It’s not a BMW. It’s not a Mercedes-Benz. And no, it’s not even Toyota. The Genesis R-Spec is a Hyundai, and it has a lot of luxurious amenities that those other brands have as well as a 5.0-liter V8 engine under the hood. If that sounds interesting to you, then you’ll be even more interested that you can now pick one up for less than the price of a used Honda Civic. Let’s take a closer look.
A big step in the right direction
Hyundai released the Genesis back in 2009 as a full-size sedan option, which added to its existing sedan lineup of the Sonata and Azera. It was intended to show that Hyundai was taking a bold step into the luxury direction while being able to hold a candle to likes of Mercedes and BMW.
To keep things competitive, the Genesis was available with either a 3.8-liter V6 or a 4.6-liter V8. They proved to be stout engines and the car itself received praise from reviewers at the time of its inception.
Edmunds once noted, “With the badges removed, the Genesis could easily pass as a Lexus or Mercedes-Benz.” That’s a pretty high remark when it comes to the car’s luxurious styling.
Looks aside, Hyundai knew that was room for improvement when it came to their newly created luxury sedan, which is why they came up with the 5.0 R-Spec trim level for the 2011 model year to coincide with the minor refresh.
What did the R-Spec model include?
While Hyundai did mean for the Genesis sedan to be a “performance luxury” vehicle from the get-go, they took it a step further with the R-Spec model.
Starting with the engine, Hyundai massaged more power out of the V8 they already had. The regular 4.6-liter V8 produced an impressive 375 horsepower, but by boring out the cylinders to get 5.0-liters of displacement, they were able to achieve 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque.
The bigger engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and routed power to the rear wheels, which proved to be the right combination for making the full-size luxury performer more competitive with stalwarts in the segment.
The bump in power meant that the Genesis R-Spec was able to get to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds, according to Motortrend. Considering it was a sedan that weighed over 4,000 pounds, those numbers were impressive.
Was the engine the only upgrade?
The Genesis R-Spec wasn’t just about the engine upgrade, though, as it built upon the existing Genesis 4.6 model.
The R-Spec came with larger front and rear brakes with four-piston brake calipers and the suspension was retuned with stiffer shock absorbers, a tighter multi-link suspension in the rear, larger anti-roll bars, and larger 19-inch wheels.
According to Motortrend’s testing at the time, the stiffer suspension equated to 0.88g rating on the skidpad and a one-second faster slalom time than its 4.6-liter little brother.
It’s tough to blend luxury with performance, however, with the Genesis R-Spec, Hyundai seemed to get it right. At least for a little while.
It’s worth it buy one now
The Genesis “R-Spec” lasted until 2014 when the Hyundai completely revised the Genesis sedan and made the 5.0-liter engine one of the main engine choices. The success of the Genesis model eventually led the way for the Hyundai creating the “Genesis” brand that we now have today.
When it was new, the Genesis R-Spec carried an MSRP of around $47,000, which was more affordable than its German rivals at the time. And it is even more affordable now.
In today’s market, the R-Spec model is cheaper than a pre-owned Honda Civic, as prices range from $10,000 to $14,000 depending on the mileage, condition, and location.
If you’re looking to get into something that’s more luxurious than your average commuter car and has enough performance to blow the doors off a muscle car, then we suggest checking out a Hyundai Genesis R-Spec.