The Genesis G80 blends affordability and luxury unlike any other model.
It has been nearly five years since Genesis separated from Hyundai to form a distinct luxury brand. By this summer, a fifth model and the brand’s second SUV will roll out, giving such competitors as BMW, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz something to worry about. In the meantime, the midsize G80 sedan is all-new for 2021, with a consumer-pleasing price point that starts below $50,000.
Genesis offers the 2021 G80 in 2.5T RWD ($47,700), 2.5T AWD ($50,850), 3.5T RWD ($59,100), and 3.5T AWD ($62,250) trims. Add $1,045 for the destination charge. The G80 comes with standard rear-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive along with seating for five.
What an impression a Genesis G80 makes! Somehow, in these days of oversized grilles, the crown-shaped gaping maw consuming this sedan’s front end seems entirely appropriate. Perhaps it’s the stacked LED lighting that relaxes the look or the beautiful sculpting that moves from the top of the front fascia to form the hood that does the trick. No matter, we weren’t dismayed by its kiddie-pool-sized design.
The G80’s long profile is marked by handsome side marker lights, strong character lines, and just enough body sculpting to maintain interest. The high beltline kicks up at the rear to meet the falling roofline, creating a restrained sportback look. An assortment of unique wheel choices is among the many styling points we admire. From the rear, wraparound taillamps and dual exhaust finishers put a sporty stamp on the backside. The only drawback of the design is the trunk is uncommonly small, measuring just 13.1 cubic feet.
Inside, the Genesis G80 is cavernous. This year’s model reconfigured the interior to add extra space for the rear passengers. Five can sit adequately inside, but two in the back are ideal for almost limousine-like comfort. Moving up to the full-size G90 may be the better option here.
The G80’s cabin is quiet with rich materials and a flawless fit and finish throughout. It seems larger thanks to thinner roof pillars that also improve outward vision. Buttons and controls are on the steering wheel and center stack, supplying a clean look accented by texturized chrome. A pair of dials occupy the base of the console. One serves as the transmission controller and the other as a touchpad for controlling the screen. It must be said that this layout takes some getting used to.
Imitation leather seats or available real hides dress the interior. Power 12-way front seats, heated front seats, open-pore wood, ambient lighting, and an available panoramic sunroof are features we treasure. The front seats are plush and all-day comfortable. Our lone complaint is that the driver seat cushion extension, which is ideal for maximum thigh support and lower back relief, is only available on the G70 sedan and GV80 SUV models. Please make it widely available, Genesis!
Safety & Tech
Genesis includes all of its driver-assist safety features as standard equipment. That’s a welcome difference from some competitors where shoppers must purchase the tech separately and only after agreeing to another upgrade, sometimes for unrelated amenities.
The list is impressive and includes forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot monitoring, driver attention warning, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance, and lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist. The all-important adaptive cruise control with full stop and go is the cherry on top of the safety tech pie.
As for in-cabin technology, the Genesis G80 features all the things, including a 14.5-inch touch-screen display, a 12-speaker audio system, HD Radio, satellite radio, navigation, and three USB ports (two front, one back). The available upgrades include a 21-speaker Lexicon audio system, a wireless charging pad, and a 12.3-inch 3D digital cluster display. We’re talking advanced looks, baby! A surround-view camera system and head-up display are optional.
Genesis G80 Performance
It wasn’t long ago when the G80 offered two V6 and one V8 engine choices. This year, those engines have been scrapped with two all-new engines replacing them.
The standard engine is a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. Also available is a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque.
Though the engines are smaller, turbocharging technology maximizes power. Our test model had the larger of the two engines, although we’ve driven Hyundai and Kia models with the smaller engine and found it more than sufficient for the task. The boosted V6’s turbos spool quickly, with only a slight lag detected, enabling the transmission to connect to a low gear and move this sedan forward briskly.
Both G80 engines work with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, a collection of drive modes, and your choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. The G80’s ride is smooth and the sedan supplies very good handling. You may notice limited body roll on sharp turns, one area where Germany’s finest manage well.
The $11,400 difference between models goes well beyond an engine upgrade. The turbo-four may do it for some shoppers, but the powerful V6 is hard to ignore. Genesis keeps package upgrades to a minimum and that means its top price stays below $70,000 or far less with the standard trim.
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