ust a few short decades ago when looking across different classes and price points of cars, you really had to buy something special to get something special. Run-of-the-mill cars were just that – run of the mill. Now, just about every car you can buy is swimming with technology, finished nicely and performs admirably. There are some exceptions, to be sure, but for the most part cars are really, really nice these days. That brings us to this Genesis G80, offered by Hyundai’s luxury brand. Does it really offer more than the mainstream sedan? Let’s jump in and find out.
Under the hood, you’ll find a twin-turbo 3.3-Liter V6, cranking out a very respectable 365hp. Good for a 5.2-second 0-60 sprint in the RWD version. Quick, but not earth shattering. The engine does, however, have great low-end torque and feels quicker than the numbers show around town. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, there’s no shortage of ratios to choose from, even if it seems lazy to choose one from time to time. The biggest problem for me is the ‘Sport’ name applied to this version. And it’s because, well, it’s not very sporty.
There are hints of what’s promised by the name. Carbon fiber and aluminum trim adorns the interior and even the underhood engine cover. There’s firm bolstering to the seats which wear a decidedly Mercedes-like style. The steering wheel is fat, and has strategically placed thumb grips. All this adds up to the promise of a really spirited driving experience, but in the end the G80 Sport just doesn’t deliver.
That’s not to say there is no fun to be had behind the wheel. It’s still a pleasure to drive, and has ample power to be entertaining. It’s sort of like when your friend tells you about a movie, and hypes it all up – sometimes that hype can ruin the experience. I feel like that’s what the nomenclature of this Genesis does. The payoff doesn’t match what’s promised.
Let’s focus on what’s great, however, and the handling is certainly worthy of praise. There’s a direct feeling to the steering, and an inherently confidence-inspiring stability. The big front brakes do a great job of hauling the car down from speed. We got the chance to try the Genesis out around the Autobahn raceway, and it performed admirably on track. You do feel the weight, however, as this thing tips the scales a tick over 4500lb – which is a lot for a sedan of this size. For me, that gives is a slightly more luxury feel than a performance feel, and that’s a good thing.
Little touches like projecting the Genesis logo onto the ground at night when you unlock the door really give this an exclusive luxury feel. There are some clues here and there that this shares a parts bin with some everyday Hyundai models, but that doesn’t really matter here. Enough of the content on the interior is dedicated to this model that it retains a luxury feel. The infotainment is simple and easy to use, and tons of active-safety features help keep you on track.
Looking at the exterior, it’s hard to find fault with the classy lines of this sedan. There’s a nice sloping roofline and muscular fenders all around. The overall look definitely sells the idea of luxury and performance, and it doesn’t feel out of place in comparison to its rivals, the likes of Mercedes’ E-class and Audi’s A6. It delivers a reasonable facsimile of their performance and comfort, but with exceedingly lower price tags, $35k and $16k less, respectively. And there’s really only one option, the AWD version. Everything else is included for the $56k starting price. And there lies this Genesis’s greatest strength. Punching above its price point means there’s real value here for your luxury sedan dollars. Isn’t saving that much money worth a look? Check one out and see for yourself.
Special thanks to Hyundai Motor America for providing the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport for review