MT. KISCO, NY – Beefing up its portfolio of vehicles equipped with direct-injection gasoline engines, Hyundai launches the Genesis Coupe and second-generation Azera just in time for the spring buying season.

The two newest models join the Accent, Sonata, Genesis sedan and Equus in featuring DI engines. A Hyundai spokesman says the Veracruz, Santa Fe and Tucson soon may feature the engines as well.

Hyundai is accelerating the adoption of DI engines because they improve power output and fuel efficiency at the same time. It's particularly noteworthy that the Korean auto maker is employing this more-costly technology while maintaining moderate pricing for its products.

The ’12 Azera's $32,000 base price, which rises to $36,000 with a premium technology package that includes navigation, gives Sonata owners the option to move up to a premium large sedan. The Buick LaCrosse is the top-seller in the segment, which also includes the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.

Hyundai's Asan plant, just south of Seoul, assembles the Azera. The factory has a nominal capacity of 320,000 units annually and also builds both the Sonata and its hybrid version. The Azera is a global model that soon will be launched in China.

John Shon, Hyundai product-development managaer, forecasts the average transaction price of the base-model Azera will be about $34,000. “We're not going to throw any money on it,” he tells WardsAuto at a media event here.

However, Shon forecasts the upscale model with the technology package will account for up to two-thirds of Azera sales.

The car’s new Lambda II 3.3L DI V-6 generates 293 hp. That’s more than any other V-6 in the segment except for the LaCrosse, which has a higher displacement. But Hyundai claims its 88.8 hp/L is best-in-class for specific output.

The auto maker also claims the Azera's all-aluminum V-6 provides better combined fuel efficiency than those powering the Maxima, Ford Taurus, Lexus ES350 and LaCrosse. The Azera with the V-6 is rated a combined 23 mpg (10 L/100 km) by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Azera’s V-6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain has an active Eco mode that enhances engine and transmission control to produce more than a 5% improvement in fuel economy, Hyundai says.

Despite the spring launch of the ’12 Azera, Hyundai is planning a ’13 model launch later this year.

The refreshed ’13 Genesis Coupe, which debuted at the Detroit auto show in January, adds a new twin-scroll turbocharger to give its 4-cyl. engine a 30% horsepower boost and 23% more torque, topping out at 275 lb.-ft. (373 Nm) at 2,000 rpm.

The 2.0L cast-aluminum 4-cyl. mill uses these enhancements to provide a power-to-weight ratio of 12.3:1.