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2018 Genesis G80 Sport Review & Test Drive

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For over three decades the Korean car brand Hyundai has afforded itself to fit nicely in the American automotive mold with well-deserved praise and recognition in many facets of the industry as a whole. Embarking on a new journey to define their presence and seriousness in the luxury market, the Korean brand has birthed the Genesis division, a plan set in motion in 2015 spawned from the vehicle aptly known as the Hyundai Genesis sedan. With the new branding and many seasoned automotive-minded folks at the helm, Genesis is poised and ready to move the needle forward with a prominent luxury mark starting with their Genesis G80, G90 luxury sedans, and all-new G70 sedan.

>> Get the best price on the Genesis G80 from a network of local dealers now. <<

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Putting things in a literal forward motion with a vehicle that sparked the movement for Hyundai to get deep into the luxury foray, is the new Genesis G80 based on what we knew has the Hyundai Genesis Sedan. The new Genesis G80 picks up where the older vehicle left off brushing and tuning many areas of a vehicle that I was always a fan of from its latest generational conception. The new Genesis G80 receives a few tweaks that attempt spice up its overall perception, and it does just that with a new Sport trim for the G80, which I had the opportunity to test out for a week.

The 2018 Genesis G80 reminds me much of what I liked about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan when I was invited to be one of the first to experience luxury from America’s most respected Korean car company. Drawing a quick comparison of the Genesis’ latest major redesign and the now Genesis-branded G80 Sport, there is much to like about both the subtle and in-your-face improvements. I say improvements because they are just that, taking the Genesis G80 to a level to compete directly with vehicles like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class, Cadillac CTS, Lexus GS, and even the Audi A6.

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The new Genesis G80 in its Sport trim, one of three defined trim levels, gets a new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 365 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 376 lb-ft of torque starting from a low 1,300 rpm. With a progressive power band, the direct-injection turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 growls its way to near its 6,500 rpm redline with authority never slouching and leaving you with the need for more oomph. Transmitting power through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels the G80 is mostly composed with assured power on tap where the 8-speed automatic often finds the proper gearing to get things up to pace the instant that you demand. Reaching 60 mph from a standstill is done in a quick 5 seconds. The confidence in the body control at the aide of the continuous damper control is another welcomed attribute of the G80 Sport. In a way, the G80 Sport could easily take the place of the still-available 5.0 V8-powered Ultimate trim of the G80, especially given that the G80 Sport is a lighter package. All trim levels can be had in either rear-wheel-drive or an advanced all-wheel-drive configuration, further adding versatility to the overall package.

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The Continuous Dampening Control system gives the G80 sport a new level of handling that delicately balances the sides of sport and luxury in ride comfort. Overall, the system is a welcomed addition to the Sport trim, which is new for the 2018 model year. Alone, the adaptive dampers react well to road imperfections while livening up the chassis and response when you want to commit to driving spirited on back roads or on long stretches of Interstates. Moreover, the drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) add to the appeal of dialing in how you want the G80 Sport to respond to your style of driving. However, the Sport mode, when the dampers stiffen up along with the steering wheel effort, puts the transmission into a mode that’s quite aggressive in retaining lower gears and is somewhat counterintuitive for most driving styles even when you’re pushing the envelope. Here, a customization mode to separate the damper settings and drivetrain advancements would be beneficial. In knowing that the Genesis is a new brand awaiting to get through its growing pains, such a customized or individual drive mode may be something in the works for the future.

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The efficiency of the new Genesis G80 Sport wasn’t quite what I expected when I was only able to muster out 24.8 mpg on the interstate keeping up with an aggressive traffic flow. In the city, I fared slightly better than the EPA-estimate of 17 mpg city getting an average of almost 19 mpg. Overall, I came away with a combined 22.1 mpg, which isn’t all bad considering the EPA-estimates of 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined.

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In the vast luxury landscape that has been dominated by the obvious contenders, the Genesis G80 Sport holds its own quite well as being one of the new kids on the block. As such, the interior for the G80 Sport plays to a lively tone with a plethora of contrasting colors, premium trim materials, and several soft-touch surfaces throughout. Even the lower portion of the door trim is soft-touch, something commonly overlooked by many luxury seekers in the industry. The added benefits of selecting the G80 Sport trim, my favorite thus far among the other trim levels, nearly transform the G80 into another vehicle that makes a more defined statement to onlookers, passengers, and the driver. The front perforated sport leather seats (16-way power driver’s / 12-way power passenger’s) with heating and ventilation are relatively comfortable and supportive with ample adjustability while the rear outboard heated seats may not be as friendly to taller individuals due to a surprisingly low arch of the roof line. However, most finishes throughout the cabin of the G80 Sport appear to seek the premium feel but somewhat fall just short of those from Benz and Lexus for overall perception of fit and finish in my opinion. Though, there are many welcomed creature comforts, luxury amenities, and active safety features that you get bundled in the G80 Sport. Not to mention, for the price of the G80 Sport at an as-tested $56,225 (including a $975 freight and handling charge), there’s a lot of value that you would be hard-pressed to find in any other comparably equipped vehicle in the coveted midsized luxury sedan segment.

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The long list of standard features and amenities are all included with the G80 Sport trim, which includes the highlights of: automatic LED headlights with dynamic bending and highbeam assist, carbon fiber and aluminum interior trim, proximity key with push-button start, dual automatic climate control, a 9.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a welcomed redundancy of physical controls, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 17-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in staggered 245/40 front – 275/35 rear all-season tires, hands-free smart power trunk lid, multi-view 360-degree camera system, smart cruise control with start/stop, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and a clever color heads-up display that also indicates your blind spot monitors.

There’s a lot to be desired when you’re in the market for a midsized luxury sedan. In my assessment, the new Genesis G80 Sport checks the box next to many of those desires for most, with the added uniqueness to the Sport trim’s aesthetics found in the grille, exterior accent colors, interior contrasts, and abundance of premium features. With the only lacking area of not quite having a brand cachet when you consider the establishment of current luxury juggernauts, the Genesis brand is on the right path to gain proper recognition, and it starts with vehicles like the new G80 Sport.

>> Get the best price on the Genesis G80 from a network of local dealers now. <<

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base G80 Sedan 3.8 $41,750 / As-Tested G80 Sport RWD $56,225
  • >> Get the best price on the Genesis G80 from a network of local dealers now. <<
  • Engine: 3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 DOHC direct-injection 365 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm  376 ft-lbs of torque @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles
  • Wheelbase: 118.5 in.
  • Total length: 196.5 in.
  • Total width: 74.4 in.
  • Total height: 58.3 in.
  • Track: f/r-63.8/64.3 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.4/38.2 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-45.7/35.0 in.
  • Turning circle: 36.2 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 20.3 gallons
  • Curb weight: 4,550 lbs. (estimated)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
  • EPA Fuel mileage estimates: 17 mpg city / 25 mpg highway / 20 mpg combined

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