shifter (no paddles), but shift response is absolutely glacial. It will also often overrule your judgment, swapping cogs long before redline.
Suspension Needs Some Work
The soggy transmission is not the first indication that this 2012 Hyundai Genesis doesn't exactly live up to the sport sedan moniker. On relatively smooth highway blacktop, the sport-tuned suspension is firm, but within the realm of comfort.
Slow things down, however, and it starts to show the same sort of unsophisticated and unpleasantly firm feel on rough city pavement of other Hyundais and Kias with "sport tuning." Other cars in this class are firm, but they don't come with the relentless lateral bobbing and jostling that'll leave you pawing your forehead and declaring, "Enough, already!"
The 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec's thicker rear stabilizer bars, higher front and rear spring rates and a 25-30 percent higher damping rate quite simply don't add up to a ride befitting a luxury car. The new hardware does generate better performance numbers, though.
Compared to the Genesis 4.6 (which will continue to be sold), the R-Spec gained 2.3 mph through the slalom for a speed of 64.9 mph, slightly slower than its main competition. With its optional summer tires, the R-Spec fared better on the skid pad, rounding the circle with 0.88g of grip. That's a fair bit better than the last 550i we tested, though not quite as sticky as the M56 and A6 3.0T. Its 112-foot stop from 60 mph is dead even for the class.
Indeed, the R-Spec shows that it has some skill around corners, whether at our track or tackling quick transitions on canyon roads. Yet that skill doesn't translate to an athleticism that inspires you to really drive it. The Genesis' sheer bulk is part of that, the flat seats are another. The biggest culprit, however, is the numb steering that still doesn't deliver much road feel despite an increase in effort that comes along with the R-Spec.
Perhaps it's too much to ask Hyundai to achieve the sort of optimized ride-handling balance that European automakers have spent decades perfecting, but there's not even an appreciable trade-off here as there is with the M56 (firm ride, athletic feel) or the Genesis 4.6 (plush ride, relaxed feel).
Genesis Models of Different Spec
For better or worse, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec is only expected to constitute 5 percent of the Genesis sedans that leave Hyundai dealerships. So for the remaining 20 percent (4.6) and 75 percent (the 3.8-liter V6, with more power and direct injection for 2012) of potential Skips out there, there are a number of other enhancements and improvements for 2012.
Though it's frankly tough to tell without side-by-side photos, the exterior has been given a subtle but successful tweaking. The nondescript grille has been redone to look a little less like a Klingon's forehead, while the airdam has been widened for a more aggressive appearance and to conceal the adaptive cruise control emitter. The headlights also get a tasteful LED running light treatment. Though the lower side skirts and rear valance with integrated twin pipes may look like they belong solely to the sport-tuned R-Spec, they are actually applied to every Genesis. Indeed, besides the 5.0 R-Spec badge and 19-inch graphite wheels, it's hard to differentiate the top-of-the-line model.
Inside, changes are restricted to the addition of heated rear seats, which is just fine. Though the cabin of the Genesis doesn't quite measure up to its vastly more expensive luxury-branded competitors, it's still a lovely place to spend time. Everything's screwed together well, the materials are appropriately plush for its price point, features are abundant and its 17-speaker Lexicon sound system (standard on the R-Spec) makes virtually every other stereo sound like the AM radio buzzing into Grandma's left ear. Add in an enormous backseat and it's hard to imagine why someone would bother with an Equus.
Is It Right for Skip?
So do we like the Genesis? Yes. Do we like the new Tau 5.0 V8? (Um, did you see that burnout up there?) Do they work together? Absolutely, but a big engine does not make a sport sedan and Hyundai has a ways to go in the steering and suspension departments before it can truly be placed on the same pedestal as those cars that bear traditional luxury badges.
Still, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec's price tag of $48,750 still undercuts the M56 by about $12,000 and the Germans by thousands more — even if it seems awfully steep for a Hyundai. That's just the sort of value proposition that has made guys like Skip think twice about the traditional names in luxury. If he also digs massive V8 power and lives in a land of pristine pavement, then the R-Spec may do a similar trick. Otherwise, he'd better stick with a Genesis of regular spec.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of this evaluation.
Used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Overview
The Used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec is offered in the following styles: , and 5.0 R-Spec 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A).
What's a good price on a Used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec?
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Specs are available in my area?
Used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Listings and Inventory
Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec.
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec for sale near you.