words and photos by: Mike Ginsca
A Hyundai that costs $62,000 CAD. It sounds like the start of a bad joke but actually Hyundai is on a bit of a roll with the Genesis brand. The South Korean automaker is trying to take a stake from the Japanese and German luxury manufacturers by offering similar levels of luxury but at a smaller price.
This Genesis G80 Sport is only available with a 3.3L twin turbocharged V6 that develops 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. A 420hp V8 is also available but not in this Sport trim. For a big sedan like this, the Genesis G80 feels light on its feet. Turbo lag is minimal and the power gradually accelerates the big sedan to 100km/h from a stop in just over 5 seconds. The engine also makes quite a nice sound when in Sport mode. It’s just too bad that it’s a fake sound that’s coming from the speakers. I wonder if there’s a way to program the system to play a V8 or V12 soundtrack…
The G80 Sport is only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission. As far as automatics go, this one is very good. Smooth and quick shifts in any drive mode with a fast response when you bury your right foot to overtake a vehicle.
For a sedan that weighs the better part of 2,000 kg, the Genesis G80 Sport stops with authority. Large front calipers clamp down on the big brake discs to stop the car with little effort & a solid, drama-free feeling.
All-wheel-drive is the only powertrain available on the G80 Sport. Getting the engine’s power down to the road is not a problem thanks to this AWD system but also to the 275 wide rear tires. Going around corners the G80 is relatively composed but it feels a bit odd because it’s not a full on sports sedan nor is it a full on luxury sedan. It’s in between. The electro-assisted steering is numb in feeling but precise however it just doesn’t feel as rewarding as the offerings from the German brands.
Overall the Genesis G80 Sport is a comfy sedan whether driving on a smooth highway or through potholed city streets. The suspension doesn’t make the car feel floaty nor does it make it too harsh like other sports sedans. There is a lot of room on the inside for adults both in the front and rear seats. With 16-way adjustments for the driver’s seat (12 for passenger), anyone can get into a comfortable position.
This being a luxury oriented vehicle, it has a quiet and calming cabin. Driving at speed on a highway feels like how a luxury car should feel like, smooth and quiet. Nothing on the inside rattles and it feels like a quality built product.
When first stepping into the Genesis G80, it may feel a bit overwhelming with the amount of buttons on the dashboard. But the buttons are well laid out and after a few minutes, you get use to their position and it becomes second nature to using them. The rest of the interior has a contemporary look and feel but the carbon fiber trim is a bit of a cliche. It seems to be the go-to trim for any vehicle with the word “Sport” in it.
The G80 Sport comes with features that one would expect to have in a luxury vehicle such as navigation, heated and ventilated seats, blind spot monitor, etc. However it does not come with features that established luxury brands are available with such as massaging seats or night vision camera. Ok so maybe that last one is a bit too specific but for the most part the Genesis G80 Sport has gadgets and features that were first available on other luxury brands 2 or 3 years ago. However the big plus is that the G80 comes with these features at a more affordable price and with a longer warranty period.
Design is subjective. For example I think the Honda Civic Type-R looks just fine. The Genesis G80 Sport on the other hand doesn’t look that appealing to me. Despite the copper accents, the faux looking center wheel nuts, and the big chin spoiler, the overall design doesn’t look that appealing. It’s as though half the design team tried to make it look elegant with the sloping roof lines but the other half wanted to make it look sporty with the big radiator grille and chin spoiler.
15 years ago the thought of paying over $60,000 for a Hyundai was ridiculous but just in the last 5 years, Hyundai has improved their vehicles by leaps and bounds. The Genesis G80 is a perfect example of a well thought out and executed vehicle that very few expected to compete against the established German and Japanese rivals. It’s low price, feature rich cabin, excellent warranty, and recently receiving an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is a smart choice for those looking for luxury without breaking the bank.
Thank you to Hyundai Canada for providing the vehicle.