It’s been a few years since we last got behind the wheel of the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec. We called it a subtle hot rod, and that title still holds today. It still may seem crazy to some that Hyundai decided to take it’s mild-mannered sedan and give it more juice — a lot more juice — than the already powerful 3.8-liter V6. But you will never see us complain about more power, sportier handling, and stepped up exterior styling
The visual differences between the already good-looking sedan and the R-Spec include unique HID headlamps with dark chrome inserts, an R-Spec badge on the rear lip, and black R-Spec embroidered floormats. The R-Spec also is available win three exterior colors: Casablanca White, Caspian Black, Parisian Gray, and Santiago Silver, and your choice of interior color, as long as it’s black leather. While we drove the 2013 model, the only change for 2014 is the addition of a heated steering wheel.
Other features for the R-Spec over the standard 3.8 sedan include standard power folding sideview mirrors with turn signal indicators and puddle lamps, front and rear parking assist systems, rain-sensing wipers, auto windshield defogger, power glass sunroof, power tilt/telescoping steering column, power rear sunshade, Smart cruise control, 8-way power driver’s seat, and Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system.
As far as performance differences, the R-Spec gets 19-inch,10-spoke wheels and tires over the standard 18-inch 14-spoke rims, and a lower-profile tire: 45- versus 50-series rubber. The rear suspension differs slightly as well, with a slightly larger (19mm versus 18mm) stabilizer bar.
But the biggest difference is the leap from a 3.8-liter V6 to a 5.0-liter V8 powerplant. While the V6 makes a more than decent 333 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque, the powerful V8 jumps to 429 ponies and 376 lb-ft of torque. What makes this 5.0-liter engine so much fun to drive is the sleeper quality. Pair this beast with this unassuming sedan, and you’ll stun Porsche drivers every damn time you leave them at the stoplight. Giggles ensue as you glance back at them in your rearview mirror. The R-Spec gets your competitive spirit flowing, and hunting unsuspecting “performance machines” is fun enough to qualify for video game status.
In addition to burning much more expensive rides and embarrassing their drivers, the Genesis R-Spec sedan just feels good. The ride is comfortable yet controlled, the steering inputs are precise and direct, and the close to 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity is more than enough to get the milk home from the grocery store before it can get warm. However, that milk may become cream depending on how fast you go to get home.
For all this goodness, there are a few penalties. First is fuel economy. Rated at 16 city and 25 highway, with a V8 and a heavy foot, you’ll be lucky to see those numbers. We were around 14 mpg average, but to be fair, we played favorites with the throttle over the brake pedal as often as possible.
Next is the price. While the V6 starts at $34,200, the R-Spec jumps to $46,800. Because the R-Spec is loaded, the only extra is the destination charge, bringing the as-tested price to $47,675. For 2014, the prices went up, to $35,200 for the V6, and $47,400, so if you can find a 2013 model still on the lot, grab it because the vehicle is basically the same.
When it comes to a vehicle purchase, there’s always more to consider. For example, the Hyundai Genesis has the highest initial quality in the midsize premium car segment from J.D. Power and Associates 2013 IQS. Hyundai also offers Assurance Connected Care telematics standard for three years, and an outstanding warranty program. In addition, Hyundai was named most reliable manufacturer by CarMD’s annual vehicle health index report. Ancillary wins like these add to the overall value of the purchase, not to mention, the overall customer ownership experience.
Summed up, the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec sedan delivers power, good looks, quality, and an overall ownership experience that is hard to match in the segment.