A little red "R"

Hyundai's Genesis sedan gets the R-Spec treatment to match its Coupe cousin. However, the changes that come with that "R" badge are more subtle this time out.

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Design

The Genesis may be the most derivative of all of Hyundai's current models, obviously echoing many of the design cues established by Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. If you're going to copy, then copy the best.

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Dark chrome lights

The R-Spec model's headlights feature a dark chrome finish that looks great when matched with the Black Noir Pearl paint.

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LED accents

LED headlamp accents are almost a required feature for premium vehicles these days. The Genesis doesn't disappoint with its organic light pipes.

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5.0-liter V-8

This was our first outing with the new 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Power was good at 429 horsepower, but the sound this direct-injected mill made at full bore was decidedly unrefined.

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Sport tuned suspension

The R-Spec model features a unique suspension tune that's more performance oriented than the standard setup. All Genesis sedans feature SACHS Amplitude Damping Shock Absorbers, but no adaptive suspension option.

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Not a sport sedan

It may be sharper than your average Genesis and its numbers look good on paper, but the 5.0 R-Spec's performance paled in comparison to that of the latest Lexus LS 460. Mostly this is due to the eight-speed automatic transmission's lack of a sport program.

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Large and luxurious

The Genesis' true strength lies in its ability to deliver a large, comfortable sedan that looks the luxury part for well under $50k.

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Wheels and tires

The R-Spec features unique 19-inch wheels with a more aggressive look, but the tires aren't any wider than the stock rubber (235-width). Slightly wider (245-width), stickier summer meat is available as an option.

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Rear end

A simple rear end finished with large, chrome exhaust tips punctuates the Genesis' understated styling.

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Cabin comfort

Compared with the rest of Hyundai's line, the Genesis' cabin is a massive step up in quality. However, it's not hard to see where the automaker has cut corners to keep the price down -- particularly when compared with other luxury sedans.

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Materials

The R-Spec's interior features a blend of black leather, silver accents, and, unfortunately, quite a bit of dull, black plastic.

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Steering wheel

For example, the leather-wrapped steering wheel's central hub is made of the same dull plastic that we'd expect to see in a Hyundai Accent. You'd think Hyundai would invest in better materials here, directly in the driver's line of sight.

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Steering wheel controls

The Genesis R-Spec comes standard with adaptive cruise control, which can be set and adjusted using buttons on the steering wheel.

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Steering wheel controls

The other steering wheel buttons are dedicated to audio controls and hands-free calling.

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Instrumentation

The Genesis' instrumentation is simple and easy to read, featuring a small, full-color LCD in the center of the cluster.

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Extra safety systems

A small bank of buttons features controls for proximity detection system, the lane departure warning system, and stability control.

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Push-button starter

This push-button starter is taken straight from Hyundai's parts bin.

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Control knob

The nicest bit of the Genesis' interior is the controller for the infotainment system. This metallic control knob has a nice heavy feel and is flanked by a bank of buttons that makes the rest of the interior look cheap by comparison.

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Infotainment

The Genesis' infotainment system is not touch-sensitive, but is controlled by a combination of the control knob and voice commands.

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Navigation

The navigation system is simple, but effective. Traffic data is provided by the standard SiriusXM satellite connection, but our tester's trial subscription had lapsed.

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HD Radio is included on the Genesis' list of standard audio sources, which is nice for terrestrial radio fans. Bluetooth audio streaming is not, which is very bad for non-iPhone, smartphone users.

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Digital audio

USB connectivity is standard and upgradable to iPhone/iPod connectivity with a $35 sync cable.

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Bluetooth hands-free

Hyundai's voice-controlled hands-free calling system makes another appearance here.

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Seat heaters and coolers

Both of the front seats can be heated, but only the driver gets the ventilated cooling option.

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Check out the full review

The Genesis 5.0 R-Spec package is mostly an appearance and badge job, not really offering much difference in performance over the standard Genesis sedan. Manage your expectations, and you'll find that it can also be a fantastic value.

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