Entry Price: $41,750
Price as tested: $56,255
This week, we’re driving larger size luxury 2018 Genesis G80 Sport, little brother to the even larger 2017 G90 we drove last year. Up front we’ll explain that Genesis Motors is now the stand alone luxury unit of Hyundai which introduced a Hyundai Genesis in 2008. In addition to the Genesis, an extended wheelbase Hyundai Equus debuted in the U.S. in 2014 in a move to establish a standalone luxury automobile.
All Hyundai needed to do was eliminate any Hyundai nameplates from their Genesis vehicles, which I’ve been an advocate for from the very beginning.
Any link nowadays to a Hyundai Excel, for example, that debuted in 1986 is simply a big “no-no.” Yet in the 30 years since that first Excel arrived in America, Hyundai has become one of the most respected vehicle manufacturers in the world. Genesis Motors, meanwhile, will endure consumer branding obstacles with its G90, G80 and soon to come G70 sport coupe as it departs from any Hyundai badges and sets out on its own. Notable is that Hyundai is doing the exact same disassociation that Japanese manufacturers Infiniti (Nissan), Lexus (Toyota) and Acura (Honda) accomplished years ago with their luxury brands to better market to high end consumers.
With one big difference.
Specifically, Hyundai is allowing dealers that offered the 2016 Genesis/Equus models the right to sell 2018 Genesis cars without building a site specific showroom. As of this writing, half of the Hyundai dealers across America include Genesis franchises, unlike the “Infiniti, Acura and Lexus only” dealership stores.
Considering these positives, Genesis sits in a good position to attract serious buyers because both Hyundai Equus (G90) and Genesis (G80) have already had pre-standalone test runs and both achieved coveted Consumer Reports magazine 2016 model “recommended” ratings.
Now, back to the 2018 Genesis G80.
New for 2018 are revamps 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 the 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 transmission 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 footprint. 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 massive as G90, but is still very 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 full dose of 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 five-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 has some major competitors as it climbs the hill of luxury consumer acceptance, but at an entry of just $41,400 I can assure all my readers that every Genesis is the real deal and the G80 Sport just might be the best of the bunch.
Likes: Twin turbo V6 now available, pricing, top quality in every manner.
Dislikes: Hyundai ancestry must be overcome, depreciation a concern.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.
Test Drive: 2018 Genesis G80 Sport
Entry Price: $41,750