No doubt about it, the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 5-Series are beautiful luxury sedans. But here comes Hyundai, with its now decades of engineering experience bringing a competitor to the table that truly has the Germans worried. The midsized luxury Genesis G80 offers the luxury of its German counterparts at a very tempting price point. The rest of the car world has been put on notice!
G80? Gee Whiz!
The Genesis brand was launched in 2015 and now has expanded into global markets including not only the U.S. and Canada, but Russia, Australia and the Middle East, where the German nameplates typically reign supreme. So they knew they had to come up with something special for their midsized luxury cruiser. In order to take on the best of the world, the design of the vehicle had to be pretty. The Genesis is understated yet classy.
Sang Yup Lee, the head of Genesis Design, says, “The all-new G80 is the centerpiece of our lineup, perfectly weighing athletic and elegant characteristics. This represents the clearest interpretation yet of the Genesis brand identity. Our goal is to offer unique, design-inspired experiences for our customers.”
We liked the quad headlights and taillights, and the optional 20-inch wheels. The grille has a large feature that would be right at home on new Lexus models.
Pretty on the Inside
Genesis notes that the number of hard buttons and switches was kept to a minimum, both for aesthetic purposes and ease of use. The control area is equipped with an intuitive suite of interfaces: a Genesis integrated controller for HVAC controls, a rotary-operated electronic shift dial and touch-and-write infotainment system.
The only thing we were missing was a center-stack mounted volume knob. Instead, the knob is on the center console, located ahead of the large rotary knob; a steering wheel thumb knob allows for quick volume adjustments.
Genesis increased headroom and legroom on the new G80 by slightly lowering the seat height for rear passengers, a move that also allows for a more dramatic roofline.
The Genesis G80 flexes a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes and BMW do offer mills with more power, but you get into stratospheric price levels when you enter the AMG side of the equation. The Genesis mill will not leave you wanting for more power. It is connected to an eight-speed transmission with four drive modes. For most of my journey, I left it on Comfort, and Sport does firm up the shifts.
Hear the New Lexicon
The Lexicon audio system does sound good. We even like the speaker grille design that looks similar to the Burmester speakers grilles of Mercedes. The parlor trick of the Lexicon sound system is the “Quantum Logic Surround Audience Mode/Stage Mode.” The stereo image shifts when you scroll through Audience Mode vs. Stage Mode. I preferred the Audience Mode as it shifted the image to a center point in the dashboard. Your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer can help your current audio system perform this same trick with aftermarket signal processors.
The coolest feature of the G80 are the two arrows on the key fob. Remote start the car and press the forward arrow to move the car forward. Or the back arrow and the Genesis will gingerly back out of a tight parking spot. Remote Smart Parking Assist can really help bring maximum utility to those tight garages.
The Genesis G80 flexes a strong feature set compared to its German rivals at a reasonable price point. My fully loaded Prestige model came in just under $70K. Compared to the Mercedes E450, that would only get you entry into the basic vehicle. The options would come in another $15K on top of that. Genesis has essentially figured out how to deliver the bells and whistles at the entry-level price point!