Entry Price: $41,750
Price as tested: $56,255
This week, it’s the luxurious 2018 Genesis G80 Sport we’re reviewing, a model we’ve driven when introduced in 2017. As smaller sibling to the larger Genesis G90 (which we drove in 2016), I’ll note that Genesis no longer has any Hyundai badges on it, and is now a Genesis Motors stand alone luxury unit of Hyundai. Genesis replaces the former Hyundai Genesis that debuted in 2008 and also the extended wheelbase Hyundai Equus, that debuted in the U.S. in 2014.
Any Genesis link to other Hyundai vehicles is finally starting to work. Helping Genesis establish itself in the finicky luxury market is the fact that in the 31 years since that first Hyundai compact arrived in America, Hyundai has become one of the top vehicle manufacturers in the world.
Genesis Motors, meanwhile, is still undergoing some consumer branding obstacles with its full-size G90, mid-size G80 and soon to debut 2019 G70 compact. It is successfully departing from “Hyundai badge stigma,” and is nowhere near as critical as it was a few years ago. As I always mention when reviewing a Genesis is the fact that Hyundai is undergoing the exact same “disassociation fever” that Japanese manufacturers Infiniti (Nissan), Lexus (Toyota) and Acura (Honda) underwent when they, too, were ready to take on Cadillac, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz here in America.
As for the dealers, Hyundai still allows dealers that offered the 2015 Genesis model the right to sell 2018 Genesis cars without building a site specific showroom. As of this writing, half of the Hyundai dealers across America can sell and are official Genesis franchises, unlike the Infiniti, Acura and Lexus dealerships that are site specific. (Translation? You won’t find an Honda Accord at an Acura store). However, this agreement will come to an end soon as Genesis specific stores will begin showing up later this year. And, as the new Genesis SUV’s arrive, these new Genesis stores will be filled with many vehicles to sell.
Now, back to the 2018 Genesis G80.
New for 2018 are enhancements to front and rear fascias and the addition of an engine that was only available in the G90 last year, namely the 3.3 liter twin turbo. G80s are available starting with the entry G80 311-horse 3.8-liter V6 ($41,750), followed by our tester Sport 365-horse twin turbo 3.3-liter V6 ($55,250) and then the top line G80 410-horse 5.0-liter V8 ($57,000). If you want AWD, add $2,500 to these prices.
Retailing for near $10,000 less than competing models, our 3.3 liter twin-turbo V6 powered G80 Sport delivers a stout 365 horses and 376 lb. ft. of torque. The engine connects to a Shiftronic eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and delivers the power to the ground via rear wheel drive and 19-inch Continental Pro Contact tires on beautiful alloy wheels. EPA highway fuel mileage with the rear drive setup is 25 highway and 17 city, which is acceptable for a 365-horse, large luxury car.
After driving big brother and heavier G90 with the 3.3 twin turbo V6 last year, the smaller G80 with the same powertrain is quicker and faster due to its lighter build. Similar to the G90, highway manners are very good in all driving situations and acceleration is impressive as zero to 60 mph arrives in the low to mid five-second range.
Genesis G80 rides on a near six-inch shorter wheelbase than the G90’s 124.4-inches, meaning the rear seat legroom may not be as leg friendly as G90, but is still good. The car offers outstanding driver and passenger comfort and clearly boasts a special luxury motif similar to the best German, Japanese and European rivals. Every Genesis I’ve ever driven serves up a quiet, smooth ride with a generous dose of luxurious amenities. Helping generate the excellent handling is the Genesis Sport suspension, available only on the Sport model. Your Genesis dealer will gladly explain how it all works.
Standard fare on our tester includes every luxury and safety item imaginable including blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, enhanced safety rear and multi-view cameras, power sunroof, nine airbags, full grain leather ventilated/heated front seats, heated rear seats, rain-sense wipers, tilt and telescopic wheel, auto-dim mirrors, head up windshield display, high intensity headlamps, fog lights, wood trim, premium 9.2-inch HD Navigation touch screen, all the powers, acoustical windows, multi-power trunk, dual mode vent control and a Lexicon 17-speaker discreet logic stereo system. In addition to the special suspension, the Sport model also features special front seats and steering wheel and a sport chrome quad exhaust system.
Additional high-end security that results in 5-Star government safety ratings include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, smart cruise with start/stop capability, driver attention alert, front and rear park sensors, emergency braking and more. Further, the legendary 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is another plus that comes with every Genesis purchase. Add in a three year SiriusXM Satellite package with traffic and travel, along with three years of free service/maintenance and complimentary Genesis Connection, and you have even more reasons to give this outstanding luxury vehicle a look.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 118.5 inches, 4,453 lb. curb weight, 15.3 cu. ft. of cargo space and a 20.3 gallon fuel tank.
Genesis G80’s entry price of $41,400 is notable, especially when put side by side with competitors. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new 2019 G70 compact sedan, which starts at about $33,500 (estimate) with the 252-horse four-cylinder while the 365-horse V6 will be available.
Likes: Twin turbo V6, pricing, Genesis specific dealerships coming soon.
Dislikes: Depreciation a concern, steering feel a bit light.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.