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2018 Genesis G80 Review

2018 Genesis G80 Review
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Plush, safe, and well-equipped, the 2018 Genesis G80 remains a pure luxury sedan, even as rivals get increasingly sporty.

The 2018 Genesis G80 starts off the new year with a Sport version that's truth in advertising.

That version of the G80 gets a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 that's new to the G80, but the whole lineup gets a raft of powertrain tricks and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The net effect on all models is a responsive, driving experience behind the wheel.


But that's only where the improvements start. Genesis designers and engineers touched on spots at and below the G80's surface, making design and equipment changes that earn the G80 an impressive 8.3 overall.

A little background: Genesis is Hyundai's still-fresh upmarket division designed to complement the brand's mainstream lineup much as Lexus does to Toyota. Previously, the G80 was known as the Hyundai Genesis, but the Korean automaker has done much to distance the new division—and to elevate the purchasing and ownership experience to Lexus levels, if not higher.

The arrival of the new G80 Sport doesn’t disrupt the simplicity of the G80 lineup. The base V-6 model is still available in three trims—G80 3.8, G80 3.8 Premium, and G80 3.8 Ultimate—while the 5.0-liter model continues as the G80 5.0 Ultimate. The 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged Sport, meanwhile, is essentially an offshoot of the V-6-powered Ultimate, with all the same standard equipment on top of a more powerful engine and a unique styling character.

Even with the new Sport model, the G80 remains wholly devoted to its mission as a luxury sedan. While there is outright speed from both the V-8 and twin-turbo V-6, look elsewhere if driving dynamics are all you care about. The G80 is soft, quiet, and above all else, comfortable.

Prices for the 2018 Genesis G80 start at $42,745 (including a mandatory $975 destination charge) for a rear-drive 3.8 and extend to $60,475 for a V-8-powered, all-wheel-drive 5.0 Ultimate. The new G80 Sport is available for $56,225.

Styling
The 2018 Genesis G80 still is handsome, but has a fresh look in its new Sport trim.

New front and rear fascias, modified headlights, and small interior changes have been made for 2018. They’re small tweaks. The Genesis G80 remains a handsome, classically styled luxury sedan that earns 8 out of 10 points on our styling scale.

Now, there's some spice in the G80 range, too.

The G80 Sport wears a fresh front fascia and grille, and adds beautiful copper accents to the LED projectors in the revised headlights. Copper also appear in the grille surround, the center caps on the standard 19-inch wheels, and throughout the cabin, where the copper accent stitching contrasts with real carbon-fiber trim.

As for the broader range, Genesis' front and rear fascia changes leave the best bits of the car alone. The handsome grille and stylish roofline continue to play nicely together, while the cabin remains every bit as lovely as it was before.

We doubt most customers will notice the restyled instrument cluster or the revised infotainment system, although the optional electric shifter will probably attract some glances.

The new unit is intuitive—a rarity nowadays—and asks drivers to press forward for reverse and backwards to drive, while there's a prominent Park button just ahead of the shifter that doesn't require much of a reach. It also looks fantastic, with a leather top and an aluminum surround.

Performance
Softly sprung and comfortable, the Genesis G80’s new twin-turbo brings pace, but the V-6 is still the best all-around option.

With a trio of engines now on offer, the Genesis G80 lineup feels remarkably complete and thorough with something for just about every well-heeled buyer.

The easily accessible torque of the new Genesis G80 Sport's 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 fits in well with the engine lineup, while a smooth, luxurious ride permeates every version of Genesis' most affordable luxury sedan. The new 8-speed automatic transmission? Quick and smooth, precisely like a luxury car's gearbox should be. For that reason, we rate the 2018 Genesis G80 as an 8 out of 10 on our performance scale.

Genesis carried over both the base 3.8-liter V-6 and the optional 5.0-liter V-8. Power outputs remain the same as in 2017—311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque in the base model and 420 hp and 383 lb-ft in the 5.0-liter model. The new 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V-6, meanwhile, is good for 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. All three engines work alongside a new 8-speed automatic transmission and are available with all-wheel drive.

We continue to endorse the base V-6 as the engine of choice, owing to its lighter curb weight and sweeter handling character. Yes, we make that statement even with the addition of the Sport model. The twin-turbo Genesis is certainly quicker in a straight line and it gets a continuous damping control system, but it's only slightly lighter than the 5.0-liter V-8 model and is nearly 200 pounds heavier than the base V-6.

The 3.3-liter's outright performance is impressive. With peak torque spread from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm, the G80 Sport is always willing to get up and go. The throttle response is impressive and there's very little turbo lag. It’s easy to forget this is a turbocharged engine.

Regardless of engine, the G80's calling card is a relaxed, luxurious, and isolating ride. It can eradicate imperfections big and small, although the soft suspension leans heavily in turns and lacks handling precision, even with the Sport's standard continuous damping control. The steering, which is luxury-car light still manages to be precise, even if it's very light on feedback.

This makes the G80 a prime choice for relaxed, comfortable cruise—and if you go with the Sport, a point-and-squirt dose of torque that leads to impressive speed.

Comfort & Quality
The Genesis G80’s smaller backseat and trunk remain issues, but there’s little arguing how quiet the ride and comfortable the front seats are.

As a luxury sedan, the Genesis G80 excels. It’s comfortable, packed with plush leather and real wood. The biggest criticism we can level is the limited second-row space.

While 35 inches of leg room for backseat passengers provides plenty of space for the long-legged, it's not at as expansive as rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Along with just 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space, the small-ish elements of the G80 are what keeps it from achieving a perfect score on our comfort and quality scale.

Front seat passengers have it best, with broad, extremely comfortably, and widely adjustable seats. Heating, ventilation, and adjustable lumbar/bolsters are all available, although the G80 stops short of offering a massage function, like the latest BMW 5-Series. Heated seats are standard in the back on all-wheel-drive models and the 3.8 Premium trim and above. Ingress and egress is simple in all four seats, thanks to the tall roofline.
Fit and finish is impressive throughout. Real wood trim—and real carbon fiber, on the G80 Sport—and touches of aluminum with the new electronic shift lever looks fantastic. The dash and doors have plenty of handsome leather.

Beyond the cabin quality, the G80 is supremely quiet. Engine noises are muted—too muted in the Sport's case—and road, wind, and tire noise are similarly quelled. Combine that with a range of impressive Lexicon stereos and it's easy to relax and pound out the miles in any G80.

We're also not in love with the G80's switchgear. While the rest of the cabin is every bit as good as what Germany can do, the buttons and switches remind us a little too much of the Hyundai. Cars like the Mercedes E-Class have significantly elevated the game here, and the cheaper plastic elements on the G80 need to rise to the occasion.

Safety
With so much standard safety equipment and what impressive crash tests, the Genesis G80 is one of the safest sedans on the road.

The 2018 Genesis G80 comes well-equipped with nearly every modern safety system on the market. From more convenience oriented features like adaptive cruise control to pure safety items like auto emergency braking to the new pedestrian detection system that protects, well, pedestrians, the G80 is wholly deserving of its perfect 10 out of 10 on our safety ranking.

The IIHS and NHTSA gives the G80 a Top Safety Pick+ award and a five-star rating across the board. That's as good as it gets.

All G80s come standard with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, active head restraints, and nine standard airbags including a driver's knee bag that protects lower-limb injuries in a crash. New for 2018, a pedestrian detection system watches people outside the car while a driver awareness system monitors the person behind the wheel.

Features
The Genesis G80 makes life easy for customers, with a simple set of trims and a remarkably good warranty/maintenance plan.

Loaded with a huge amount of standard equipment, an impressive roster of optional luxuries, and one of the best warranties and service arrangements in the business, the Genesis G80 earns 9 out of 10 points on our features scale. 

The stunning warranty offers three years of valet service—someone will come pick up your car, leave you a loaner, get your G80 serviced, and return at the end of the day—and three years of scheduled maintenance.

The 2018 Genesis G80 gets a modest price bump of $375. The base, rear-drive model with a 3.8-liter V-6 starts at $42,725 including a mandatory $975 destination charge. The 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged Sport demands $56,225, while the V-8 model starts at $57,975.

All Genesis G80s offer an impressive list of basic features. Base models get an 8.0-inch infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, a seven-speaker stereo, heated front seats with 12-way adjustability on the driver's side, and bi-xenon headlights. Addressing a concern from last year, Genesis is adding a rearview camera as standard on all models.

The 3.8-liter model is the only G80 variant available with option packages. The Premium Package adds $5,000 to the starting price along with a 14-speaker Lexicon stereo, vented front seats, heated rear seats, a sunroof, LED foglights, a 7.0-inch display in the instrument cluster, a wireless charging pad, and front and rear parking sensors.

Add another $5,100 to that price for the Ultimate Package and you'll score a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen display, a 17-speaker Lexicon stereo, a surround-view camera system, full LED headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, a 16-way driver's seat, a head-up display, a power trunk, and real wood and aluminum trim.

The $56,225 Sport trim adds everything from the G80 Ultimate, along with plenty of sporting touches. Beyond the 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V-6, there's unique 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension with continuous damping control, a sport steering wheel and front seats, carbon-fiber interior trim, copper accents throughout, and new exterior trim pieces. The $57,975 V-8, or G80 5.0 Ultimate, adds 19-inch wheels, a quad-tipped exhaust, and a suede headliner.

All-wheel drive is available with all three engines for a $2,500 premium and includes a heated steering wheel (also standard on the G80 Premium).

All G80s include a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and 3-years, 36,000 miles of scheduled maintenance. That deal also includes a service valet that will pick up your Genesis, leave you a temporary loaner, deliver your car to the service facility, and then return it at the end of the day.

Fuel Economy
If you avoid the thirsty 5.0-liter V-8, the 2018 Genesis G80 can pass as a fuel-efficient luxury sedan. Barely.

Gas-powered luxury sedans rarely earn plaudits on our green scale, and the G80 is no different.

The base 3.8-liter model returns 19 mpg city, 27 highway, 22 combined. Adding all-wheel drive drops those ratings to 18/25/20 mpg.

The new 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V-6 demands only a small sacrifice for its extra power, returning 17/25/20 mpg. All-wheel drive costs just 1 mpg on the highway figure.

The 5.0-liter V-8 returns the most woeful economy. The 8-speed auto and small powertrain enhancements are good for 16/24/19 mpg. For the record, that's worse than last year's 16/25/19 mpg rating. The figures for the all-wheel-drive V-8 are unchanged, at 15/23/18 mpg.

The turbocharged V-6 and V-8 versions require premium fuel.

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