KOREAN PRESTIGE EXECUTIVE RE- BORN, AGAIN: The first generation of luxury mid-size sedan from car maker Genesis was less than an Equus, bore a Hyundai badge, looked and felt absolutely derivative of other Asian prestige models, exhibited adequate manners, but focused a bit much on value. The follow-up re-generation of Genesis executive saloon eventually wore it’s own winged emblems, was dressed more European dapper by Schreyer and displayed a sharper tune for the path ahead, while persisting as a smart buy.
This year’s second re-birth of luxury middle sedan child from Seoul, is more sensuously swaddled and has been emphatically envigorated. Sharing stable space with the brand’s first luxury SUV, the GV80, an all-new 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T arrives expecting to earn some long overdue prestige sedan merit.
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WHAT: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T 3rd generation luxury executive sedan. It replaces the 2nd generation G80, originally the 2nd generation Hyundai Genesis.
Standard Power: longitudinal intercooled turbocharged 2.5L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 290 hp/ 310 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm, Start/ Stop idle + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + rear wheel drive (opt. HTRAC Magna all-wheel drive).
Optional Power: longitudinal intercooled turbocharged 3.5L DOHC 32V DI gas V-6 = 380 hp/ 383 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm, Start/ Stop idle + 8-speed torque converter planetary automatic w/ shift paddles + rear wheel drive (opt. HTRAC Magna all-wheel drive).
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: Luc Donckerwolke, recently brand chief at Genesis, adapted more emphatic lines from the GV class SUV for sedan use in the 2021 G80. The long hooded raked windscreen and backlight ending in duckbill fastback rear deck succeeds as a four-door coupe which doesn’t compromise rear headroom. Fenders and rear quarters flatter with sporty flaring. Marquee elements include an emphatic oversized latticed diamond outline grille. Eye catching raceway tandem lateral amber DRLs bisect headlamps, resume mid fender upon new simulated vents.
The same lateral tandem amber raceway lamps culminate in wrap around form from mid rear quarters to scooped trunk lid. “GENESIS” lettering fills the void between the upper taillights and a chrome brand wing spans the trunk lid upper edge. The license plate recess has been banished to the lower rear valance while dual lower corner chrome exhaust bezels share the grille’s diamond shape.
WHY: Genuine prestige executive sedan for a volume sum.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Autumn 2020
WHERE: Genesis new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Ulsan, South Korea
HOW ROADWORTHY: Rare to the first year of a completely re-though model are two new 2021 Genesis G80 powerplants. The single-scroll turbocharged 2.5L DOHC Lambda inline four gas engine endows the slightly hefty sedan with some firecracker if not blistering acceleration. The 8-speed autobox delivers on nearly imperceptible gear changes but is loathe to throttle blip when paddle downshifted. One thing is a certainty: the center console space economizing rotary dial shifter, is going to be mixed up with the forwards recessed infotainment remote rotary wheel. Roadblazing.com’s past experience with rear-drive oriented all-wheel drive is that it won’t excise as much understeer as would a proper limited slip rear differential. The tested rear drive 2021 G80‘s surefooted nature in winter’s slick on all-weather tires was a real revelation.
Aluminum apertures all the away around have helped lower the new 2021 Genesis G80‘s center of gravity for more tolerant springing. The standard non-active dampers repel body irregularities and stabilize wheel locating for graceful responses. There is less launch squat and brake dive than the predecessor exhibited. Steering weighting and adhesion turn in is more appropriate to a grand touring sashay, especially at grip communication is low. Slowing responsiveness also gains linear progression without a stiff pedal.
HOW FAR: 27 combined miles per gallon fuel economy; 550 miles highway range
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: An executive which encroaches on a flagship footprint, but parks tidier.
- Wheelbase: 118.5″ inches = 1.4″ > BMW 540i xDrive; 1.5″ < Volvo S90 T6 AWD
- Row 2 Legroom: 38.5″ inches = 2.2″ > BMW 540i xDrive; 2.1″ < Volvo S90 T6 AWD
- Cargo space (trunk): 13.1 cubic feet = 7% < BMW 540i xDrive; 18% < Volvo S90 T6 AWD
HOW USEFUL: √ 2nd Row trunk pass through; √ 2nd Row accessed front pax seat slide; √ Trunk space par for segment; √ Cargo tie-down net; √ Proximity power trunk lid open; √ Fold-down trunk shopping bag anchor; √ Over-sized front ceiling soft-hinged sunglass caddy; √ Locking large mouse-fur lined glove box; √ Center-stack covered smart phone bin; √ Deep, wide clamshell front center armrest bin; –1 Long hood impairs outward, thick seat headrests, wide side pillars & rear headrests impair outward visibility; -1 Narrow trunk aperture; -1 Manual trunk lid close
HOW SAFE: √ 9 airbags; √ IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus; √ Rear camera; √ Forward & rear sonar park assist; √ Automatic high beam headlamps; √ Auto parking brake hold
Partial Autonomous Driving: √ Forward collision & pedestrian avoidance braking; √ Full adaptive cruise control; √ Lane departure warning, keep assist, trace; √ Rear Cross Traffic Alert, collision avoidance; √ Blind Spot Warning (available);
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: Piano black accents and leatherette surfaces don’t detract from an airy standard G80 decor blending conventional luxury with modernity, for an open low distraction experience. Aluminum switches and housings, and vent dampers as well as organic padded surfaces feature satin texture. Seams are tucked and dual tandem stitched for that fine upholstery look. A four spoke steering wheel with yoke shaped lower section imaginative. A large lateral media display relaxes with a driving environment home display. The knurled barrel metal audio controls in the center console are a remedy to no hitherto known problem. Following the trend of protruding rotary transmission selector for center console space saving, this one is nearly too proximate to recessed dial media display controller to avoid confusion.
√ Heated 12-way driver, front pax power seats, w/ 2-setting driver’s memory; √ 4 power windows w/ full up/ down express; √ 2nd Row privacy glass; √ Row 2 remote front pax seat pitch adjust; √ ELD twin analog gauge instrumentation; √ Power folding wing mirrors; √ Auto dimming rearview mirror + remote garage door control;
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Posture Care seat articulations optimizer; √ Driver’s door Genesis winged logo front door puddle lamps; √ Variable color ambient LEDs
Details Done Right: √ Tight webbing headliner & pillars; √ Knurled aluminum switches & barrel controls; √ Stainless steel door sills; √ Thick nap carpeting + floor mats; √ Convincing simulated leather seating; √ Bunched or tucked edge stitched upper dash, center console door panels & hinged ceiling pull handle seams; Leatherette covered front seat back pocket hard flaps.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Piano black accents; Short seat cushions; Thin steering wheel leather.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 14.5″ 80:20 split pane touch LCD infotainment screen, driving landscape home screen; √ Rotary dial remote display control + script touch pad; √ Voice recognition command hands-free communications; √ 3-D SD GPS navigation; √ Bluetooth communications + SMS messaging; √ Subscription based Sirius XM radio; √ 12 speaker, 450 Watt Mobis DSP 30GB jukebox streaming audio; √ Android Auto, Apple Carplay wired mobile phone projection; √ HD Radio Data traffic, fuel prices, weather radar; √ Connected Services, including remote start, via Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa; √ USB x 3, 12V x 1.
HOW MUCH: $49,125 = as tested 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T
WHAT’S MISSING: Gas-electric hybrid option (available in other markets); Better front seat torso support; More durable surface hides; More SMS messaging preset replies
ANY COMPETITION: BMW 530i: +1 chassis refinement, hybrid option; Lexus ES 350: +1 ride quality, space, hybrid option; Volvo S90 T5; +1 cabin space, interior design and materials, PHEV option
FINAL WORD: Fine re-working of a prestige executive sedan evolved for those who place greater emphasis on value rather than brand identity.