By on December 13, 2011

The Japanese are always worried about what the North Koreans have up their sleeve, but if the writing on the wall were legible, they would be more concerned about what’s going on in the south. If the 2009 Hyundai Genesis was a shot across the bow of Lexus and Infiniti, then the Genesis 5.0 R-spec may be a torpedo hit below the water, and speaking of which, even the Germans should take notice. Of course, we heard this before with the likes of the VW Phaeton, however that model tanked, so is the top-line Genesis biting off more than it can chew? Lets find out.

In my mind, the Phaeton was doomed to failure when VW decided to equip their new full-on luxury sedan with a full-sized price tag. Instead of following the same model, Hyundai stayed true to their value roots and created a luxury sedan with a Hyundai-sized price tag with the Genesis 3.8 and 4.6. What could be next from the boffins in Korea? The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, a value-priced performance luxury sedan of course.

From the outside, the Genesis (in all trims) strikes most of the right cords with luxury shoppers that prefer flowing lines to sharp creases. While previous products from Korea have been more imitation than innovation, the Genesis both deviates from the theme yet clearly draws inspiration from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. Unlike some Kias we could mention, the overall look is distinctive enough (in my mind) that nobody would confuse it for anything else on the road. Neither however, would the casual observer ever confuse it for a Hyundai if it didn’t have the stylized H logo on the trunk. Styling mission accomplished (but like many buyers, I might remove that H badge when I got it home).

Of course, we’re here to talk about the performance part of the equation. The 5.0 R-Spec is an all-new trim in the Genesis family. AMG and M have little to worry about however as the Genesis 5.0 as Hyundai has no intention at present to compete head on with the balls-out performance sedans from Germany. So what is an “R-Spec”? Think Audi S rather than RS. While there is little outside to differentiate the 5.0 from its lesser models, a closer look reveals unique wheels, lower profile rubber, and upgraded brakes. Also new for 2012 are some new headlamps with a distinctive LED accent strip, new bumpers with integrated exhaust (ala the LS460) and new power-folding mirrors. The real change however, is under the hood where an all-new 429HP 376 lb-ft 5.0L direct injection V8 is mated to an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. While that sentence sounds right at home in a review about a new Mercedes E550 or BMW 550i, the novelty in the room is that we’re talking about a Hyundai. This new engine and new transmission (the rest of the Genesis line-up also receives the 8-speed transmission for 2012) shows just how serious Hyundai is about playing with the big boys. Readers will probably recall Hyundai recently designed an all-new 6-speed transmission, now circular-filed in favor of this new octo-cog-swapper. That’s some serious R&D spending. For those who enjoy gear counting, note that this makes the 5.0 R-Spec one cog ahead of Mercedes.

If we digress for a moment, an open question to our readers from me: how much does the price tag change your perception of a car, all things being the same? Sound out in the comment section below.

On the inside, the Genesis R-Spec wears the same duds as the other Genesis models except that the color selection boils down to black or black: black-on-black dash, black faux wood and black seats with black carpet. The overall monochromatic theme struck me as an odd choice as I found it cheaper looking to my eye than the Genesis 3.8/4.6 models with the two-tone burgundy interior. Cost being a factor, the stitched pleather goodness found carefully sprinkled throughout the interior doesn’t extend to the dashboard top which looks a touch cheap when put right next to the stitched trim. Fortunately the fake wood is kept to a fair minimum and in some ways I don’t know if I mind too much as there are plenty of $100,000 luxury sedans sporting wood stained so dark it looks like plastic.

For 2012 the Genesis receives a new 3.8L V6, this time with direct-injection added to the variable valve train party. The new V6 cranks out a very respectable 333HP and 292lb-ft of twist at 6400RPM and 5100RPM respectively. The 4.6L Tau V8 is left unchanged for 2012, which seems like something of a pity since it still doesn’t benefit from direct injection. Of course the big reason for testing the mildly re-worked Genesis for 2012 is because of the new 5.0 R-Spec model, so let’s dive under that hood. The 5.0L V8 serves up 429HP at 6400RPM and 376lb-ft at 5000RPM, very healthy numbers considering it is tuned to run on regular 87 octane gasoline. Joining the new V8 is a sport tuned suspension and lower profile tires on 19-inch wheels. (The observant will note they are not any wider than the 4.6L V8’s rubbers)


Gadgets are an important part of any luxury sedan, and this is one area where Hyundai has left a few gizmos out to keep costs down. Compared to iDrive and Infiniti’s fairly slick touch screen system, Hyundai’s infotainment offering is a touch less functional and less intuitive. When pitted against Mercedes Command or Lexus’ aging system however, the Hyundai infotainment software scores highly for look and feel. Hyundai convinced Lexicon (purveyor of sound systems to Rolls Royce) to create the 528-watt, 17-speaker, 5.1-surround audio system. The stereo sounds great and the subwoofer certainly makes watching movies on the nav screen strangely entertaining, but it is a notch behind the maximum capabilities of the 1,000+ watt systems in the European competition.

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Infiniti’s M can be had with more nannies than a pack of trust fund babies at the park, this is another area where the Genesis’ price point causes some compromises. The Genesis has lane departure warning but no lane departure prevention, radar cruise control but no blind spot warning system and of course it won’t park itself. Still, the gizmos Hyundai did select are a good balance in my mind. My only complaint about the cruise control system Hyundai used is that it will take you to a crawl but unlike the competition it won’t stop you or hold you at a stop. The integrated collision warning system is also a near miss for me, it’s not adjustable and by default it warns you so late by the time it beeps (faintly) and puts a small red logo in the instrument cluster (where it’s hard to see), it’s too late to do anything about the emergency.  Also on the cutting room floor sits a cooled front passenger seat, heated steering wheel, and auto up/down windows for the rear. While these omissions bothered my esteemed co-worker Michael in his first take, I actually don’t mind as most people drive solo anyway and if I’m buying the car, I care about the driver most (me) and the bargain second. Option packages are a great way to drive up costs, so Hyundai decided to leave well enough alone making the R-Spec come only fully-loaded and in truth 98% of what luxury car buyers usually buy is there, and that’s saying something.

Out on the road the Genesis 5.0’s sport tuned active suspension (by SACHS) provides a ride that is noticeably firmer than the Genesis 4.6 yet is still on the softer side of the Euro competition. If you prefer floating on a cloud, you should opt for the softer riding Genesis 4.6 (or LS460) instead. If however you like corner carving, the BMW 550i is obviously your choice. Yet strangely enough the Genesis provides a good balance between the 550i and the LS460 with impressive BMW-like thrust and grip that’s somewhere between the two and fairly on par with the M56. The Hyundai 8-speed automatic is not as smooth as the ZF 8-speed Audi and BMW employ, but it is fairly similar in feel to the Lexus unit. Yet again the need to keep costs down and options non-existent means unlike the competition there is no AWD Genesis available. Driving purists will of course scoff at my love of four-wheel propulsion, but in the wet the Genesis has trouble applying all 429 ponies.

A comparably equipped Lexus LS460 Sport or Mercedes E550 easily crest $70,000, in this light the Hyundai is a screaming deal and gives up little for the $20,000+ delta in price (other than brand). The fact that you can even mention Hyundai, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, Infiniti and BMW in the same sentence is something to behold. Saying that the Genesis 5.0 is better than the gaggle of luxury people-schlepers is something I just can’t say, but in many areas it is quite possibly just as good and yet I find myself saying a rare thing as I handed the Genesis back: this is a car I would buy myself. And that is where it departs from the VW Phaeton in my mind; the Phaeton is just too expensive for the badge, even for me.

The question we can’t answer here at TTAC is: can Hyundai convince luxury car buyers that they can get most of the same goodies on a $46K Hyundai as a $70K German or Japanese sedan? Even if that hurdle can be jumped, will the brand whores think twice? To those adventurous car shoppers who manage to look beyond brand perception however, they will find a car maker with the best warranty in the industry making reliable cars with a smidgen of style and a ‘whole lotta’ value. What kind of buyer are you? Are you buying that LS460 because it carries a $70,000 price tag, or because you like the way it coddles you? Are you buying the BMW for the roundel or for the 0-60 time? I would posit the Hyundai does all the above minus the badge.

 

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

Statistics as tested

0-60: 4.9 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 13.4 Seconds @ 106 MPH

Fuel Economy: 22.4 MPG over 689 miles

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95 Comments on “Review: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Take Two...”


  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Hmmm. I don’t get the “one size fits all” spec and color approach. Especially in the luxury category. If I am spending $50 large I want it MY way. But I suppose it is the difference between a tailored suit and off the rack, the bargain is all that matters for this car.

    I think the Genesis is a pretty darned nice car for the money though, if you need a big barge it is more than good enough. But it is definitely a car to be bought because it is a great deal, and not because it is merely the best.

    • 0 avatar
      akatsuki

      I guess my view of luxury is it should come one way – loaded.

      Everything else feels like nickel and diming.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Yeah, “luxury” sedans with anemic powerplants and pleather seats really scream luxury.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        So true. I was goofing around on the MBZ website yesterday, looking at an E350. 50K base. Among the optional equipment $440 for rear seat torso airbags.

        Gotta being kidding me. I drop 50K for a MBZ and if I dont pay attentention, I dont get torso airbags for my kids?

        Another good one was ~400 for split folding rear seat.

        Un freaking believable.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Nice car. But for my $50k, I’d get a gently used BMW or Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Never understood this argument (for any discussion).

        Can always get a gently used R-Spec as well (in time) which keeps the price advantage and one doesn’t have to worry about getting an extended warranty (which is almost a must for the Germans).

    • 0 avatar

      Take it from a Mercedes Owner.

      NO ONE is crosshopping a German luxury car and a Hyundai Genesis/Equus.

      Those that are… wanted more, but, couldn’t afford it.

      • 0 avatar
        Quackledork

        I disagree. I am a Mercedes owner who can afford another, but i am seriously considering an Equus. The reason some of us can afford nicer cars is because we don’t waste money on name brands. I love my Mercedes, but I also love the 20k I will save that I can use for something else.

        Hyundai and Kia make some compelling vehicles these days. Mercerdes snobs would be wise (and richer) to take a visit to their Hyundai dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        larrycohen28

        I hope owners of the German luxury cars that can afford more, can also afford to pay for the many, very expensive repairs that those cars generally need. If I’m going to spend $70,000 for a Mercedes E-Class or a BMW 5 series, shouldn’t I get a reliable car?

  • avatar
    JCraig

    It really is just a matter of time before Hyundai dominates the industry, and they’ll be doing it under one brand (or just two if you count Kia).

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think that the better comparative set for this isn’t the $70K+ German and Japanese cars, but the ~$50K American and Swedish cars like the S80 T6, 9-5 V6, 300C “S”, MKS, and XTS.

    Or, does the Hyundai just trounce everything in its price range?

    • 0 avatar
      saab_lurker

      Yes, until it rains or snows.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        It trounces everything in its price range when it comes to equipment, size and performance. I think they’ve achieved a major victory just by having every review compare this to the higher priced German and Japanese competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The problem with the RL, S80, 9-5 (really, a SAAB??), and MKS is they are all FWD biased vehicles, the Genesis really does start off with a platform that is true competition for the LS, E, and 5. The 300C? Well, at least the Genesis isn’t tarnished with the rental car reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        saab_lurker

        “9-5 (really, a SAAB??)”

        I can only imagine you think the new 9-5 Aero is too good for the above comparison?

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        A high zoot 300C seems to me to be the natural competitor – both sound like great value, and both are powerful RWD cars. Neither car will appeal to badge snobs; Chrysler hasn’t had any brand cachet for 40 years, and Hyundai never had it.

        Although it’s impressive how far Hyundai has come in the past few years, I doubt anyone will seriously cross shop this against a Benz or BMW. A big motivation for many luxury buyers is the badge. Offering the Hyundai at a bargain price doesn’t help matters – for some, letting the world know you are driving a $70k car is more important than having a $46k car that is 90% as good…

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Genesis offers value compared to the MKS, but the MKS has a much higher grade interior.

      The Taurus SHO is a pretty good competitor vs the Genesis 4.6. They have similar prices and power fully loaded, but there are some trade offs.

      The Hyundai offers more interior space, RWD, and a longer warranty.

      The SHO has AWD (front biased though it may be), and offers a lot of features you can’t get on the Hyundai like a cooled passenger seat, heated rear seats, blind spot monitoring, radar for backing out of a parking space, massaging seats, a rear sunshade, an adjustable collision warning system, and a better nav/bluetooth setup (the Taurus still uses the Clarion manufactured Sync Voice Activated Navigation System instead of the newer MyFord Touch, though hopefully with the updates coming next year MyFord Touch will jump the gap).

      Both are big sedans with plenty of power and the ability to play in the twisties without being focused sports sedans.

      If you compare the SHO to the 5.0 R-Spec though, the Genesis does take the clear performance edge.

      • 0 avatar
        larrycohen28

        Truthfully, the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec trounces the Taurus in performance. The reviews that say the 0-60 time of the Taurus is 5.2 seconds are incorrect. There used to be a video on YouTube showing a 4.6 dusting the Taurus SHO, but it’s been taken down.

  • avatar
    obruni

    I like the Genesis sedan, but there is no way that I would buy one new.

    there are a couple of very well equipped, 2009 vintage V8 models on Ebay for $25k-26k.

    great used bargain!

  • avatar
    dwford

    Plenty of brand whores shopping the Sonata, so the Genesis does have a shot. The price premium of an R-spec over a 4.6 is very small. It’s a no brainer.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I would posit the Hyundai does all the above minus the badge.

    And, I would guess, the resale value that should accompany the brand cachet.

    In my view, it’s a mistake to badge these as Hyundais. A separate brand should have been established for it that would initially share floorspace with Hyundai but that would eventually be spun out into separate dealerships.

    I would expect this oversight to prevent a lot of buyers from taking it seriously. If anything, the discount pricing almost reinforces the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      MarkP

      Wasn’t that the approach for Infiniti/Lexus/Acura, at least in the US?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Wasn’t that the approach for Infiniti/Lexus/Acura, at least in the US?

        Lexus and Infiniti had separate dealerships from the start. If I had been in Hyundai’s position, I would have evolved into that, rather than starting out that way.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      As I recall, Hyundai didn’t want the expense and trouble of creating a separate brand with separate dealerships. All that glass & gold at Lexus is built into the Lexus price.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I think this is an advantage. Not only are they saving the cost of developing a seperate brand, but they are hitting a value luxury niche. I think the market is growing for people wanting a nice car without paying a huge premium for the badge. Their timing was perfect to launch this car under the Hyundai brand.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        they are hitting a value luxury niche.

        In the US, there is no room for that.

        “Cheap luxury” is an oxymoron, akin to an upscale K-Mart. Either it’s luxury, or it’s not. At this point, it looks like an overpriced Hyundai, instead of a well-priced luxury car. There is a reason why Toyota opted to develop a new badge and dealership network when it came time to raise the stakes and pump up the pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        PCH101

        Are you sure about that? “upscale Kmart” is an EXCELLENT description of Target – and they are doing very well indeed.

        I do agree though, Hyundai should have done more to differentiate the buying experience than they have done. Maybe not to the extent of a seperate dealership, but perhaps a seperate showroom and salespeople.

        I am seeing a fair number of these on the road in Northern New England. But ostentation has never flown well here, our local VW dealer did quite well selling Phaetons.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        The key value in a luxury brand is luxury showrooms. If I were in the market, and God willing someday I will be, I don’t want to buy my luxury car from the same GED mouthbreather who sold us the Tucson.

        I want a vulgar American fat guy with a golf pullover and 500-pound swagger (Cadillac) who gives me my first cigarette in years and makes wife jokes, or an effeminate design freak with designer frames (BMW) that hands over his carbon fiber pen with his pinky out.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Value Luxury @ $46k for a car.

        No, that isn’t value luxury. That is too expensive to be called value luxury. People interested in value, but something still nice will look at less expensive cars than that.

        Most buyers would see an Avalon or LaCrosse or ES and go with them instead. If they want something even bigger, you are looking at a crossover. $46k in a crossover goes a very long way. Even if you look at base price, $34k will get you something nice.

        I realize I am looking at cars from different segments, so do buyers. I think that badging these cars as Hyundai is a huge mistake. The should have made a Genesis brand.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “upscale Kmart” is an EXCELLENT description of Target

        Target is Walmart with better packaging, sure. But it isn’t pretending to be a seller of luxury goods or trying to compete head-on against Sak’s Fifth Avenue or Gucci. It just charges a bit of an additional mark-up on normal consumer goods in exchange for a somewhat better mainstream shopping experience.

        A luxury brand assures consumers that they aren’t being ripped off, even though though they are paying a premium. The goal should be to convince consumers that they are getting a reasonable alternative to a BMW, not an overpriced uber-Sonata.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        $46k for a car that competes in the $70k class is value luxury. There is obviously a market for that here as Genesis sales have been in line with Hyundai’s projections. There is a market for people that see the value in not paying a lot more for a badge. I don’t need to impress everyone with a brand, I’d rather get a lot more for my money. I’m the one that has to drive it every day. And you can’t say this is just an uber Sonata, they are completely different cars (unlike the Camry and ES350).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        There is obviously a market for that here

        Genesis sedan sales are a fraction of E-class and 5-series sales. If anything, the numbers suggest that there isn’t much of a market for this at all.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        You have to look at the big picture. This is the first serious attempt at a luxury car. It’s still in the first model and they’ve already drastically improved it. We’re debating whether or not this competes with $70k BMWs when ten years ago the debate was whether they could make a decent compact. They’re not going to match the big boys right out of the gate. This car might as well be a marketing exercise. The next generation will leap ahead of this. Does the current Sonata look like it came from the same company as the prior generation? People are getting used to the idea that Hyundai makes a good product. It’s just a matter of time.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “Genesis sedan sales are a fraction of E-class and 5-series sales. If anything, the numbers suggest that there isn’t much of a market for this at all.”

        “Cheap luxury” is an oxymoron, akin to an upscale K-Mart. Either it’s luxury, or it’s not. At this point, it looks like an overpriced Hyundai, instead of a well-priced luxury car. There is a reason why Toyota opted to develop a new badge and dealership network when it came time to raise the stakes and pump up the pricing.”

        @Pch101

        And yet Genesis sedan sales outclass that of the Lexus GS, Infiniti M and Audi A6 by a good margin – all w/o the benefit of AWD which adds another 40-50% in sales.

        So evidently, there seems to be even less of a market for mid-size luxury branded sedans that aren’t branded BMW or Mercedes.

        Also, the original LS400 had a bargain-basement pricing of $35K; which not only undercut the S Class, but even a well-equipped E Class.

        In addition, what’s more “cheap luxury” – a proper RWD powertrain on a dedicated platform with a V8 option or bringing over JDM or European market FWD models, and selling them as “luxury” vehicles (sometimes w/o reworking them much at all).

        Toyota not only did that with the ES (and now HS and CT), but Nissan did that with the G20 and Honda with the TSX, CSX, etc.

        Being an auto-enthusiast, I’d much rather have Hyundai spend the $$ on the actual vehicles than on some fancy dealership.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        This car might as well be a marketing exercise.

        If the car was meant to be a marketing exercise, then it would have been branded as something else.

        There is a reason why successful automakers in the US create luxury brands to sell luxury cars. It isn’t some freak accident or oddball tradition; the branding adds margin to the pricing.

        Hyundai has done a good job of studying TQM. Now, they need to learn something about the US luxury car market. (Honda never really has, so Hyundai had better not copy them.)

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        @BD2,
        The GS is outdated and has to compete with the ES. Also, realize that Hyundai bundles in the Genesis Coupe with these sales meaning that they are adding more sales of a really different car into the mix. That 40% you are talking about with AWD… doesn’t really apply.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @Pch101

        The last thing Hyundai should do is follow in the footsteps of the Japanese based on their track record in the traditional luxury sedan segments.

        Acura – RL a complete failure

        Infiniti – cancelled the Q and the M, despite being pretty competitive, isn’t a big seller

        Lexus – LS460 sells well (but is priced thousands less than the Germans) but the GS has been a failure and Toyoda had to be convinced not to CANCEL the GS.

        @Steven02

        The Genesis sedan outsells the coupe (funny how the more expensive Genesis is the better selling one) and the 40-50% figure for AWD is totally applicable to RWD based sedans (so even at a 50% split, the Genesis sedan, even at a bit over 15K sales for the year will handily outsell the M, GS and A6).

        Also the GS is “outdated” argument is an old and tired one.

        First off, sales of the GS started to drop sharply in its 4th year of sale (hardly “old”) and the last gen E Class and 5 Series still sold fairly well into their last year of production (also, the Genesis sedan is heading into its 5th year of sale in the US and it’s going stronger than ever).

        Second, it certainly says something about Lexus buyers if they are willing to opt for the cheaper FWD-Camry based ES over the GS w/ its dedicated RWD platform and optional V8.

        And since Lexus buyers weren’t interested in the V8, Toyota cancelled the V8 for the new GS (something that won’t happen to the Genesis since a lot of buyers opt for the V8).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The last thing Hyundai should do is follow in the footsteps of the Japanese based on their track record in the traditional luxury sedan segments.

        I realize that you are a Hyundai fanboy who will defend them, regardless, so any attempt to have a balanced discussion about marketing will be wasted on you.

        But if you honestly believe that Lexus has nothing to teach others about how to establish a brand, then you are out of your skull. I should remind you that Lexus has pretty much established the benchmark for luxury SUV/ CUV styling, and if there is a profitable segment in this market, it’s in selling high-priced trucks. TMC has also succeeded in repackaging a high-volume family sedan as an upmarket near-luxury car, which allows them to squeeze even more margin out of a standard platform.

        Where TMC has failed is in its ability to capture the nuances and suspension tuning of German sedans. In the luxury and near-luxury sedan segments, the Germans still set the standard. You can bash on the Germans all you like, but BMW and Daimler set the bar for the competition and everyone selling costly four doors (including Toyota) should be targeting them first and foremost. With this one-brand-serves-all approach, Hyundai is doing more to compete directly with the Chrysler 300 than it is with anything coming out of Germany, and they aren’t beating them, either.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Hardly a fanboi since I will readily critique the Genesis where it is wanting (i.e. – dash design and materials, steering feel, etc.) but have a pretty keen pulse of the automotive sector.

        Neither Acura nor Infiniti have been really able to compete against the Germans and for that matter, neither has Lexus (selling predominantly FWD-biased vehicles at significantly lower pricepoints).

        With a compact RWD sedan on the way and at least one luxury CUV, Hyundai, with a smaller linep, will get very close to the sales volume of Infiniti and Acura.

        And I don’t see bashing of the Europeans (after all, longtime BMW driver) – aside from the sheetmetal design – which let’s face it, hasn’t exactly been compelling for the Euro sedans.

        Also, which automaker do you think is getting more BMW owners?

        Acura (w/ its FWD/AWD models sans V8) or Hyundai (w/ its RWD and V8 engine option)?

        It will only get worse as Acura proffers the Civic-based ILX and Hyundai, a RWD compact sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Spike_in_Sydney

      In Australia we have Lexus (Is that an acronym for Luxury Export to the US?) but we get most of the Acura models badged as Hondas and some of the Infiniti models badged Nissan. Eunos for Mazda tried and failed very quickly.
      Does anyone have a feel for how the lux models sell in Oz under the single brands versus the success or otherwise of Acura and Infiniti in the States?

  • avatar
    MarkP

    I knew the Phaeton was going to be a loser the first time I saw one in the flesh and thought it was a Passat. Who’s going to spend that kind of money to buy a car that looks so much like a much, much cheaper one?

    I think the success of the Genesis will depend on perceived value. Is the real value of the car enough to overcome the lack of value in the brand name? I think the true market for this car is not prospective BMW/Mercedes buyers, but people who will have to stretch a little to afford it, and who will think it’s a pretty reasonable way to enter the luxo-world.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Are they building the Genesis in the US or Korea>?

  • avatar
    vbofw

    Hyundai really needs to improve this interior if they want to be class competitive. This buyer wants luxury. The center stack and dash trim is on par with a Toyota Avalon.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      Agreed, looking forward to the next generation. They did this with the last Sonata and Elantra too, boring but class competitive proving they could build a proper appliance. Then the new ones came out.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Yeah, if you work the switches they are definitely lightweight.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Agreed. The next gen Genesis (as well as the Equus) sedan will have a significantly upgraded interior.

      From the looks of it, the Kia K9 will have a dash that puts that of the Equus to shame, so I doubt that Hyundai will stand for that for long.

      The R-Spec is a bit of a misnomer; it’s not really a performance line and is more on par w/ Infiniti’s IPL line (some modest sporting improvements).

      The 4.6 Tau powerplant is on its way out and it seems that a 5.0 Genesis w/o the R-Spec’s sportier suspension will take its place.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      This nailed it. I also thought “Avalon” when I saw this. That plastic brightwork is a major wart and I also don’t like the all-black interior.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I’m liking this car even though I would likely never buy it; not being able to afford it and not being into luxo-cruisers are my big problems. For what it is it’s very impressive, especially at the price point.

    Alex, to answer your question in the article, I’ll point you to the following personal observation:
    My family moved to South Florida, Boca Raton specifically in 1990. I have since moved back north for college in 02 and stayed but I’m back down once a year or so to visit them. You used to see nothing but BMWs, MBs, and Lexuses (Lexi?) driving around down there in a roughly 1:2:2.5 ratio with smatterings of your other luxury brands thrown in. Very Jewish area, many still won’t buy a German car due to WWII/Holocaust. Very old area too, and MB and BMW may be a bit harsh for some of them.
    Last time I was down there was last December and I just recall thinking that in this size of car from looking around, there were enough Genesi around that the ratio probably looked more like 1:1:2:1 (BMW:MB:Lexus:Hyundai). If that doesn’t say something about price as a selling point even for shoppers in this income range, I don’t know what does.

    • 0 avatar
      car follower

      There’s a lot of Genesis around that what there used to be. All my Jewish friends have become more discriminating when it comes to selecting fine automobiles. Many of them had a net worth revision just two years ago when they found out that Uncle Bernie made off with a lot of their money. These same jewish people have become a lot more discriminating when it comes to selecting financial advisors too.
      Aside from that these Hyundai people have a real good car with this Genesis and everyone that has bought that 3.8L has high praise for it. That burgundy coloured one with saddle interior is not out of place at all at the temple.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    As long as it’s still cool to have your German luxury car in the shop for endless and expensive repairs, then Hyundai has no chance in this market.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The reality is that ALL luxury cars eventually need expensive repairs, and they ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL need expensive maintenance. Even the always vaunted Lexus LS has a wide assortment of common and expensive to fix issues. Display issues, air suspensions, sundry other stuff.

      Given what makes a luxury car a luxury car these days is the level of high-tech gizmos, there is always plenty to go wrong. And when you take the car to that fancy glass and marble showroom to be repaired, you are going to get bent over, it matters not if the car is German, American, Japanese, British, or Korean. Repair and servicing cost at a Lexus dealer are EPIC – I had an Aunt who had the worst ES350 Lexus ever built. A seriously Monday after a holiday car.

      The Germans went through a really bad patch 10-15 years ago where escalating technology and cost cutting hit a rather unfortunate intersection, but now all the luxury makes are on about the same footing, and I can’t see that there is a dramatic difference amoung them anymore. The Germans and British got better, the Japanese got worse, and the Koreans are very late to the game. The Americans have pretty much given up, Cadillac barely scratches this niche anymore, and Lincoln is a joke. Chrysler never even tried.

      Even if all else is equal, the car with the more stuff to break is going to cost more to run. A Lexus ES350 is a more expensive car to maintain than a V6 Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        I’m certain you’re forgetting history for comedic effect. It’d be a terrible thing if others actually believed what you’ve said about Chrysler.

        The Imperial was fine by Mrs. Kennedy. It lead her fallen Husband’s funeral procession– and was her personal limousine. If the Chrysler was enough for a woman who sent Hermes blankets to the Edith Beales of East Hampton; it is fine enough for anyone.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        The Germans may be less epically horrible in reliability than a decade ago, and I understand the Japanese usually fall short in both road manners and taste level.

        But the cold fact is, Japanese luxury cars as a group — Lexus, Acura or Infiniti (except for Infiniti’s Mississippi trucks) — are still a LOT more reliable, especially as they age, than German iron.

        A Lexus ES350 may be a more expensive car to maintain than a V6 Camry. But versus an Audi? A Mercedes? Please.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        @TonyCD as the driver of a 14 year old LS400 with 216K miles, I can attest that the reliability of these cars is epic. I know, it’s only one anecdote, and the car is also from before the seriously high-tech era, and they don’t build them like that anymore, but still… Plus repairs are inexpensive simply because it can be worked on by a Toyota mechanic — not sure Mercedes has a similar analog.

  • avatar

    I haven’t seen too many Genesis sedans on the road since it launched.

    I realize it might be something of a bargain for what it is priced but it is still a Hyundai and the pricing at MSRP on them is still high for the brand.

    The car has also lost some of it’s polish as it has aged. I went to the Phoenix autoshow like another TTAC writer and the Genesis suffers from bland styling, especially inside. Nothing about it looks or feels particularly special which many people want if they are in this market. Even Buick with the Regal and LaCrosse has managed to give those cars a little more verve for the eyes than you get in this Hyundai.

    I doubt the 5.0L version will do anything to change that, not until it gets a more stylish interior made out of better stuff at least. Until then it’s a Korean Crown Vic without the X-factor.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1 I’m generally a Hyundai fan, but the Genesis and Equus sedans are boring to the eye, really no better than my 01 Elantra. You may have seen more of these on the road than you think, but never noticed.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      It’s not like the styling of the E Class, 5 Series or A6 aren’t bland either (not to mention the new GS, minus the front which is more ugly than boring like the rest of the GS).

      Basically, all of them get beaten in the styling dept. by the maintstream Kia Optima SX.

      From the side, the 5 Series and Genesis are pretty similar with the 5er having the better rear and the Genesis the better front – but the typical styling for this segment is on the conservative/bland side.

      Also, the R-Spec is in pretty high demand – lot of Genesis owners trading in for the R-Spec or prospective buyers (of say the 535i) opting for a V8 for the price of a V6 (the Genesis has by far the highest V8 take rate in the segment).

      Hyundai should redone the dash for the refresh like they did for the refreshed GenCoupe, but there really was no point in doing so since the new Genesis sedan is due to launch in 2013.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        Relatively bland exterior styling, ok. But the Germans all have gorgeously styled interiors, a huge discrepancy v. The Genesis. Luxury buyers, save the Boca Raton retirees, want to be coddled in the cockpit.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        True, the Genesis’ interior is a bit underwhelming, but the new Genesis is not far away (2013 launch) and will rectify that.

        Remember, Infiniti had some pretty poor interiors and now the M arguably has the best interior in the segment.

        Also, it’s not like the Germans always had luxurious interiors – for much of their history, the German mid-sizers had pretty spartan interiors (esp. compared to say, Jaguar), and even today, the entry-level 3 Series, C Class, X3, etc. are getting/have finally gotten interiors more befitting their pricetags.

  • avatar
    InstantKarma

    Surely the V6 puts out 292 lb/ft of torque, rather than 192.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think this review is too kind on the Genesis.

    It doesn’t have features that I would expect to be class standard, at least the class most people think it would be in, but in this review, it is ok.

    Blind spot radar I think should be standard on this. The only one option interior I don’t mind, but I think that they picked the wrong one. I also think that the center stack needs a lot of work. When I looked at it during an auto show, I think it looked ugly and misplaced.

    If Hyundai wants to compete with the Lexus LS of the world, it needs to have all of the features available to it. It doesn’t. The price difference for someone that can afford and LS isn’t going to matter. The LS is about status. The Hyundai isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Yeah a heated wheel comes on many Buicks, and to me it’s better than a heated seat. If luxury is the absence of vulgarity, not enough has been removed from the Genesis.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Except the LS is one class higher, competing against the Equus.

      The Genesis competes against the GS and the outgoing GS is lacking in tech gadgetry compared to its German rivals (which is addressed in the new GS).

      Also, the LS isn’t all about status, but a $20K price discrepancy btwn it and the S Class ($30K when we talk about average transaction prices).

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Fine, compare the it against the BMW and MB E class if you want. It doesn’t compete well against them either. Sure, the GS lacks tech gadgetry as well, and it sales aren’t very good. Should that be the benchmark for the Genesis? I think not.

        For the record, the author routinely compares it against the LS. Which, is probably not correct. But, for the price, lack of tech, I don’t know why anyone seriously comparing a 5 series or E class would pick this.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        B/c for the price of a somewhat decently equipped 535i, one can get a 429HP V8-powered sedan.

        There have been a no. of BMW owners who have ended up buying the R-Spec (or 4.6) Genesis and a few own BOTH the Genesis and the new 5 Series (they say that the 5er is a bit better on the twisties, but the V8 Genesis has the better powertrain and is the better highway cruiser).

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I have no qualms with the comparison with the LS. One of the downsides of the LS430 and Q45 was the lack of a long wheelbase version, and the Genesis is comparable in size to the current short wheel base LS. I do have a beef with those who think the A6/5/E have interiors that’s as good as the Genesis, M, or GS.

      I must admit I’m the luxury value shopper Alex is talking about. I’m the rare minority who actively avoids LVMH, PPR, and RIchemont in favor of house brands or made-to-measure (which is viable because they often cost LESS than off the rack). I even test drove the Phaeton when it came out, but the miserable dark and undersized service department at our local VW/Audi dealership, and the ridiculous ergonomics did them no favors. But I have no hesitation putting Hyundai on my shopping list…once they get AWD.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    I have had my 2009 4.6 for 2 1/2 years and 30,000 miles now and I still feel good about it every time I climb in. With the exception of a TSB for the steering wheel limit switches, the car has been letter perfect from day one. I have owned Mercedes, Acura, Audi, etc., and this has been the most reliable car I have ever owned.

    As to torque, I’m sure the 5.0 Tau could do with all wheel drive. This morning, starting out with a too hasty left turn onto a wet road, I fired off the nanny three times before I got everything sorted out and that is with the 4.6.

    • 0 avatar
      rochskier

      I’m not a Genesis owner, but I ran into a 50-something gent with one at a rest stop on my long Xmas drive home last year. I asked him how he liked it and his comments largely echoed yours. He described his Genesis as, “…by far the best car I’ve ever owned.”

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Too bad some of the Sonata’s edgier styling didn’t make the leap.

    How does it do in the slalom against a BMW 5?

  • avatar
    klossfam

    It is a sweet ride. I’ve only driven the 3.8 but having driven all the 5 Series and 7 Series variants and I like the ride/handling mix of the Genny Sedan as well or better. I still can’t understand why ANYONE on a regular guy budget would ever buy a Toyota Avalon, Buick LaCrosse, etc instead of a 3.8L Genesis. It’s crazy really…You can have a REAL RWD car with great performance, fuel economy and a monster warranty for the same or less money…The 5.0 R-Spec is a smokin’ deal as Alex notes for real world outlay in the mid-$40Ks.

  • avatar
    peteinsonj

    TO me its not just the vehicle — its the dealer experience after the sale.

    If they give loaners no questions asked, hand over a cup of coffee, have a nice area to sit with wifi, tv, etc. If they let folks from the dealer have priority service, etc — well then, this will fly.

    if they treat Genesis & Equus buyers like most Chevy dealers treat their customers — then this will never fly.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I got that service from the local Hyundai dealer the two times I took my Elantra in. Fuel pump recall shortly after purchase and TSB on the cruise control switch, two different dealers in two different states. Loaner was waiting for me, nice waiting area w/ a variety of coffee, wifi, tv. Wash and vacuum the car when it’s ready. I expect that from any dealer, and Hyundai always calls a day or two after the service to get feedback. They’re aggressively trying to improve the dealer experience.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      I dont give a **** about that stuff. I am taking my Toyota in this week. I drop the car, go over to the rental counter, pay 30 bucks for a rental for the day, and go about my business. I dont want to hang out there and drink coffee.

      Since the car goes into the shop about 1 time per year, the cost of a paid loaner is vanishly small. I am always amazed at how much value people place on a “free” loaner.

      Now I will admit, if there are no rentals avail at a given dealership, then its a hassle.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Equus owners get a level of service that surpasses what Lexus offers its owners.

      An Equus owner gets a guaranteed Equus or Genesis loaners (something that Lexus doesn’t guaranted LS owners when it comes to loaners) and doesn’t need to ever set foot in a dealership – either at time of purchase or for service calls since valet service is provided for them.

      Doesn’t apply to Genesis owners.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    Like some others said, while the car may meet or beat in many respects, interior looks lacking, at least in pictures.
    I don’t see many of these in Dallas, and I don’t think they will sell well here. Most people do buy a luxury car because they enjoy witnessing the jealousy it invokes in others. A Hyundai just doesn’t accomplish that. No matter how nice it is. Some, fancying themselves early adopters may drive them, pleased that they made a smart choice, and over time, the same factors that drove Lexus to success (perceived “smart money”) may make this car a success for Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Agreed – I don’t really see this car taking sales from the $70K German competition. People looking at those offerings aren’t typically looking to save a buck.

      I see people moving to this car because they can get a pretty impressive RWD luxury car when their alternatives in the price range offer much less impressive FWD sedans. At least until they’ve built a track record over a few years.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The original LS400 sold primarily to buyers looking to “save a buck” w/ its incredible $35K MSRP.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Not really. They sold to people who had previous experience with Toyotas and had moved up economically without any worthwhile cars to spend their money on. Lexus went from nowhere to tops in luxury car sales very quickly as people bought their cars that hadn’t bothered spending money on cars before. The early LS400s also carried massive dealer markups, eliminating much of the potential savings over the Germans until Toyota raised the price to a profitable level anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      @jonnyguitar

      Being a native Texan, I’m not surprised that the Genesis doesn’t do too well in Dallas. One of the best descriptions of Dallas would be “trendy, trendy, trendy”. If your sedan doesn’t have a BMW badge on it in Dallas, it simply can’t compete. And the Genesis is a very nice car – the 5.0 R-Spec fixed a lot of the busy ride on the regular 4.6 model. But as long as the name “Hyundai” is on the car, some people will look down on it. Just the way it is.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I like this more and more every time I read a review. I can see myself considering a CPO version of this sucker in a few years. I personally like the fact that things are understated on the outside, more “Q-ship” potential. (Education for the youngsters – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q-ship )

  • avatar
    ffdr4

    In 15+ years of running automotive focus groups, I have yet to come across anyone who aspires to own a Hyundai in this price range. A BMW, Merc, Audi, Lexus even Volvo sure, but not a Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Not exactly earth shattering observation, though, is it? Prior to this car Hyundai hasn’t had a car to offer in this price range, so there was nothing for anyone to aspire to.

      Luxo-barges aren’t really my cup of tea, but this looks to be a pretty competitive offering. It will certainly take some time for Hyundai to build a track record in this segment, though.

  • avatar
    md12

    I recently spent some time in a 2011 Genesis rental car. It looked good and was comfortable, but didn’t have the feel of quality of an Acura TL or even my 2006 TSX. The Genesis materials and switchgear just felt a little cheap, and had nowhere near the design aesthetic of any of the European cars. But, Hyundai is getting there.

  • avatar
    mopar4wd

    Quick thoughts as I have some experience with several Genesis owners. I have an uncle who bought a 2009 TAO Now this relative has large waterfront homes in New England and Florida, and would be the ideal target for a S class 7 series etc. He bought the Genesis, Why. Well he went in the dealers drove all the cars reviewed the pricing and said yes the other interiors are nicer but no way are they 20k nicer. I also wrote an estimate on one this winter in a wealthy suburb, owner said pretty much the same thing I believe his exact words were if it were $500 bucks I would have bought the Audi hell I would still gone with the Hyundai for a $5000 differential for 20k you come off like an idiot for not buying the Hyundai. Now this is new england which has kind of split when it comes to luxury goods you have practical buyers who still want something nicer then average and you have label whores, now obviously the label whore is not buying the Hyundai but that leaves the rest of the market open and it seems to be slowly working.

  • avatar
    Grumpy

    I suspect the results of automotive focus groups for the past 15+ years are irrelevant to the eventual success or failure of Hyundai’s luxury cars–the results of such focus groups in the next 15 years are what counts.

  • avatar
    John R

    ‘Styling mission accomplished (but like many buyers, I might remove that H badge when I got it home).”

    Tsk, tsk. What a world we live in.

    • 0 avatar
      Mellow

      I remove the removable badging of all the cars I buy new. Free advertising is not what I sign up for when I buy a car. I don’t buy Izod shirts for the same reason. We DO live in a peculiar society – we value our individuality.

  • avatar
    Litt

    Luxury cars should come with AWD for safety and performance.

    Acura’s SH-AWD system greatly increases the handling on dry or icy roads.

    This Genesis would be fun on dry roads but when it snows you would be in the ditch! I’d rather drive a toyota corolla on a snowy day than a 450 HP RWD car.

    push gas nothing happens. bad decision.

  • avatar
    MusicMachine

    Wow. Nice clean dash.

  • avatar
    car follower

    These Hyundai people are eating MB’s,BMW’s and Lexus’s lunch one sandwich at a time. They are up dating this car every three years instead of 5 or 6. I suspect the next update will have an AWD version.
    Taj Mahal showrooms and dealerships like the competition have is not the answer to establishing a brand and Hyundai knows it. One dealer I know of has a couple older mature sales people that serve the Genesis prospect and this leaves younger guys/gals to look after the Accent/Elantra buyer.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Canadian price is $53,500 but it has Leather Wrapped Dash, Wood Trimmed and Leather Wrapped Heated Steering Wheel.

    And 4.6 V8 is not offered.

  • avatar
    DmK

    I think, that Hyundai and KIA have made a deal: the Hyundai is going to be the copy maker of the Mercedes (Lexus was the first), and KIA will produce almost Jaguar (or something else). :) :)
    -More leather on the dash, seats, door panels… more, more, more! It’s a LUUUUUUXURY CAR! What is it? Toyota engine? Upgrade! Now, this is the Hyundai!
    May be I’m wrong and my European mentality is the reason of my opinion, but i think that the history and traditions are also important and I’ll be an idiot, if I buy something that looks like Lexus, Mercedes and Toyota (and it’s not Lexus, Mercedes or Toyota)for $50000!
    In my opinion, European cars are the style and quality, American cars represent the style of living (we are worried about the destiny of American Auto Companies and hope that they will be succeed), but Korean cars(and most of the Japanese) are just the cheap product which aren’t bad the first two or three years of using. If I have to choose between the Passat and Equis (even for equal price), I’ll take the first one.
    (sorry for my English)

  • avatar
    DmK

    Probably, people who buy the Genesis or Equis like the copies of Breitling watches and Italian clothes. They want to be inside the Mercedes s-class but they can’t and the Hyundai wants to be the Mercedes s-class but it can’t (and it’s not a big deal: it has the Rolls Royce stereo).
    Just, please, don’t tell anybody about different features, quality, leather, navigation… People buy car like this because it’s cheap. Because it looks like “almost Mercedes”… almost luxury.

  • avatar
    firemachine69

    Sorry for the necro-post, but has anyone found steady insurance rates for the R-Spec Genesis? Is it above or below those 70K luxo-rides? That very well may make the difference in monthly payments…


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