The Genesis brand would like everyone to enjoy more nice things
Words by: Adam Allen
We all want nice things.
That’s hardly surprising- do you know anyone who has ever wished to sleep in a dingy hotel room, dine at a restaurant that serves subpar food or adorn themselves in clothes fashioned from heavy, abrasive textiles? Yeah, us neither. We humans are predisposed to seek out the finer things in life because on a level of basic instinct we’d rather be contentedly comfortable than the less palatable alternative. Pampering oneself comes at a price- if luxury goods were cheap, we would all be parking our Rolls Royce’s next to the Gulfstream G650. Shrewd entrepreneurs have eternally struggled with the question: how can I create a product for those that demand the best but aren’t necessarily keen on paying for the privilege? There are a vast number of wallets to gain access to if the price of admission is reasonable enough to justify the expense for those of us without many zeroes in our bank balance. Cars like the Chevy Corvette owe their existence to such ideals- it was born at a time when folks pined for a capable sports car like you’d get in Europe but with a domestic twist at a price they could afford. Hyundai’s Genesis brand is painstakingly and gradually making a case for itself with cars like the G80 Sport you see here that prove you can still drive an excellent car without plopping down a huge sum of dough.
So the Genesis G80 is a nice thing?
Judging by the amount of people who did a double take when they walked by- often followed by a glance directed at the rear to see what badge it was wearing- we’d say with confidence that the G80 is a nice thing. It has been styled by those who show careful restraint with their pens, and the result is a clean, crisp profile with just enough jewelry to keep things interesting. The quad exhaust tips are neatly recessed into the lower valance, the mesh grille flanked by angry LED headlights are anchored by a tasteful splitter and the staggered 19” rolling stock fill out the wheel wheels purposefully, as do the generously sized brake hardware tucked behind them. Dipped in a fetching coat of Mallorca Blue paint, it certainly looks ready for battle with the likes of the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS VSport and BMW 540i, among others.
The interior is brimming with nice things.
It has all the nice things because the G80 Sport comes only one way- fully loaded. Oh sure, you can upgrade the floor mats if you so desire, but this car has everything you could ever want as standard kit. To list the all the goodies would take far too long- it might be easier to discuss the stuff it doesn’t have- but suffice it to say, the G80’s cockpit is a nice place to be. We found that it’s the little details that add up to such a rewarding experience. All the seats are upholstered in supple leather and are extremely comfortable but supportive at the same time. Once seated at the helm, drivers will appreciate the near perfect relationship with the controls and the switchgear is a triumph of ergonomics and user friendliness. A perfectly sized and shaped steering wheel feels great in the hands and the no nonsense instrument panel is ridiculously easy to glean information from. Likewise, the infotainment system feels like an old friend, responding crisply to commands and with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, it will make everything from setting up your favourite radio presets to inputting your destination into the navigation system a breeze. Audiophiles will swoon over the power and clarity of the 900-watt Lexicon sound system. If you have a look at the images of the interior we’ve provided, it becomes abundantly clear that much thought was devoted to making all the touchpoints feel quality, and we have yet to encounter a car that offers a suede headliner at this price threshold. What they don’t tell you is how hushed the environment is at speed, with wind and road noise so muted that it would rival a Lexus product, the gold standard of rolling sensory deprivation chambers within the automotive world. Should you option one of the G80 Sport’s competitors to similar spec, it would cost substantially more that the price of $62,000.
Surely, it’s a nice thing to drive.
Ever heard of a dude named Albert Biermann? He’s the guy that used to oversee BMW’s M division, so to say that he knows his way around setting up a proper chassis is quite the understatement. When the Hyundai and Genesis brands coaxed him away from Munich, they did so because the task of tuning and polishing driving dynamics is a black art- really the only area that has somewhat eluded Koreans- and they unquestionably found the right wizard to satisfy that agenda. Driving the G80 Sport shows that hiring him is already paying dividends. It should be noted that there is still some work to be done in this area but witness how far Genesis has come in such a short time; the competition will likely have to come to terms with more than a few sleepless nights thinking about what will happen after a few years elapse. The steering lacks feel (as do many so-called sports sedans these days) but the G80 responds faithfully and accurately when you ask it to change direction. It’s more of the same with the suspension- it reacts confidently to changes in the road surface without compromising the wonderful compliance that makes the car so comfortable in everyday situations. If anything, the suspension would benefit from a little sharper calibration to help the G80 live up to the ‘Sport’ in its name, but it does provide a commendable balance of comfort and handling. On the subject of calibrating, the engineers have served up excellent brake feel, and the stoppers do a great job of turning kinetic energy into heat. Last but not least is the powertrain, a truly excellent pairing of turbocharged engine and 8-speed transmission. Whether you select Eco, Normal or Sport as your preferred drive mode, the tandem behaves accordingly with a discipline that would embarrass many of the G80 Sport’s rivals (plus, the power gets to the tarmac without drama thanks to the rear-biased HTRAC all-wheel drive system.) The only engine in this segment that trumps the Genesis in speed and refinement is BMW’s near-perfect inline six, but they’ve been making these things since the dawn of civilization, so Genesis engineers should be pleased with how close they have come to matching it for general excellence.
What might go wrong?
There isn’t much to fault the G80 Sport for, but the most glaring liability we discovered is the number the G80 Sport tips the scales with- a not insignificant 2,113 kilograms, to be precise. This car could use a diet and shedding a few of those kilos would make it quicker and more responsive. After looking around trying to find anything else to complain about, we had to resort to pedantic complaints like wishing the surround view cameras offered sharper resolution, and that the exhaust noise could be a bit louder especially when you engage Sport mode. Some of our fellow journalists have bemoaned the gear selector design and that you need to press a button to select Park. Really guys? After a few trips everything becomes second nature, so we weren’t too concerned.
Should I buy a Genesis G80 Sport?
Circling back to our original musings of people who want nice things but aren’t enthused about dropping a big pile of hard earned money to enjoy the privilege, we’d say that the answer to that question becomes clear, especially when you consider that the G80 Sport undercuts a similarly quipped Audi A6 by a massive $11,700 dollars. If badge snobbery wasn’t such a bothersome obstacle Genesis Motors would be scrambling to get more G80 Sports into the hands of hungry customers. Here’s another reason to consider putting a Genesis in your driveway- their white glove delivery and service plan. You never have to set foot from your home from the time the car is painstakingly delivered to when they leave you with a similar courtesy car while they whisk yours away for oil changes. Isn’t that a nice thing?
2018 Genesis G80 Sport — Specifications
- Price as tested: $62,000
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger sedan
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Engine: 3.3 litre twin-turbocharged V6 DOHC, 24 valves
- Horsepower: 365 @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 376 @ 1,300 rpm
- Curb weight: 2,113 kg (4,658 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 13.4L/100km (17.5 mpg)