Review on Genesis G80 2021
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The Review on Genesis G80 2021
When Hyundai launched its first luxury product in the United States, your author was on the front line, delivering those early Genesis sedans to the media. But nothing at the time—neither the excellent Lexicon audio systems nor the charming 4.6-litre V8s—could have prepared me for where we are 13 years later.
Genesis is now a full-fledged luxury brand, a concept that in itself would have seemed a farce in the late 2000s. Plus, pretty much every vehicle it sells is excellent. This is especially true for the new Genesis G80, the successor to the original Hyundai Genesis and (technically) the second car to bear this name. This is a relaxed and sophisticated luxury sedan with avant-garde styling, effortless technology and the kind of soothing driving experience that sportier alternatives have largely abandoned.
A vehicle’s ratings are relative only to its own segment and not to the new vehicle market as a whole. For more information on how Motor1.com rates cars, click here. Design
We base our vehicle ratings on a car’s direct competition, but I’d say the Genesis G80’s perfect design score goes way beyond premium mid-sized sedans. In my view, this is one of the most attractive four-doors on the market, period. It is at the very least the most attractive car in a segment that includes the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Volvo S90 and Jaguar XF.
This is largely due to the bold and sometimes contrasting accents that came from a design team led by Belgian talent Luc Donckerwolke (of Lamborghini Gallardo fame). The dashboard design is inspired, combining a polarizing shield-nose grille with dual headlamps, which merge neatly into the fenders in one of the most fascinating design details in recent history.
The long hood matches the fastback roofline and the kammback rear perfectly, accentuating the platform in front of the rear-drive car without saying anything about it. Meanwhile, the rear of the car is reminiscent of the front with a concave vertical section, dual exhausts that each mimic the shape of the grille, and dual taillights that wrap around the fenders and live on the same horizontal plane as the fenders and headlights. The coherence of the overall exterior design is amazing. Genesis’ wheel play is also on point – these 19-inch alloys are beautiful.
Where the G80’s exterior impresses with unconventional accents, the interior takes a more formulaic approach that instead relies on high-quality materials and attractive details to impress the occupants. Knurled metal surfaces abound, while matte wood and white contrast stitching offset the significant amounts of black leather in this test unit.
The overall interior design has a minimalistic note without feeling spartan – the climate system controls are wonderfully physical, but rely on a display to show air distribution. It’s a balance of function and form that BMW pioneered, but that Genesis has mastered. The stylish four-spoke steering wheel is a joy to hold, while Genesis designers are to be commended for integrating the wide, semi-recessed 14.5-inch display into the dash.
Are there things to criticize about this? Certainly. The teacher buttons those sitting above the climate controls come from the Hyundai parts bin, and the fact that the instrument panel is a mix of physical dials with an offset display feels like a copout. Those are minor issues, though, especially when the wider interior is so good.
The luxury bona fides of the G80 are obvious when we look at the Comfort score. This sedan exhibits excellent noise control, with very little wind, road, tire or engine noise entering the cabin during normal driving. Use the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and some of that serenity disappears, but there’s rarely a good reason to push the powertrain. At the same time, the ride is smooth and refined. We commend the Korean brand for sticking to 19-inch wheels and tires with a healthy 45-series aspect ratio that, along with clever tuning of the fully independent suspension, ensures superb ride quality and excellent stability at high speeds.
Our G80 2.5T Prestige, the top-of-the-line four-cylinder, features rich leather upholstery on both rows. While this isn’t the good stuff (the 3.5-litre model comes with leather as standard and offers Nappa hides as an option), it’s still a much better material choice than faux leather and is rich enough to fit in the luxurious slip of the G80 to fit. Impressive piping and detailed stitching also help.
But those details can’t improve on the flat and uninspired front row seats. While far from being uncomfortable, these seats lack the level of support we expect from this segment. There’s an adequate range of motion — 12-way adjustment is standard, but our tester had the optional 16-way seats with a thigh extension — but it always felt like we were sitting in these seats rather than in them. More aggressive support and a softer underpad would go a long way.
The sofa in the second row is better. The cushioning is soft, a heating function is available, and even with the front seat in your author’s seating position, our knees didn’t touch the front seat backs. Genesis cites 38.7 inches of legroom in the second row – that’s 2.2 inches more than you’ll find in a BMW 5 Series, 2.5 inches more than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class and 1.3 inches more than an Audi A6. But as if that advantage isn’t enough, we recommend forcing whoever sits in the front passenger seat and using the driver’s controls to extend the right-rear seating area.
Cargo volume is competitive here, with the 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space tying the E-Class and trailing the A6 by less than a cube. But if maximum capacity matters, the leader is the 5 Series of 18.7 cubic meters. Still, the G80 has a bit more to offer than the trunk, including a sizable center console, a significant cubicle under the climate controls with a built-in wireless charging pad and spacious door pockets. Technology & Connectivity 10/10
The Genesis G80 and GV80 introduced the current infotainment system of the wider Hyundai/Kia family, so whether you buy this luxury sedan, the compact Hyundai Elantra or the handsome Kia K5 sedan, the top screen shows a version of this unnamed operating system. However, Genesis adds unique visuals that are punchy up which is displayed on the standard 14.5-inch touchscreen. There’s also a brand-exclusive iPod-style click wheel that’s a joy to operate.
The action of the dial, both when spinning and when you push down the center to make a selection, feels rich and authentic, like the kind of thing that rolled straight out of Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino. It’s no surprise that we barely used the touchscreen functionality, both because the redundant interface is so good and because that screen is wide and surprisingly far away from the driver.
The G80’s actual software is usually fine. We like the default screensaver, which shows the time on the left, and blends the background with a navigation map on the right. It’s an elegant solution that looks more luxurious than leaving the map or audio screens up constant. Turning the click wheel turns off the screensaver and displays a series of tiles for the different parts of the system – this is different from other Hyundai/Kia products, and not one we’re really fond of after a week behind it. send. Individual icons may not look as nice, but it’s easier to distinguish what’s true.
In terms of other neat tech, we have to praise the optional Smart Park and the 21-speaker Lexicon audio system. Your author’s driveway that’s one car wide means constant shuffling of vehicles – Smart Park meant that when a late spring snow froze on the G80, we could pull the car out of the way without the hassle of scraping the windows. And that Lexicon audio system remains one of the best in the business. We’d go so far as to say it matches everything but Volvo’s 19-speaker Bowers and Wilkins lineup. The Lexicon suite is clear and enjoyable when playing everything from classic rock to EDM to orchestral scores. Performance and Control 4/10
The Genesis G80 is one of the most powerful cars in its class, but struggles in our performance measurement due to its intense focus on luxury over sportiness. The base engine, a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that packs 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, that G80 owners can and should rule over their German-riding friends. By comparison, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the Audi A6, BMW 530i and Mercedes-Benz E350 range from 248 to 261 horsepower and from 257 to 273 lb-ft. Only the Volvo S90 offers more horsepower, the advantage of five ponies comes at the expense of 16 torques.
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