Sunday, 29 April 2018

2018 Genesis G80 Sport 3.3T


Intro
For those who are not familiar with the brand Genesis, it is Hyundai’s latest effort to break into the luxury market. Think of it as what Lexus is to Toyota, or Acura to Honda. The Genesis G80 is set to compete with the likes of BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Acura TLX, or Lexus GS.

As you can see, the 2018 Genesis G80 has a lot to prove. I was very excited to see what our tester has to offer - in its brand new Sport trim and an equally new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6.

Exterior
There is no doubt that the G80 Sport is a head turner. The front fascia and the meshed grilled look aggressive but composed. The LED headlights with its copper-colored accents looks modern and classy. While the side profile of the G80 is elegant, the 19-inch split-spoke wheels and the sloped back roofline offer a hint of sportiness. The rear of the car looks equally aggressive with its smoked LED tail lights and quad exhaust tips. It is indeed a car that looks good in any angle.

People’s reactions to seeing the G80 is usually: “Wow, it is a good looking car. What is it?” I can see why people are confused as you can see design elements from Audi, BMW, and Bentley all in one car. Interestingly enough, Luc Donckerwolke, the former design director of Volkswagen Group's Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi, has been leading the Genesis design team since early 2016.

I believe in time Genesis will need to find a more distinctive design language. Nevertheless, driving the Genesis got me many compliments and inquiries by other drivers while stopping at red lights.  If you are seeking a great looking luxury sports sedan that is not as common, the Genesis G80 Sport would be hard to beat.









Interior
Genesis has shown its commitment to make the G80 a serious competition to both its Japanese and European counterparts through its interior design. The G80’s interior is quiet, spacious, and the attention to details make the car feel premium and expensive. You can still identify some elements from its Hyundai roots, but everything is more thought out, the choices of materials are better, and all hard plastic are tucked away nicely.

Copper accents seen on the exterior are also seen on the analog clock and around the infotainment dial panel. The leather seats are plush and comfortable, with copper red stitchings to match. Both front seats are heated and vented, and the rear seats are heated as well. There is plenty of leg rooms in the back and the pulled up sun shade of the rear windows give you an executive feel. The panoramic sunroof is huge and offers a great view for rear passengers.

All in all, I am very impressed with the G80’s interior. All the complaints I had with the Sonata’s interior were fixed in this car. It competes well with other luxury sedans in the segment and offer a touch more thoughtfulness in its own way.



Infotainment
Genesis has done a good job on its infotainment system. This is no surprise to me as Hyundai has demonstrated its ability to provide great infotainment systems in other models. The 9.2-inch touchscreen is gorgeous and can be interacted by a rotary control knob similar to what you see in a BMW or Audi. The steering wheel has plenty of controls and there is a LCD screen in between the analog dials on the dashboard to display relevant information. Genesis has thrown in extra goodies in the G80 sport like a heads-up display and a premium 17-speaker Lexicon stereo system that sounds amazing. I am very pleased with Genesis’s implementing their infotainment system as the interface is intuitive and the controls well positioned.



Safety and Driver Assistance
All the luxuries in the world would not matter if the car cannot keep you safe. Not only did the 2018 Genesis G80 clinches IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating, it also comes equipped with all the latest and greatest safety features the automotive industry has to offer today.

They include Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear-cross Traffic Alert, Rear View Camera, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, High Beam Assist, and a Multi-View 360 degree camera system. It is a car that will definitely keep you and your precious cargo safe on the road.

Driving
Back in 2014, Hyundai hired Albert Biermann, the former chief engineer of BMW’s M division. Then in 2017, they hired Abdul Rahman, who was responsible for developing the platforms of the 7 series, X models, as well as M series. It showed Genesis’s ambition to improve the performance and quality of their cars, and the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is the fruit of all that effort.

The new 3.3 liter V6 with the twin turbochargers produces 365hp of power and 376 pound-foot of torque. Coupled with the new 8-speed automatic transmission, the G80 took about 5 seconds to go from 0-100km. In our test drive, the the engine with its wide power band produces instant torque in any situation, making the drive smooth and effortless.

The handling is equally impressive. The car feels well balanced, and the steering is precise. For such a heavy car, I can zip around corners easily without feeling any body roll. The G80 managed to do so while maintaining a comfortable ride through bumps and potholes. The weight of the car actually makes the G80 feel more planted and confident on the road, but it also takes away a little bit of the thrill and sportiness. This would be my only complaint about the otherwise very impressive driving experience of the G80.


Space and Cargo Storage
For a luxury sedan, the G80 does offer plenty of space. There is no shortage of handy stash spots for smaller items in the cabin and there is plenty of room in the trunk. However, the G80 is not equipped with a folding rear seat, so people who wish to transport longer items will need to take that into consideration.

Verdict
The Genesis G80 Sport is easily one of the best looking cars I have driven. It matches its direct rivals the segment in terms of look, power, handling, comfort, and technologies. What truly sets the the G80 apart is the price. To get a similarly equipped car from its European competitors you are looking at spending at least $15000 CAD extra. It may still take a few years for the consumers to recognize the brand and its value. In the meanwhile, for car enthusiasts in the know, this is a lot of car for the money.

Test Vehicle
2018 Genesis G80 Sport 3.3T AWD
MSRP
62,000 (Total Acquisition Cost)
Color
Himalayan Grey

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