Hyundai isn’t a brand that is content to sit back and rest while the competition passes it by. In fact, the company has just completed a blitzkreig of new product introductions as part of its 24/7 product initiative.
The initiative 24/7 means seven new models in 24 months, and the company has delivered on that promise. In 24 months, the company has introduced all-new and redesigned models like the Tuscon, Sonata, Equus, Elantra, Veloster and Accent.
The high-end Equus builds off a luxury foundation that started with the rear-wheel drive Genesis that arrived in 2009 as a 2010 model. Now, just two model years later the Genesis is getting a mid-cycle enhancement that includes some important changes.
If Genesis styling looks a little more sophisticated and defined up front – it is. The Genesis has always been a handsome looking vehicle, if a bit understated. For 2012, Hyundai helps enhance its luxury appeal with a key element being redesigned headlights, adding LED elements and daytime running lights.
The fascia and grille have been reworked for a more aggressive and refined appearance. There is also new rocker panels, power-folding mirrors with puddle lighting and a side window surround finished in brushed aluminum.
Out back, the taillights are all-new and the rear fascia has been redesigned with dual asymmetrical exhaust tips. While we’re not big fans of the asymmetrical exhaust tips, overall we like the updates to the car’s exterior.
Now to the even more impressive part – the engine lineup. The Genesis now has three engine options, starting with a new top-level R-Spec model. The centerpiece is the R-Spec’s 5.0-liter V-8, an all-new direct-injected unit making 429 horsepower and 376 pound feet of torque.
This engine makes the Genesis R-Spec the most powerful vehicle Hyundai has ever produced. The 5.0-liter stands as a shining example of Hyundai’s engine expertise and development prowess. Also entirely new is an in-house eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 4.8-liter V-8 that has formed the top-level model for the Genesis gets a bump in horsepower to 385, and increased efficiency to boot, now returning 26 mph on the highway, up one mpg from 25. The base model 3.8-liter V-6 adds 43 hp and 27 lb-feet, now returning 333 hp and 291 lb-feet thanks to direct-injection.
To help take advantage of all the added power, the 5.0-liter R Spec gets a few performance enhancements. Visually, the car is more aggressive, with 19-inch alloy rims shod in 235/45R19 tired and new badging. Behind the scenes there is an upgraded braking system, and retuned steering, suspension and transmission. The R-Spec is a nice gesture from Hyundai towards enthusiasts, and we can’t wait to see more, such as a dedicated performance brand, in the future.
These updates are exactly the kind of steady refinement Hyundai needs to be doing to become a real player in the luxury market. The Genesis, already a competitive package before, gets significantly enhanced across the board with these updates for the 2012 model year.