It appears that the newest Genesis G80 may have tugged at some emotional strings of its intended customers.
Back in 2008, Hyundai decided to go “all-in” on a luxury car. They did not just build one for the sake of doing so. They had a target in mind…
Back then, we were just about to experience an economic setback that would burst the bubble once created by subprime loans and a soaring global stock market. The Global Economic Crisis affected the values of vehicles from established European and American luxury brands. This course correction came at the right time when the Korean automaker introduced mid-size luxury sedan that was priced below the Japanese and everyone else in the market.
The original Hyundai Genesis sedan was positioned against established executive-types sedans, such as the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. They even offered a V8 model that was thousands less than their rivals.
In the middle of its second generation, Hyundai went on the spin off the Genesis unto its own brand. That would elevate their luxury mid-size sedan to fulfill the aspirations of the customers it wanted to attract.
Now called the G80, this third-generation model has even pushed the boundaries of design, performance, and luxury in this mid-size offering. While its rivals either under- or over-delivered to what their customers truly desire from a sedan in this segment, it appears that the newest Genesis G80 may have tugged at some emotional strings of its intended customers.
What the G80 offers is a luxury mid-size sedan that offers something for those who aspire to own a special car that befits their lifestyle, while offering something dynamic and bold for the enthusiast.
True, this brand gets a rap for something with not much of a legacy and tradition. Hopefully, I would argue otherwise for to understand that this G80 has a lot more to offer for its price.
The first evidence of this is right in front of you. You experience this amplified boldness through its massive chrome grille tinted with what could be described as a shinier antique brass finish. This is flanked by a set of dual horizontal LED headlamps that also induce a character profile with the dual streak on the front fender around the exterior to the rear taillights.
The roofline fits perfectly with this theme. It almost appears to be fastback-like. The short rear deck finishes off this dynamic exterior, while a set of sculpted 20-inch alloy wheels emphasize its sporty credentials.
My expectations for a car of this intended caliber include an interior that is inviting and nice to the senses. The G80’s cabin is exactly that. It is designed for the driver in mind while offering a nice space for its passengers.
There are a few features that may either invite or detract from their function inside the G80. This include the round infotainment controller that is positioned above the shift knob. Also, there is the 3-D instrument cluster. These are found on other Genesis models. If you have driven one, you might be familiar with how these controls work. If you’re new to the brand, take some time to familiarize yourself on how they work and their logic.
Yet, there are other switches and controls that are also familiar to anyone who own or have driven any of Hyundai’s (and Genesis) vehicles currently. They feel elevated and nicer to the touch overall.
Infotainment-wise, you get a 14.5-inch wide touchscreen that you can use the controller on the center console or by the switches on the steering wheel. Lexicon offers 21 speakers of dynamic sound inside the cabin. You also get smartphone integration and wireless charging, as well.
All occupants inside this Sport Prestige model are treated to this chevron-designed Nappa leather upholstery with contrast stitching. Seating is fine for four adults, as long as rear seat occupants watch the high transmission tunnel is the footwell and the sloping roofline. Front seats occupants also get seatback bolsters that automatically sense the velocity of the G80 to lock you in or relieve you when you’re simply cruising. The seats themselves are firm, but comfortable and supportive.
You have a 13.1 cubic foot trunk that look more accommodating than its specs. There is a pass-through feature when the rear center armrest folds down. That way, rear seat occupants will enjoy a set of climate controls, two cupholders, seat heaters and two USB-A ports.
If you’re looking for the dynamic part of this G80, pop open the hood. This twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 is no slouch. This engine puts down up to 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. It is connected to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, and, in our tester, it sends power to all four wheels.
Did I mention that it is no slouch?
Throttle response is terrific and has no qualms about making its presence known on the highway. It also returned a fuel economy average of 21.7 MPG.
The best way to describe the ride quality in the G80 is solid and a bit firm. This is enhanced a tad when in you put it into Sport mode. The G80 hunkers down and handles the curves with authority.
Maneuverability is sharp, coming from a responsive steering rack. While the steering action is sharp – even sharper in Sport mode. However, it is a bit light in Comfort when you’re traveling within the lane. The brakes get a solid response from the pedal. It also turned in great stops in normal and panic situations.
Before we go on, we must talk about Sport+ mode. If you switch that mode, say good-bye to the traction control and other functions for absolute fun behind the wheel. See what I mean by “dynamic”?
Over the years, one would see the G80 as perhaps the best value in its class. However, the sticker on this 2022 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD Sport Prestige tester came to $71,095. Some have said that this is at par with similarly equipped models in this vehicle segment. You do have a choice of two engines, two final drive choices, and three trims for each powerplant. The 2022 G80 starts from $48,250.
The big question about the G80 is why anyone would get a car from a relatively brand? Even a great one? That answer goes back about 32 years – remember the Lexus LS 400? Or, have we forgotten?
The essence of the 2022 Genesis G80 is how well it is executed. Yes, it is bold, dynamic, and luxurious. Is that what you want from a mid-size luxury sedan? My answer is “yes.” It is because it does everything you wanted from one its competitors in a package that stretches your ideas and embraces it with attainability and an air of excellence.
What would make the Genesis G80 even more desirable is the presence of its own dealer network. Starting with a new stand-alone store in Lafayette, Louisiana, Genesis is now putting together a network of a destination-based showrooms befitting of the brand’s ambitions while exhibiting what is becoming one of the finest lineups in the marketplace.
What began as a nudge into the badge-driven world of luxury automobiles some 14 years ago have blossomed into one of the finest sedans available in this market. If you were to ignore Genesis, you’re making a huge mistake.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America
All photos by Randy Stern