Genesis G80 2023: the latest Korea
Luxury vehicle buyers are now spoiled for choice. Over the years, Genesis, Polestar, Lucid and Tesla emerged in a market that had seemed very stable until then. A market where luxury and exclusivity have long been defined by names like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar and Maserati.
Among these newcomers, Genesis surprised many with the high quality and sophistication of its products. The G80 sedan, which we tested before the first snowfall, is a shining example of this.
Young brand of Hyundai-Kia group
It was in 2015 that Genesis became the third brand of the Hyundai-Kia group. The Korean manufacturer created it to participate in high-end niches. They are not only profitable, but also a place where new trends in aesthetics and technologies emerge. Against this background, the G80 became a competitor to Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Volvo S90 and others.
The model currently offered to us was introduced in March 2020 in South Korea. A few months later, it debuted in our market in the middle of the pandemic. Since then, its sales have remained limited. This year, for example, at the end of the third quarter, only 288 Genesis G80s had found buyers in the country. If you think that’s not a lot, think again, as long-time marque Audi only delivered 310 units of the A6 sedan during the same period. It is explained very simply. Like its competitors, Genesis’ compact models – the G70 sedan and GV70 utility – are the most popular today. As proof, during these first three quarters, Genesis sold almost ten times as many GV70s to Canadians as G80s.
However, the sales achieved confirm that there is a market for this large sedan. What’s more, it sports an attractive silhouette, as evidenced by several approving comments heard during our test drive. It can be easily distinguished from the model it replaces by LED headlights hidden under long horizontal translucent strips, a design element now common to all cars of the brand, a very wide grille in the form of a coat of arms.
Its revised body is also characterized by prominent shoulders at the level of the wheel arches, especially at the rear, and a gently sloping arched roof. For the G80, however, this iconic shape doesn’t compromise on comfort. The passenger compartment benefits from a very long wheelbase, 3m, which means rear passengers are entitled to princely legroom and legroom. They don’t need to be gymnasts to settle in, they’re less arched than pavilion seats.
If the comfort in the back is a princess, the front is a kingdom! At least that’s the case with the G80 3.5T Sport Plus, the version we drove. The driver and passenger sit in spacious bucket seats upholstered in soft leather and offer plenty of adjustment (16 for driver, 12 for passenger). This adds four more without forgetting the lumbar support of the seats. It is ideal for enjoying the comfortable atmosphere provided by the well soundproofed cabin. In addition, the dedicated Ergo seat for this version’s driver, the most stylish of the lot, even has adjustable side bolsters that inflate with a bump during acceleration for better body support. This is divine!
The dashboard is modern and looks more open than the old G80. For the cheaper 2.5T Advanced and 3.5T Sport versions, it is upgraded with aluminum trim, while the manufacturer confirms the premium status of the 3.5T Sport Plus by equipping it with carbon fiber trim.
Multiple touch buttons
A digital display behind the steering wheel provides the driver with a wealth of driving information. In the two cheapest versions, its size is 8 inches, and the 3.5T Sport Plus is designed for a more sophisticated 12.3-inch 3D screen. To the right of this screen, a 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen dominates the center of the instrument panel. It is very wide, has a matte finish that never causes annoying reflections. We’d love to find one on all touchscreens in the industry! On the other hand, we’d like the Sport Plus version to be less dependent on the touch controls used to adjust the heating and ventilation. Overcrowded and small, they become difficult to control and force the driver to take his or her attention off the road.
The same goes for the Sport Plus’ steering wheel-mounted touch-sensitive controls – plus a steering wheel that feels good in the hand. They are so sensitive that it is enough to touch them to accidentally activate something and suddenly become an unnecessary distraction…
The trunk of this long sedan will not impress anyone. It has an inconvenient prominent threshold, a short opening and inconvenient shapes. It has less volume than the Hyundai Elantra (402 versus 424 liters). We’re far from better-sized trunks than the A6 and E-Class, with 530 L and more useful volume.
Spinning rear wheels
Common to both G80 3.5Ts, the handsome G-Matrix patterned alloy wheels wear low-profile 20-inch Pirelli all-season tires (245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 rear). All this makes the sedan great at the expense of directional accuracy. Indeed, the direction sometimes seems blurry, especially on highways where trucks dig holes. This creates confusion over all-wheel steering.
So when the front wheels turn, the rear wheels turn. At speeds above 60 km/h, it can rotate 2 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels to increase maneuverability, and at speeds below 60 km/h, this rotation can reach 3.5 degrees, but in the opposite direction it reaches 5 m. sedan is very maneuverable. Two or three degrees may not seem like much, but when you’re behind the wheel and have to maneuver in a crowded parking lot, it shows!
Two powerful engines
The three models listed in the brand’s catalog share a twin-supercharged engine. The entry-level version, the G80 2.5T Advanced, is powered by a 300-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder that delivers 311 lb-ft of torque between 1,650 and 4,000 rpm. As for the G80 3.5T Sport and Sport Plus models, they share a 375-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with more torque across a wider rev range, or 391 lb-ft from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm. produces. These ratings explain that the V6 is the more inspiring of the two engines, with increased smoothness and acceleration. It accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds, and the 4-cylinder takes 6.1 seconds.
Both of these engines are mated to an 8-speed transmission, and for Canada, Genesis doesn’t offer rear-wheel drive G80s, only AWDs, which is good. However, the V6’s smoothness and power are measured in liters of premium fuel. The manufacturer claims the V6 averages 12.6 liters per 100 km/h, which our test confirmed within a few tenths of a liter. The 4-cylinder of the G80 2.5T is satisfied with 9.5 L.
Electrified by the G80?
That thirst for black gold may prompt some G80 buyers to consider purchasing a new variant that will join the sedan’s lineup in 2023: the G80 Electrified (Electrified G80 for English speakers). Similar to the other three, this G80 is powered by two 136kW motors powered by an 87.2kWh lithium-ion battery that drives all four wheels.
This engine produces 365 horsepower, which is enough power to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds. Therefore, the G80 Electrified is the fastest version of the series. According to the manufacturer, its battery would have enough “juice” to cover a distance of 454 km, which is enough to go from Quebec to Montreal in one go. But electrification also costs more, as the G80 Electrified starts at $105,150. We’re far from the thermal versions, which range in price from $69,000 (2.5T Advanced) to $82,500 (3.5T Sport Plus). All-inclusive pricing, which is left to add only taxes and includes a five-year regular maintenance program with valet parking.