Formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis the 2017 G80 was one of 2 cars that launched the Genesis brand. And now 4 years later it’s been completely redesigned into a sexier sedan with new engine options and a thoroughly reworked interior.
This one is the G80 2.5T RWD Advanced Package priced at $53,725 and having recently tested the new GV80 SUV, this week has felt very familiar.
The market shift away from sedans is no more pronounced than it is in the luxury segment where sales fell almost 45% last year as SUVs continue to steal the spotlight. The newly on sale GV80 is already outselling all three Genesis cars combined but that doesn’t mean Hyundai’s luxury brand is abandoning their trifecta of sedans; far from it. The full-sized G90 was thoroughly updated for 2020, the compact-sized G70 will be freshened this year, and then there’s this all-new G80; the car that started it all.
This Tasman Blue example is the ultimate expression of the brand’s aptly named Athletic Elegance design philosophy because it exudes equal amounts of both traits. The Quad Lamps, the Crest Grille, the mesmerizing 19” alloys; this is one fine looking automobile.
Like the entire Genesis lineup, it’s underpinned by a rear-wheel-drive architecture with optional all-wheel drive. Codenamed M3, it’s stronger, lower and 55 pounds lighter than the previous gen platform and with aluminum making up 19% of the body the G80 as a whole is over 240 pounds lighter. Those are attributes you feel from behind the wheel in terms of stability, handling and quietness.
The G80’s powertrain strategy has changed with none of the previous 3 motors carrying over. Instead Genesis utilizes a 1-2 turbo punch, with this G80 powered by a 2.5-liter turbo-4 producing a healthy 311 pound of torque with the upcharge engine being a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6.
Both transmit their power via an 8-speed automatic with this one receiving a more aggressive final drive resulting in some unintended tire squealing takeoffs.
This 300 horsepower turbo-4 doesn’t quite feel or sound as refined as the optional V6 but it’s quick to react, amply powered and flaunts a 26mpg rating. It’s been a little challenging to get that power to the pavement this week with sub-zero temps and snow, so this rear-wheel drive model is obviously better left for warmer climes. And it’s a nimble car with a smooth ride that feels light and spry without crossing over to sports sedan territory.
It makes for a tempting alternative to say the Lexus ES.
Pricing starts at about $48,000 and that gives you large car dimensions with an executive-sized rear seat and one of the biggest trunks on the market. The $4,600 Advanced Package injects these 19” wheels, panoramic sunroof, a 21-speaker Lexicon audio system, 3-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, this matte finish wood trim, and rear window shades.
As tested, you’re looking at $53,725 which seems bargain-priced by comparison while the available Prestige Package at $8,900 adds additional comforts such as real leather seats, a wireless device charger, smart park and much more – many of which I experienced in my GV80 tester and some, like the heads-up display, I’ve really missed having this week.
If you watched my GV80 review than this is all going to sound repetitive but here it goes…
There are a number of drive modes and in Sport the G80 really hustles through the backroads showing off its fun, rear-drive nature with enhanced sounds to boot but I’m curious as to why this one doesn’t include the Smart drive setting that automatically adapts to your driving style.
The seating is very comfortable, the ambient lighting and sounds of nature settings are cool toys with which to play and overall its minimalist, modern design is very appealing to the eye.
This is a lot of car for the money especially considering you get the Highway Driving Assist feature which isn’t total hands-off driving but it’s much more so than competing systems. Considering its ample size, big style, and long list of content, Genesis is practically daring you to trade in your German badge.
2021 GENESIS G80 TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES | TESTDRIVENOW 2021(c)