Now in its second year as a stand-alone brand, Genesis extends its luxury sedan lineup with a new turbocharged G80 Sport model. If anyone thought whether Hyundai, the parent company from which Genesis is spun, thought of competing seriously in the luxury segment, wonder no more.
For 2018, the G80 includes a 3.3T Sport trim level. Powered by a turbocharged V6 and underpinned by an adaptive, performance-oriented suspension, the 3.3T Sport promises to infuse the lineup with a level of performance that’s on par with its European competitors. Up til now, we have discovered the G80 is an exceptionally nice cruiser and commuter, but only just passable when trying to whip up a frenzy in the twists and turns.
A sprinkling of other new options, such as adaptive LED headlights and wireless device charging, add to the G80’s already impressive list of standard and optional features, a list that gets far more money when equipped on similar luxury sedans. And therein lies the appeal of the G80, a vehicle where your money goes much further.
There is some compromise, of course. Inside you’ll find quality and craftsmanship on the level of its European and Japanese peers, but rear-seat headroom is a little tight for this class of vehicle. We’ve also found the standard suspension doesn’t give the same kind of tight and cushy sophistication of its rivals. And some shoppers might balk at the Genesis G80 not having the panache or brand recognition of its established rivals. From our standpoint, though, the G80’s price atones for these sins. It’s a truly desirable midsize luxury sedan.
For 2018, Genesis sprinkles in a few new features, such as optional wireless device charging and adaptive LED headlights. More significantly, the G80 gains a new Sport trim that lands with a turbocharged V6 engine.
Even in base 3.8 trim, the 2018 Genesis G80 comes with enough premium features to feel like a proper luxury sedan. You can feature up the base trim with Premium and Ultimate option packages, but instead of that we would go for the new 3.3T Sport. Basically a 3.8 with both option packages and an upgraded engine, the 3.3T arrives with a saucier engine (54 more horsepower), nicer wheels, added styling flourishes and an adaptive suspension. It costs more than a fully loaded 3.8, but we feel the performance is worth it. It’s the one we’d get.
TRIM LEVELS & FEATURES
The 2018 Genesis G80 is actually midsized, five-passenger luxury sedan offered in three trim levels: 3.8, 3.3T Sportand 5.0. The number soup correlates to the size of engine underhood. For a base trim level, the G80 3.8 is anything but basic, with a wealth of standard options that equals or surpasses most in its class. The G80 5.0adds larger wheels and minor trim enhancements, but more notably more power from a V8 engine. The G80 3.3T Sport is more oriented to performance driving with its turbo V6 engine and dynamic suspension.
The G80 3.8 begins with a 3.8-liter V6 engine (311 horsepower, 293 pound-feet), an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.
Standard features also include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, traffic adapting cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, and a hands-free auto-opening trunklid.
Inside the cabin equally are eight-way power front seats (with heating and four-way power lumbar adjustment), leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Technology features include an 8-inch touchscreen interface, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, the Genesis Connected Services telematics system, two USB ports, and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.
Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection also arrive standard. All-wheel-drive models also come with headlight washers, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The G80 3.8 also gives two optional packages. The Premium package includes LED foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (on rear-wheel-drive models), rear and side window shades, a wireless device charging pad, a Lexicon 14-speaker audio system and an upgraded driver information display system.
The Ultimate package builds on the Premium package, including turn-swiveling LED headlights, a power trunklid, upgraded leather upholstery and driver seat adjustments, matte wood and aluminum trim, a head-up display, a 9.2-inch touchscreen, a multiview rearview/parking camera, a Lexicon 17-speaker audio system, and a carbon-dioxide sensor for the climate control system.
The new G80 3.3T Sport adds the Ultimate package features (minus LED foglights) and further gains a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine (365 hp and 376 lb-ft), 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, sport front seats, a simulated suede headliner, carbon-fiber interior trim, and dark chrome exterior trim.
The G80 5.0 Ultimate arrives equipped like the 3.3T Sport, but instead uses a 5.0-liter V8 engine (420 hp, 383 lb-ft). When equipped with optional all-wheel drive, the 3.3T Sport and 5.0 also include a heated steering wheel.
Each car typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2016 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 (3.8L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).
The regular V6 and V8 engines drives strong, with the V8 clearly having more low-end punch and smooth, linear power delivery. The V8 keeps the G80 competitive with other luxury sedans. The base V6 is strong enough, however, to satisfy most buyers.
The Genesis reacts precisely to steering input. Driver-selectable modes vary the steering effort.
Irrespective of its straight-line cruising aptitude, the G80 hangs on decently in corners, with better grip than its mass might suggest.
With a longer wheelbase than some of its competitors, the G80 presents a roomy cabin with an abundance of interior volume and rear legroom. Seat comfort and ride comfort are not as stellar as with some rival sedans, however.
The front seats are greatly adjustable, but they aren’t as comfortable over the long haul as the ones found in several competitors.
Ride quality is decent enough, but the G80 doesn’t soak up bumps and imperfections like the benchmark sedans in the class.
noise & vibration
The cabin is impressively quiet, and you’ll be hard-pressed to hear wind whoosh, tire whine or engine noise.
With a wheelbase that’s an inch or more longer than those of many other luxury sedans, the G80 offers generous cabin and passenger room. Rear legroom is comparable to that of other sedans, although tighter rear headroom is a knock against this otherwise stand-out cabin.
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Materials on the dash, doors and seats are as great as any in the class, and there’s not a visible interior piece or panel with even a whiff of cost-cutting. Meticulous level of assembly matches just about any premium German or Japanese sedan.
Befitting a vehicle of its class, the G80 is loaded with useful tech, including an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and emergency telematics services.
audio & navigation
A navigation system with an 8-inch touchscreen interface comes standard, as does a seven-speaker audio system with USB input and Bluetooth streaming. Two optional Lexicon audio upgrades are offered, one with 14 speakers and another with 17 speakers.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes standard, as does Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming and dual USB ports (one a combination data/charge port, one exclusively a charging port).
The G80 adds automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection to its suite of driver aids, which also includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.