This is not a Hyundai. Well, it used to be, but a car that was formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis Sedan is no longer part of the Hyundai lineup of vehicles. The second part to the introduction of the Genesis Motors sub-brand, this 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is a lot more than just a mid-cycle refresh on the existing Genesis, and an entry from the brand that’s one size smaller than the larger G90 (reviewed here). Confused? We don’t blame you, but stay with us here. The G80 Sport is the smaller of the two sedans currently offered by Genesis Motors, though offers improvements and developments that enhance it into something truly special.
What’s most important is under the hood – the G80 Sport receives an all-new 3.3L twin-turbo V6 engine, one that debuted with the G90 earlier this year. This motor is direct injected and intercooled, offering a generous 365 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 375 lb-ft. of torque at 1,300RPM. Non-Sport variants of the G80 get the same naturally aspirated 3.8L and 5.0L motors that have carried over from the previous Genesis, but this one here stands out. Power delivery is crisp, urgent, and the 3.3T is one of the best new V6s out there. All G80 models sold in Canada receive the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system, which is rear-based.
The transmission of choice is an eight-speed automatic, shared with other motors. It shifts quietly and effortlessly, never second-guessing itself and always knowing the right gear to be in. There are “Sport” and “Eco” settings that adjust transmission shift points, and the former holds gears longer for spirited runs, but the transmission is at its finest in the regular, default setting. This car, when performing at a dynamic level, has better road feel and response than the new BMW 540i (reviewed here). The Sport trim also makes use of 19” alloy wheels with Continental ProContact tires, which do an excellent job at holding the road even when pushed.
Ride quality and noise-vibration-harshness are departments in which the G80 Sport demolishes its rivals. It’s just as quiet, if not quieter, than the Lexus GS 350 (reviewed here) and rides just as nicely as well, even with the sportier suspension setup. Noise isolation is impeccable, thanks to dual-pane glass on the front windows and additional lamination and quieting materials used throughout the vehicle. The result is a 4,600lb. car, but it doesn’t feel as heavy as the weight suggests. The G80 is buttery smooth in operation regardless of conditions, though the sense of urgency comes in quickly if asked to dance.
Fuel economy is the only area of weakness for this new 3.3L twin-turbo powerplant. Rated at 13.8L/100km city, 9.7L/100km highway for a combined rating of 11.9L/100km, the G80 Sport isn’t the most efficient car. Speaking relatively though for a boosted V6 in a heavy car with all-wheel-drive, it’s not all that bad. Our test of approximately 450km delivered an average of 14.3L/100km in combined driving, with about a 60/40 split between highway and city driving. The Sport requires 91-octane premium fuel thanks to the forced induction and higher compression of the motor.
The interior of the G80 has only been subtly improved upon from the previous car, but these small changes have helped considerably. The new steering wheel is luxurious and nice to hold, and attention to detail everywhere is right up there with the finest from Lexus and BMW. Materials used everywhere look exceptionally good, with subtle bronze stitching that matches the sport grille on the car. The headliner is Microsuede, and the leather used for the seats is impeccably soft and the seating appointments match, if not surpass, the rivals from BMW.
Controlling the majority of multimedia tasks is a 9.2” touchscreen that’s for the most part, an infotainment system that has been carried over from the previous model. However, new features include Apple CarPlay, which, while the gold standard in mobile phone connectivity, still needs a hardwired connection. The CarPlay is also slightly awkward on such a large screen, and the fonts have a discrepancy with the actual Genesis system, which gives it a goofy look that takes away from the overall simplicity of the vehicle. The automatic climate control with heated and ventilated seats does a perfect job of keeping occupants cool – something we were able to test at the limit during a heat wave.
If opting for the Sport trim, the G80 can only be had one way. It comes fully loaded with everything including a full leather interior with heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, a brilliant Lexicon sound system (900W), adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, full LED headlights, wireless charging, Smart Trunk, adaptive suspension, and all. The sticker on this car is $62,000, sitting above the G80 3.8 Luxury, 3.8 Technology, and just below the 5.0 Ultimate at $65,000.
Genesis at Home is a feature that’s unique from other manufacturers in that they try to offer a hassle-free buying and ownership experience. This starts from the buyer’s initial interest, when the brand will bring a vehicle for you to sample and test drive at your home or office, along with paperwork should you decide to order one. The car can also be ordered online in the same manner as you order your new iPhone, with the same level of simplicity. There is no haggling, and the online system allows you to order extended warranty coverage and accessories.
Once you’ve decided to order the car, Genesis Motors brings it to your door in a unique transparent covered trailer, and delivers it with white-glove treatment. When the vehicle is due for service, they will go one step further and leave you a loaner Genesis and take yours away, making for seamlessness and ease that allows the brand to stand out. Obviously, we were not able to sample this experience, but we have faith in the brand to do a stellar job at providing VIP ownership treatment to buyers, one that may involve never having to step into a Genesis Motors boutique.
The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is a car that we became more and more fond of as our test progressed. Stacking up as the “value alternative” to rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E 300 and the BMW 540i, the G80 Sport offers more performance than both of these vehicles at a lower price. Many Canadians will opt for the Sport over other variants of the G80 thanks to its generous list of standard features, visual upgrades, and price point – this would not be the wrong decision. After sampling the G90 and now the G80 Sport, it’s quite evident that Genesis Motors is on the right trajectory for penetration into an established market, and we wish them all the success they deserve.
2018 Genesis G80 Sport Gallery