2021 Genesis G80 Review

Luxury and road presence at a price that might surprise you.

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The second generation Genesis G80 looks dramatically different from the one we drove all the way back in 2019. “Quad Lamp lighting” is the new calling card of Genesis, featuring on the recently released GV80, as well as the soon to be released GV70 and G70.

Looks aren’t all that has changed about the 2021 G80 though, with the overhaul flowing over  into the cabin, as well as the driver safety suite and ride refinements.

The 3.8-litre rear-wheel-drive powertrain that powered the vehicle we drove previously has been retired and replaced with a more powerful 3.5-litre turbo petrol AWD combination.

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So, now the two options you have in the G80 range are the entry-level $84,900 rear-wheel-drive 2.5-litre turbo petrol or the $99,900 3.5-litre turbo petrol all-wheel-drive. The latter of which is what you see before you, with a few extras courtesy of the $13,000 Luxury Pack.

What’s it like inside?

Whether you're sitting in the front or the back, you’re going to be comfortable and well looked after in the 2021 Genesis G80.

It is worth noting before diving too deep into the interior, that our review vehicle was fitted with the “Luxury Package” which adds a cool $13,000 to the price. While this does seem like a steep price to pay, just wait to see what it adds.

The entire interior is wrapped in Nappa leather, courtesy of the Luxury Pack, with real wood inserts circling the cabin. When I say real wood, they really are as solid as they come, if you knock on them, someone could answer. 

This solid, sturdy timber is indicative of the interior in its entirety, in that it all feels hefty and well made. Everything feels well put together, components don’t wobble or shake as you interact with them.

Despite being set up for the passengers, we’ll start with the driver’s seat and move through. As the driver, you can have your seating positions saved, and automatically-adjusted thanks to a 2-memory setting function. The seat is electrically-adjusted and that also includes power lumbar adjustment.

A retro-looking, 2-spoke steering wheel offers up electric height and reach adjustment too. Setting up and keeping the vehicle configured to your liking is  a breeze.

If you purchase the Luxury Pack option, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, a 3D display, sits behind the steering wheel. It is designed and implemented well, and adds a talking point. However, switching between driving modes is where you really notice the 3D effect. In this respect, eco mode has the best design to showcase this.

Above the futuristic digital cluster is a Head-Up Display which will present all sorts of information from your speed, to the speed limit and directions from the satellite navigation.

For the driver, in our optioned-up G80 review vehicle, infotainment and vehicle functions are found in a large 14.5-inch touchscreen featuring augmented reality navigation, which can also be operated with a rotary dial down on the centre console.

It comes loaded with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB+, satellite navigation and more. This widescreen certainly does add to the spectacle of the interior, suiting a vehicle like this much more than the previous screen.

There are 21 Lexicon speakers spread out around the cabin, which is also well insulated with several people mentioning how quiet everything sounded in the background while on the phone (hands-free, of course).

As expected, you also get all the trimmings in terms of tri-zone air conditioning, heated and ventilated seating, wireless phone charging, a steering wheel heater and more.

The back is where you really want to be, though. There’s an abundance of limo-esque features from heated seats which also recline (unfortunately no leg rest like the Lexus LS500) to being able to give yourself more leg room if you are riding in the back left, by moving the passenger seat forward.

When kicking back you can make use of the panoramic sunroof, more or less spanning the length of the ceiling. You can tell it has been set up more for the back row, with it starting more or less above the driver’s head. 

That is, of course, if you can peel your eyes away from one of the 9.2-inch touch screens that sit behind the 2 front seats. Again, part of the Luxury Pack, they allow rear passengers to access an array of multimedia and have their own headphone jacks so the cabin doesn’t get too noisy.

It is good to see that the entire cabin has been refreshed.

What’s it like to drive?

Despite being set up for passengers, there is still plenty of fun for the driver.

There are 2 powertrains you can choose between on the 2021 Genesis G80, a 4-cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, with power sent to the rear, and the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, which puts its power down through an electronically-controlled all-wheel-drive system. We tested the V6 G80.

Putting out 279kW of power and 530 Nm of torque, the engine, in conjunction with the AWD system and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tyres, urges the 2021 Genesis G80 to get off the mark in a hurry.

While this type of vehicle does need power to, say, get the businessperson in the back who is running late for their flight to the airport on time, it isn’t the overarching goal of the G80.

That goal would be absolute comfort, and in terms of comfort, the G80 isn’t a let down either.

To optimise the ride, the Genesis G80 rides on what has been dubbed a GACS system, or Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension. It includes electronically-controlled suspension and Dynamic Stability Dampening that help give the vehicle the soft, cushy ride you would expect. 

However, in 2021 the South Korean brand implemented “Road Preview technology” which uses a windscreen-mounted camera to scan the road and control damping based on what it detects. Objects like potholes and speed bumps feed a stream of 1s and 0s through the computers in order to adjust the suspension and cushion blows.

So despite sitting on large, 20-inch alloys, the ride is plush.

We did find one oddity, where air recirculation would randomly turn off after it was engaged. Understandably, this can help with driver alertness by getting fresh air into the cabin, among other things. But when you’re travelling for kilometres in Sydney’s busy M5 tunnel, being able to leave the air conditioning system on recirculation for more than a few minutes is a must.

Moving on, adaptive cruise control is fitted as standard to the 2021 Genesis G80, as is stop and go functionality, which is handy in Sydney's peak-hour traffic. It also implements artificial intelligence, by analysing driver behaviour, and adapting acceleration and following distances based on the driver’s habits.

The Luxury Package fitted to our test vehicle has a party trick too. Remote smart parking assist acts as automatic parking functions do on other luxury vehicles with one key difference. The G80 will park itself with you outside of the vehicle. BMW also has this with its “Remote Control Parking” system and Mercedes also has a Remote Parking Pilot app. In terms of practicality, few will get out of the car to use this, unless they want to show off, which is why we used it a fair amount.

How safe is the 2021 Genesis G80?

The G80 contains no less than 10 airbags which surround passengers. There’s even a centre side airbag system, which stops those inside clashing heads when in a T-bone accident.

Apart from being virtually a blimp with that many airbags, the 2021 Genesis G80 comes fitted with a range of safety technology and driver aids. The goal of these is to do their very best so that those airbags are never needed. As standard you get:

  • Forward collision-avoidance assist. This has:
    • Car, pedestrian and cyclist detection
    • Junction turning alerts
    • Lane-change assistance
    • Evasive steering assist
  • Blindspot collision avoidance assist
  • Rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist
  • Driver attention warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane follow assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality
  • High beam assist
  • Surround view monitor

2021 Genesis G80 ownership

One of the real bonuses of choosing a Genesis over a rival is the after sales service. The South Korean company really hasn’t held back when looking to ensure its customers are happy.

Complementary scheduled servicing means that you will receive free scheduled maintenance for the first 5 years or 50,000kms, whichever comes first. This doesn’t mean Genesis will look at the car and bill you for parts, either. It is all included. The savings here will go part way to coughing up for that Luxury Package on the vehicle.

Adding another layer to this is the company's “Genesis-To-You” program, where a Genesis representative will arrange for the pick up and delivery of your G80 when going in for a service if you live within 70kms of a Genesis studio, which is about the equivalent of Sydney to Sun Valley in the Blue Mountains.

While your car is being serviced, a Genesis loan vehicle will be left for you to get around.

What warranty do I get on a Genesis G80?

The 2021 Genesis G80 comes with a 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty, as long as the vehicle isn’t used for commercial purposes. If you intend to use the vehicle for commercial purposes, a 5 year/130,000km (whichever occurs first) warranty applies.

Genesis roadside assistance

A 5-year, 24/7 roadside assistance plan comes with the purchase of a new G80. It will also cover flatbed towing, should the worst occur.

The verdict

There is plenty to like about the 2021 Genesis G80 from its sharp and rather unique good looks to the level of equipment fitted as standard. 

Whether you’re in the front or back, it’s well kitted out, comfortable to ride in and importantly, feels genuinely luxurious.

At this price-point, it seems to be good value for money when you consider that you can have the top of the line G80 for almost the same price as an entry-level BMW 520i, which starts at $95,900 but goes up to $152,900, and beyond.

Then, you have to consider the fact that you also get free servicing for the first 5 years.

You might also consider

Price (from)

$99,900

$98,700

$99,900

Power

279 kW

220 kW

135 kW

Time (0 - 100km/h)

5.8 sec

6.6 sec

7.8 sec

Fuel economy (combined) 

2.5 L/100km

2.2 L/100km

6.8 L/100km

Boot space

424L

510L

530L

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