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Cooley's Logbook: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

We look at Hyundai's oblique answer to the 5 Series, the under-the-radar Genesis sedan in the R-Spec trim. Hyundai has made a lot of stretch goals lately, but is a budget BMW M fighter a battle they want?

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I'll be the first to say I scoffed when I saw an R-Spec badge on the Genesis 5.0 sedan. Needless line extension, I thought. But, in fact, it's not such a stretch (even if the idea that this is a BMW 550i killer is.)

I like the austerity of this car: Clean and almost plain but with sumptuous interior materials. Its 429-horsepower 5.0 V-8 is actually one of the most powerful you can buy in a car under $50 grand and it comes on smoothly. The eight-speed automatic is also an impressive piece at this price, when cars like the Camaro and Grand Cherokee are still hoping to get there.

Overall, this is a nice taut boulevardier but not something I felt really great driving on interesting small roads. Think of it as a value proposition, where its $46,500 MSRP and 10/100 warranty make it a no-brainer for a wide swath of car buyers who are considering a 5 Series but aren't exactly sure why.

Don't quibble over the R-Spec compared with the straight 5.0 V-8 Genesis sedan. The extra $1,000 buys a millimeter of sway bar diameter, an inch of wheel size, and a more aggressive, yet tasteful, look. Cheap at twice the cost.