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Luxury automakers offering sportier models

September 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hyundai got into the luxury game with the Genesis, then their flagship Equus. They have every amenity you'd want in a car at a price that's lower than other luxury brands. But there's something else many luxury buyers are looking for these days: more muscle.

With a base price of $46,500, the newest version of the Genesis Sedan is called the 5.0 R-Spec. As the name suggests, it has a new 5-liter engine under the hood, making an impressive 429 horsepower.

A firmer suspension with handsome up-sized wheels rounds out the package. Hyundai played it a bit conservative with this one. It doesn't come with paddle shifters or a throaty exhaust.

Luxury hallmark Lexus resisted doing a sport package version of its big LS sedan for years, but recently added one.

For an extra $6,200 over the regular LS, you get some extra body trim, handsome forged wheels and massive Brembo brakes for stopping power.

Special seats and a sporty steering wheel round out the package, which starts at $74,190. Asian car brands are now following the Germans by offering up sporty variants for luxury buyers who want them.

Chrysler is continuing the performance tradition on its large luxury model. The revamped 300 now has an SRT8 version available at a base price of $47,170 with big muscle under the hood thanks to Hemi power. It also has huge wheels and tires to fill out the bulging fender wells.

Luxury cars with luxury packages are designed for much better handling, but a lot of people just buy them for the looks. That's OK, but not only will you have more expense up front, but possibly down the road as well.

The big sport package tires that everyone seems to want are often softer to stick to the road better, but that means they'll likely wear out faster and in many cases will cost more to replace.

For many, though, that's the price of looking cool and fast.


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