First Look: 2012 Hyundai Genesis

"We want to have our cake and eat it, too."

by on Feb.09, 2011

Hyundai makes some significant mid-cycle updates to the Genesis sedan for 2012.

Hoping to maintain its momentum as the brand continues its move up-market, Hyundai is rolling out an updated version of its Genesis sedan at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

The 2012 Hyundai Genesis will deliver a number of upgraded features likely to appeal to luxury buyers, but what will likely draw the most attention is an all-new version of the Hyundai Tau V8 engine.  Significantly, the 5.0-liter Direct Injection powertrain will significantly boost  performance with only minimal impact on mileage, Hyundai’s top U.S. official claims.

“We’d like to have our cake and eat it, too,” contends John Krafcik, Hyundai of America’s chief executive.

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The most powerful engine Hyundai has ever produced, the Tau V8 will appear in both the 2012 Genesis and in an updated version of the maker’s new top-line model, the Equus.  It’s rated at 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.  That compared with 378 hp and 326 lb-ft for the current Genesis sedan’s 3.8-liter V8.

Fuel economy does dip, but only slightly, from the current 17 City, 26 Highway, to 16 mpg around town, 25 on the highway for the new Tau V8.

The updated Hyundai Genesis gets 51 more hp out of the Tau V8, with minimal impact on mileage.

To help maintain mileage, Hyundai will mate the bigger engine to an all-new 8-speed transmission that is designed to improve fuel consumption, on its own, by about 5%.

The Tau engine will be available in a special Genesis 5.0 R-Spec model.  Along with more power, it will get a stiffer, sport-style suspension tuning, new 19-inch machine-finish alloy wheels, and other tweaks to enhance its road feel.

There are only modest tweaks to the look of the sedan – which was named North American Car of the Year in 2009, a first for Hyundai.  That includes revised headlamps, with LED accents and running lamps, a more aggressive front fascia and grille, and sportier rocker panels.

The new top-line 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedan will go on sale in late March, and is expected to nudge upwards in price to somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000, Krafcik suggested, compared with the current $43,143 price for the V8-powered Genesis sedan.

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