2018 Genesis G80 Sport Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Genesis is the new stand-alone luxury brand from Hyundai. It’s the new idea of luxury. It’s the Korean take on luxury.
Earlier this year I drove the Genesis G90 sedan. It’s the top model that’s priced in the high-$60,000 to low-$70,000 range. The G90 was named the “Best in Class, Ideal Luxury Car” in AutoPacific’s annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA).
Now I’ve stepped back a notch to the 2018 G80 midsize sedan that’s priced starting at $41,750 and runs up to just under $60,000. The G80 is offered in three trim levels, Premium, Sport and Ultimate and each are available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. They each come well equipped and there are no individual free-standing options.
For 2018 all G80 models get refreshed exterior design including headlights, lower front grille, and front and rear fascia. Interior enhancements include new instrument cluster, shift knob, rearview mirror, analog clock and premium speaker design.
I had a week’s time with the new-for-2018 G80 Sport in all-wheel drive configuration priced to start at $57,750. The G80 Sport is well appointed and is powered by a 365 HP twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed sport tuned automatic transmission. For reference, the Premium has a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 and the Ultimate a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8.
On the outside the G80 Sport has a black mesh grille and a restyled front fascia with large air inlets.
Overall engine response and transmission behavior is very good. Zero to 60 mph is around a very adequate five seconds, give or take a little. EPA test-cycle ratings are 20 mpg combined, with 17 city mpg and 24 highway mpg for the AWD model. RWD models are rated one mpg better in the highway test-cycle at 25 mpg and the same in the city. My driving around Chicago was mostly at slower city speeds where I got around 16 mpg.
The G80 Sport includes a driver-selectable Intelligent Drive Mode that allows the driver to select between four distinct modes—Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow—depending on driver preferences and/or driving conditions. Each drive mode reconfigures throttle response, transmission mapping, stability control, suspension and steering settings.
There’s also plenty of semi-automated driver assistance safety features equipped as standard. They include Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention Alert, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning.
The rigid body structure and adaptive “Continuous Damping Control” suspension tuning make for very compliant handling along with a quiet interior cabin. Staggered tire sizes are mounted to 19-inch wheels with 245/40 up front on 8.5-inch wide rims and 235/35 in the rear on 9.0-inch wide rims.
I had a chance to drive this very same G80 Sport at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL. At the Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally we run touring laps around the north circuit. This gave me a great opportunity to feel-out the G80 Sport on the track where, set in the Sport mode, it proved itself with good overall well balanced handling.
I would say the G80 Sport is very comfortable and refined for everyday on-street driving, where of course most all owners will be. On the track it’s balanced and very drivable, but not in the European sport-sedan class.
In the cabin, seats are comfortable all around with good outward visibility. I thought the heated seats could have provided a bit more warmth. I was happy to see there is no engine idle stop/start system---I’m not a big fan. A 9.2-inch touchscreen is for navigation, audio settings, and the multi-view camera. I noticed touchscreen reflection at the top of the windshield during night driving, but you can switch the screen off if its not needed. A rotary media controller is on the center console and there is a row of knobs and buttons to operate HVAC, audio and such.
Overall, the interior quality and fit and finish is on par with other European and Japanese luxury sedans.
Visit www.genesis.com for more information and specifications on the 2018 Genesis G80. Along with the 5-year/60,000 mile warranty also included is 3 years/36K miles Complimentary Normally Scheduled Maintenance and also Complimentary Service Valet, both of which make the ownership experience a bit more comfortable.
In September the G70 sedan was introduced in Korea and it’ll be coming to the U.S. in 2018. Along with the G90 flagship and mid-luxury G80, the G70 marks the completion of Genesis sedan line-up and the brand will now start strengthening its lineup with SUVs and alternative powertrains.
The Most Useful and Unbiased Genesis Consumer Research Tools Anywhere!
- Genesis Buyers Guide | Specs, Prices, Expert Reviews and Comparisons 2017-2018
- Find Your Perfect New Lux Sedan Match
- The Auto Channel's Genesis Brand Archives; News, Factory Releases, Expert Reviews, Compare Specifications, Prices, Video, Images (989 Annotations)
© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy