The Electric Vehicle (EV) emergence is taking on a new life and progressing nicely as we inch toward our inevitable EV future. Many manufacturers are taking current Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles and turning them into EVs, and sometimes it works well with only a few compromises as in the case of the new 2023 Genesis G80 Electrified midsized luxury sedan.
The Genesis G80 ICE vehicle was already a success story birthing out of the initial creation of the Hyundai Genesis sedan and growing into a well-respected luxury vehicle under the Genesis branding. To retain much of that appeasing formula the Genesis brand shocks us (pun intended) with a G80 EV, which retains most of what we’ve grown to love in the G80 only in an all-electric form.
The new 2023 Genesis G80 Electrified takes on an approach that a few other automakers have done, such as BMW with the new i4 – take an ICE vehicle, rip out the gas engine and its associated components, and modify it to be equipped with battery pack and in the G80 EV’s only available method of propulsion, a pair of electric motors – one at each axel making it all-wheel-drive. The combined electric motors output a total of 365 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, which is just 10-hp shy of the G80 3.5T Sport AWD’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine setup but with an additional 125 lb-ft of torque. The extra torque, which is available instantaneously, is the winning trait of the G80 EV making it faster than its gas-powered counterpart. In fact, the G80 EV hits 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and easily plants you back into the plush white leather seats. That’s about one second faster than the G80 ICE vehicle even though the G80 Electrified weighs about 550 pounds more (5,038 pound curb weight).
Out on the road, the G80 EV behaves like a composed luxury sedan should with ample torque to never leave you begging for more power. The smoothness of the electric motors combined with the initially soft ride quality exudes a welcomed level of luxury. The only fault I find with the ride quality is a bit of extra rear suspension bounce when going over larger road rises or undulations. Otherwise, the body is mostly composed and well dampened.
Overall, the G80 EV outperforms its ICE G80 siblings except for the lateral handling of the G80 Sport. The braking feel is mostly good with the transitions from regen braking and the use of the large friction brakes. There is a somewhat unsettling surprise when you press deep into the brakes – there’s a bit of sloppy transition from the regen braking to the physical brakes followed up with unwanted body plowing.
As far as the EV tech goes for regen braking, the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands do it best with selectable regen settings through steering wheel paddles to change the levels of regen. There’s even a smart automatic mode that adds regenerative braking based on the vehicle approaching another vehicle. There’s a one-pedal drive mode called i-Pedal that works well with a short learning curve that will ultimately limit the use of the brakes. However, the i-Pedal setting often required some use of the brakes in properly judging stops.
The three drive modes, Eco, Comfort, and Sport, feel different in the throttle positioning and steering effort. In Eco mode power is reduced throughout your throttle input and never permits the motor’s full capability. In Comfort and Sport most of the power is made available. However, Sport mode feels more advanced in throttle application. The steering feel is good and nicely weighted with an even more weighted feeling at highway speeds.
The Genesis G80 Electrified can be quite efficient when compared to many EV crossovers on the market and even some new EV sedans. I saw steady 3.3 kW/mile to 3.5 kW/mile drives. The EPA usage equivalent is 105 MPGe city, 89 MPGe highway, and 97 MPGe combined. The 87.2-kWh battery pack yields a range of 282 miles when fully charged, which is a legitimate figure that I can match on my observed drives. The charging rate peaks at 187 kW using an DC-fast charging Electrify America 350 kW charging stall, which matches the estimated 22 minutes to charge from 10% up to an 80% state of charge. Using a Level 2 240-volt charger at home takes just over 7 hours at the 48-amp level.
The one issue I find with charging the G80 EV is the charge port being in the front grille, which is an odd location in my view. Having the port in the front requires some extra thought to pulling up to many charging stalls.
The Genesis G80 has always had a decent interior space and the Electrified version is no different but there are a few changes, such as the seating areas being slightly higher, which is noticed as you feel as if you’re sitting more on top of the vehicle than in it. Because of the raised seating areas, there is no availability of a sunroof – which would cut down on headroom even more. Lastly, the battery pack tends to intrude into the trunk area taking up cargo volume slightly. These are the few compromises that Genesis has to work with in taking an ICE vehicle and converting it into an EV.
Inside the G80 EV, it’s eerily quiet, which is somewhat expected with the vehicle being an EV but I found the space to be a hair quieter than most thanks to laminated glass for all of its soft-close doors and active noise cancellation tech.
Apart from the few compromised changes in the G80 Electrified versus its gas-powered sibling, the cabin is the same expected space you find in the latest G80 ICE vehicle with soft-touch surfaces and contrasting colors throughout. There’s very little hard plastic or hard surfaces where it’s limited to the unique and acquired taste forged wood trim. In vehicles like the G80, Genesis is making strides in being competitive in the luxury landscape when it comes to their plush and properly luxury-themed interiors. The infotainment system using a 14.5-inch touchscreen has a welcomed redundancy of controls through the central control knob with a glass touchpad. There are a set of physical buttons to access core functions while the 3-zone automatic climate control system uses a touchscreen with haptic feedback.
The gauge cluster of the G80 EV is a similar 12.3-inch 3-D digital setup as you find in the top-trimmed G80 ICE vehicles only the fuel gauge is replaced with a battery gauge. Oddly, there is no readout of the battery percentage in the digital gauge cluster. You must access the clever EV menu in the infotainment system to view the battery percentage along with other range information with the nearest charging station automatically displayed.
The Genesis G80 EV having only one configuration comes complete with all the expected active safety tech that’s common in new luxury vehicles, which includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors w/intervention, forward collision warning w/emergency braking, lane departure warning w/lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic warning, 360-degree camera system, and the unique remote park assist function controlled from your key fob.
Where things may become a bit head-scratching is the pricing for the new Genesis G80 Electrified that tests out at $81,495, which is about the expected price to pay out the door with the only option on my test vehicle being the Matira Blue paint ($575), which is really more green than blue to my eyes. Considering the base price of the G80 ICE vehicle starting at $49,500 and a top trim G80 costing just over $65,000, some may wonder if a $15,000 premium is worth admission for an all-electric powertrain. Either way, Genesis has made another progressive step into the EV future alongside the GV60 EV crossover, and things will only get better from here out.