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Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Review | A Hidden Gem in Performance

Recently, we did a review of the First Generation Hyundai Genesis, with a primary focus on the mainly the 3.8 and 4.6 trim levels and whether they will be able to keep their premium-lux identity. However, the Genesis R-Spec is a little different.

When the Genesis was redesigned for the 2015 model year, only a 3.8 and 5.0 model was available with no R-Spec brand on the 5.0. The 4.6 engine option was dropped in 2013 for the previous generation Genesis leaving buyers only with the ability to purchase the 3.8 V6 or the 5.0 R-Spec.

The first-generation Genesis was released in 2009, with the 5.0 R-Spec not being debuted until 2012.The 5.0 R-Spec Genesis did not underperform with sporty characteristics, great pickup, and outstanding handling. Although it wasn’t aimed at range-topping AMG, BMW M, Audi S models, it was competing more along the lines of a V8 powered Chrysler 300, Mercedes E550, or BMW 550i. All at a considerably cheaper price with the unique ability to run on regular gas.

The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Today

The Genesis R-Spec sedan has managed to develop it’s own unique following in the past 4 years that it’s been out. Those who know about the R-Spec or own the R-Spec do swear by the car. In our previous article, we covered that previous-gen Genesis sedan was starting to look dated with it’s new modern successor in the game. Although that statement is true, the R-Spec trim has a little more of an athletic look to it with bigger wheels, darker headlight enclosures and sitting slightly lower than its sibling trims. The year the R-Spec came out was also the year that the Genesis sedan lineup received some minor cosmetic updates to keep up with the times.

Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Interior

The inside is also a bit outdated as well, although the R-Spec did ditch some materials that felt cheap, but nothing more sporty such as more aluminum or carbon fiber replaced it. Leaving the interior somewhat uninspiring. 4 years later, the interior finishes and materials are holding up well, but the cabin is lacking the sportier feel you might expect when you get into a something like a BMW 550i with M-Sport Package. Although a premium feel was a little more noticeable in the R-Spec as opposed to the V6 and 4.6 trims.

Performance is where the R-Spec does quite well, a 429-HP Tau 5.0L V8 that is pretty similar to the 4.6 model but with a larger bore and higher compression ratio. Right off the line and at partial throttle, it doesn’t feel much different than the 4.6. At higher RPMs the car quickly accelerates with a nice kick to show off it’s sportiness. Handling wise with refined brakes and suspension, the flimsy driving characteristics found in the earlier Genesis models we’re resolved. The 8-Speed automatic transmission developed by Hyundai also performs well with quick shifts and good response when shifted at the right RPM’s.

The overall build quality of the Genesis is quite exceptional for the price. With regular care shown to the vehicle (similar to taking care of any other modern Hyundai), very few mechanical and electrical problems have been reported, the exterior paint has proven to be durable, and the interior for the most part has held up quite well over the years. The minor fading of certain interior materials we found in the other Genesis trim levels did not seem to exist. The vehicle is definitely not a high maintenance car despite its “performance” status either. Owners have been shown a little bit more are than other Genesis trim levels when it comes to maintaining their R-Spec at the time of ownership.

The Genesis R-Spec is still hard to come by today, you can now find a pre-owned Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Sedan with good miles anywhere $24,000 to around $28,000.

The issue of brand identity does still exist with the GenesisR-Spec but not as much thanks to the R-Spec badge that has been well established on the coupe line in recent years.

Despite the risk of the Genesis sedan possible loosing it’s premium identity due to the Genesis brand coming out. The Genesis R-Spec trim might be a hidden gem on the performance sedan market. With power output numbers higher than models from premium brands, and low maintenance the Genesis R-Spec might be the smart choice for the speed craving driver.