Genesis G80: hands-on review
A car for the back-seat driver
In the market for a roomy, luxury sedan? The new kid on the block, Genesis, is looking to put the Germans on notice with the 2019 G80.
"Innovation, performance and design that embodies our Athletic Elegance ethos are the key pillars of strength in the new Genesis G80 sedan," says Manfred Fitzgerald, executive vice president, global head of the Genesis brand.
The G80 range starts at $62,000 for the 3.8 G80, while the 3.8 Ultimate will set you back $88,900. Add in the Sports Design pack that we had on our tester for $4,000 and you're looking at a cool $92,900.
And while you won't be able to negotiate on the price, there are a number of after-sales services, as well as comparatively strong pricing that may make you start to ponder: "Maybe I don't need that 5 Series".
So, how does it go?
The front of the G80 is highlighted by a signature Genesis crest grille at the front between the LED headlights with daytime running lights, 19-inch wheels and the Sports Design pack on our vehicle added "Dark Grey Satin" wheels, as well as darkened chrome highlights around the exterior.
The "Mallorca Blue" metallic paint is a striking colour that really pops in sunlight.
At the back you get LED tail lights as well as dual chrome oval exhaust tips, which add a brawny rasp.
While it isn't a bad-looking car, there seems to be less substance to discuss, in my opinion, than the very attractive Genesis G70 we tested a couple of weeks ago.
On the road
The only way you could describe the ride of the Genesis G80 is plush. I imagine that if you attached wheels and a cushioned seat to a cloud, the results would be quite similar to the Genesis G80. It floats over rough roads, bumps and basically any other surface in absolute comfort.
The cabin is well insulated from both road, wind and engine noise, so whoever is traveling in the back can take their important telephone calls in relative silence.
Powered by a 3.8-litre petrol V6, there is plenty of grunt to move this hefty vehicle. It produces 232kw and 397Nm and is able to drink 91 RON. On a combined cycle it will gulp down 10.4 litres every 100kms and with a full tank there are 77 litres available for it to do so.
Connected to an eight-speed automatic, it goes about its business impressively. Supplying smooth shifts and more than a suitable amount of power when needed and for general city driving it was quite mature.
Steering is compliant, there is a decent enough amount of feedback and for such a heavy vehicle, body roll is kept in check quite well. Genesis says engineers covered thousands of kilometres and invested countless hours into fine-tuning the dynamics of the steering and suspension. All of this work compliments a near 50:50 weight distribution.
But while Genesis' Australian engineers have done a fantastic job developing and tweaking the ride of the vehicle, there is no escaping it is a big car and it does come across as quite burly when driving it.
With your foot down and all the power coursing to the rear wheels, Genesis claims it will get you to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds. Overall the G80 is enjoyable from behind the wheel and you will find yourself enjoying cruising at lower speeds.
What's the Genesis G80 like inside?
Hopping inside, the quality of finish is good. The 12-way adjustable driver seat is exceedingly comfortable and upholstered in Nappa leather, as is almost everything else in the car.
In the front you get heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a proximity key, wireless phone charging and push start, to name a few things.
A nine-inch touchscreen controls media and satellite navigation. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but you will enjoy crystal clear sound thanks to the 17-speaker Lexicon sound system. In a vehicle as insulated as this, sound quality is superb, but it has to be said that the software itself feels a bit dated.
Actually, I'm afraid the interior on the whole is feeling a bit dated, when you couple the above with the wooden inlay and centre console buttons in a horizontal strip configuration.
While the G80 is an enjoyable car to drive, the best seats in the house are in the rear.
Here you will benefit from ample leg room, shades for the side windows and an electronically operated blind for the rear window, controlled by the passenger.
A great feature if used as a hire car (but perhaps not if you have teenagers) is the ability to move the position of the front passenger seat from your control panel at the back. I can foresee this causing issues, arguments and a few laughs. Along with this you get heated and cooled seats on the outer pews, which also have the ability to move backwards and forwards. Radio, media, volume controls and a USB charging point all help to make the rear passengers' life a lot more pleasant too.
Once you've moved the front passenger seat so far forward that they now have their knees at their ears and you're all stretched out with the sun shining down on you, it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy the plush ride the G80 offers.
Is it practical?
Opening the powered boot lid reveals 493 litres of boot space, which you can't expand as you aren't able to fold down the rear seats. Under the boot floor you will find a space-saver tyre, which I'd actually get a laugh out of seeing this car riding on.
You will also find a first aid kit, hazard warning triangles and a roadside assistance kit which includes items like a rechargeable torch, safety vest, gloves and a poncho. That's a rather classy touch and really sets the G80 apart from your standard car.
However, the boot isn't the best in class. It measures 47 litres fewer than an E-class, 67 fewer than a 5-series and 37 fewer than an A6.
There are ISOFix restraints on the outboard seats in the rear as well as top tether points across all three seats.
What safety technology is fitted to the Genesis G80?
No matter which grade of G80 you pick there is a strong safety suite across the range and that is on top of an impressive 5-star ANCAP score.
When strapped into a Genesis G80 you will be protected by:
- Blind Spot Collision Warning
- Driver Attention Warning systems
- Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Pre-emptive seat belt tightening system (PSB)
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Smart Cruise Control
- Parking monitors and a 360-degree camera for parking
- Several other assists and features
A competitive price, a list of safety features and equipment as long as your arm, as well as class-leading after-sales service means that the G80 is worth a test drive.
When on the test drive, you will be impressed by the ride and handling.