2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Hyundai Genesis

Hyundai is serious about this luxury car business.

The 2009 rear-drive Genesis Sedan, which seemed to come out of nowhere, fired a Korean warning shot across the hoods of the four-ringed, tri-starred, roundel-badged establishment, and was named AJAC’s 2009 Canadian Car of the Year.

But despite the accolades, and a number of pundits (not me) declaring it every bit as good as a BMW 5 Series, Hyundai has been working hard to up the Genesis’ game.

Indeed, the original was a very good car, highlighted by Hyundai’s first in-house “Tau” V8 that in 375-hp 4.6-litre CVVT DOHC trim was a stellar mill right out of the box. At a recent Hyundai event, we were told engineers in Korea were given a blank sheet and a blank check, with instruction to deliver a world-class V8 – no compromises and no financial restrictions. With the Tau V8 landing on the “Ward’s Ten Best Engine” list for three years running: mission accomplished.

2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8. Click image to enlarge

The issue I had with the original Genesis sedan was its not-quite-there dynamics. The suspension delivered an odd mix of float and impact harshness, and on a twisting B-road where a BMW 5 would come into its own, the Genesis lost the plot.

For 2012, the Genesis sees numerous improvements, most notable being the adoption of a new in-house 8-speed auto (replacing the 6-speed ZF unit) and direct-injection in the both the V6 and V8 engines, The all-aluminum Lambda 3.8-litre V6 gains 43 hp and 27 lb.-ft., to 333 hp and 291 lb.-ft., and sees a small improvement in fuel economy, posting 8.1 L/100 km city and 6.9 L/100 km highway. Other advancements include Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT), a tuned variable induction system, a steel timing chain, and iridium-tipped spark plugs.

The Tau V8 gets bumped to 5 litres and puts out 429 hp and 376 lb.-ft. in the $53,499 R-Spec model, now the sole V8 variant in Canada.

2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8. Click image to enlarge

Looking at these 2012 offerings, one might say, “I don’t want a V6, but nor do I want this new hyper V8 Genesis.” But after a week in a top-trim $49,499 2012 Genesis 3.8 Tech Package, I’m inclined to think this new V6 model might be all the Genesis most customers will need. The improvements to the 3.8-litre V6 kick this car up several notches. You won’t be wanting the V8 unless hunting down the occasional BMW 550i, Infiniti M56 or Mercedes E550 is your idea of sport.

The Genesis 3.8 sedan starts at $39,999 for the base model. It gets leather, 17-inch alloys and proximity key with push-button start. Step up to the $44,999 3.8 Premium Package (most will) and you net 18-inch alloy wheels, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a Lexicon surround sound system with 14 speakers and a seven-inch touch-screen navigation system with rearview camera.

My $49,499 Tech Package tester built on the Premium with adaptive cruise control, new lane departure warning system, adaptive Xenon HID headlights, park assist sensors, eight-inch touch-screen navigation, ventilated driver’s seat, and a 608-watt Lexicon audio system with 7.1 surround sound.

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