Video: The most powerful Hyundai ever roars out at the Chicago Auto Show

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Hyundai’s 2012 Genesis R-Spec Sedan Has the Taekwondo to Back Up its New Mojo

Hyundai’s new positive image is mainly based on the excellent Genesis sedan and coupe. I always thought that the Genesis had potential to scare European performance sedans with more grunt.

Apparently, so did Hyundai.

Okay, so there’s no turbocharger or supercharger – that would be a sweet addition for tuners. Hyundai did fit a naturally aspirated, 429 horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 that puts down 376 pound-feet of torque. Ah-HA! Now you’re cooking with oil!

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Here’s what’s unique to the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Sedan R-Spec:

• The body is trimmed with unique badges and headlights are trimmed with a dark chrome reflector.

• The interior is upgraded and it (sort of) has the feel of a Lexus ISF inside. That’s not a bad thing as the ISF has one of the best interiors of Japanese sport sedans.

• The 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec sedan has larger, performance oriented brakes.

• Larger, 19-inch alloys wheels with 235/45-R19 tires are standard, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 summer tires are available.

• Look for prices to be in the mid $40,000 range.

• The suspension is heavily revised and it looks like the overall height has been lowered a bit.

• Steering has been revised and recalibrated for sportier performance.

• The eight-speed automatic transmission has been revamped for sportier function and Hyundai adds a manual shift mode.

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Good Mojo indeed.

Okay, so I’m a little disappointed that there’s no six-speed manual (the Genesis coupe’s six-speed would probably fit). Still, four-hundred-AND-twenty-nine horses in a stiffer, sharper sedan? Hell yes! The old engine was already excellent – so I am chomping at the bit to play with the 5.0-liter.

The only disappointment (other than the lack of a manual transmission) is the overall exterior design. I think a sports sedan like this should have a unique grill, hood and maybe a trunk with an integrated spoiler. But that’s me.

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As it stands, this is going to be a hell of a sleeper at various red lights and on-ramps throughout the world. I suspect the 0 to 60 mph times will fall in the low five-second range and overall handling will be close to the best in the business.

I think the 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec Sedan will scare some of the best in the business (yes Bavaria, I’m looking at you – so is Hyundai). You see, with Hyundai all fired up and using its superior Taekwondo to beat the crap out of just about everyone – I wouldn’t cast any doubt on their ability to challenge the best in the business.

It won’t be long before some folks have to get used to some spicy kimchi with their sauerkraut and sushi.

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