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2013 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

by on March 12, 2013


Full Review by Andy: Enough Is Enough

Here is the hypothesis behind the automotive review.
A journalist writes a review that he thinks is clever. Millions of trusting minions read the review, salivate over the car in question, and dash to the nearest dealership to sign a contract. Everyone sings Kum Ba Yah and the journalist rakes in the money.
Ostensibly, the journalist-reader relationship is very hierarchical, very feudal, very patronizing, and a boatload of bunk. In truth, readers just as often do whatever the hell they want and tell the reviewer to shove it, frequently with good reason. Sometimes, the journalist is wrong.
Therefore, when a staunch handful of automotive journalists and car quacks proclaim that the 2013 Hyundai Genesis is not quite good enough, and all the real-world buyers scream, “You sit on a throne of lies!” who is correct?

The answer to that question lies in one word: enough. “Enough” is a terrible word, a frightening word, for it usually walks arm-in-arm with a limitation or caveat, e.g., “I’ve had enough for dinner,” or, “These grades are not good enough.” Is the Genesis sedan enough?

Like all such things, criticisms begin under the hood. The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec uses a 5.0-liter V8 engine that cranks out a whopping 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Some say that if it is equipped with sticky enough tires, the Genesis has the muscle to reverse the rotation of the earth. Anyone with a working foot can launch the Genesis sedan to 60 mph in a hair over five seconds.

Such power is all well and good, and if the Germans were not around, opinions might be left there: high, dry, and happy. Unfortunately for Hyundai, the Germans are a persistent breed. Faced with the likes of the BMW 3 Series or 5 Series, the Genesis falters. It simply is not – well, not enough. From steering precision and communication to body roll and nose-diving, to transmission quickness and calibration, and to ride comfort and accuracy, the Genesis sedan plays second fiddle to the best of Germany.

At this time, a reader of this review is probably screaming at his or her computer screen yelling, “You can shove it, clam chowder-head!” And with good reason. The reason is that the driving differences between the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec and the Audi A6, Cadillac XTS, or Mercedes-Benz E-Class are, for the most part, negligible. They simply do not matter. Comfort, speed, quickness: a check for $10,000 less with the Hyundai Genesis. To professional drivers, the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec may deserve no special “R,” but to the layman – “Hey, this thing can really get up and go!”

(Check out the 333-horsepower 3.8L Genesis sedan, reviewed separately).

Going anywhere in the Genesis sedan is a treat. The cabin is quiet and padded all over, swaddled in leather and trimmed in soft-touch plastics. The cabin is clear-cut: no wood. An honest appraisal would deem the interior extremely comfortable but a little boring, which is no surprise since the Genesis sedan debuted in 2009. Its tour de force is not style but function: cavernous legroom, broad seats, and the easiest control layout since the original Nokia mobile phone. As befitting a luxury car, the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec has a large 15.9-cubic-foot trunk with a pass-through feature for longer items like skis and golf clubs. Unfortunately, the rear seats do not fold flat. (See fuel economy information).

The 5.0 R-Spec trim is the top of the Genesis lineup. In other words, it is decadent enough to shame Belshazzar. Something outside of Germany should not have this many features. Rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system – didn’t the Germans invent half this stuff? The Genesis also boasts a plethora of comfort and convenience features, including heated front and rear seats, a 17-speaker gem of a Lexicon audio system, and a power sunroof.

Many technological features on the Hyundai have been refreshed or updated for 2013. The standard multimedia system now has an eight-inch touch-screen with improved graphics and shortened response times, and the voice commands actually – well, work. An advanced navigation system comes free of charge, and it has a 64-GB hard disc hard drive (HDD). HDDs contain no moving parts, so they are not as susceptible to malfunctions as traditional spinning disks. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity comes standard, as do enhanced BlueLink communication and telematics functions.

Is it good enough?

That was a dumb question. Readers are going to do whatever they want, anyways. And if they salivate over the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec sedan and dash to the nearest dealership to sign a contract, who’s to blame them?


5.0-liter V8 engine: 429 horsepower @6,400 rpm/376 lb-ft of torque @5,000 rpm
eight-speed shiftable automatic transmission
16/25 mpg (RWD)

0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds

Base MSRP: $46,800

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  • Miss Gideon

    I loved the drive, at least when it first came out.

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