First Look: 2012 Hyundai Genesis Sedan

Front brake rotors on the 4.6 and 5.0 models are up to 13.6 inches; the 3.8 model gets four-piston brake calipers and 13.0-inch rotors. Fuel economy of the R-Spec model matches that of the 2011 Chrysler 300C: 16/25 mpg city/highway.

Efficiency on the Chrysler 300 and Hyundai Genesis may be comparable, but even in refreshed form, the Genesis four-door falls behind its American rival in terms of design. Genesis styling is as understated as before, though the front grille is definitely bolder. But it's awkward on the 2011 and 2012 models without a Genesis or Hyundai badge.

A close look at the 2012 Genesis reveals that the headlights have been redesigned, incorporating daytime running lights and, like everything from the Kia Sportage to the Cadillac CTS, LED accent lights. The brushed aluminum trim around the side windows is new, as are the reshaped exhaust tips. The refreshed taillight design is immediately reminiscent of the Infiniti M sedan.

All the boxes are checked on the safety front with, with eight air bags, electronic active head restraints, stability control, and the optional Lane Departure Warning System. To help ensure that the Genesis isn't more difficult to park than an Elantra, the full-size four-door has eight ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers and a rear backup camera.

The 2012 Genesis fills an important niche for customers who want more than the outgoing Azera can offer, but don't need the size and expense of the flagship Equus. When the Genesis goes on sale this summer, the R-Spec model will help Hyundai raise transaction prices as well as serve as yet another halo model. As long as 2012 Genesis prices are kept in check, the target remains on the backs of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

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