2021 Genesis G80 2.5T: Bargain-priced luxury
If you're lucky enough to be shopping for luxury midsize sports sedan these days, don't overlook the 2021 Genesis G80.
"The what?" you ask.
OK, I get it. Genesis, the relatively new luxury brand of South Korean manufacturer Hyundai, is still making a name for itself. But just like Hyundai and its sister company Kia have climbed to the top of the affordable automobile charts, its luxury vehicles are now competitive with the German car builders for thousands less.
I know that sounds like a big claim, but it's true. It just spent a week with the base G80 and it offers everything I would expect in an entry-level Mercedes Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and Audi A6. I wouldn't have said that last year, but the 2021 G8 is all new and completely reimagined in ways I could not have guessed.
For starters, the new G80 is perhaps the striking look midsize sport sedan in the world. It is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, with fastback styling, a massive shield-shaped grill, flush wrap-around head lights and tail lights, and even side marker lamps integrated into the front fenders. Frankly, it looks like a rich guy's car in a video game — like a fantasy come to life.
The interior is equally impressive. It is much more sensuous than any of its German competitors, which border on the impersonal. The dash is dominated by a huge 14.5-inch split-screen infotainment display screen mounted on the top of the flowing dash. It's controlled both by hard buttons and a large center console-mounted dial and pad. All of the materials, including the real wood trim, were first rate.
As a base model, my test G80 came with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline four engine mated to an eight-speed transmission and rear-wheel-drive. With 300 ponies and 311 foot pounds of torque under the long hood, it moved smartly off the line and had more than enough power for around town driving, especially in the Sport mode. A twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with 375 ponies and 391 foot pounds of torque is also available for more spirited driving. All-wheel-drive is also available with either engine.
The 2021 Genesis G80 is marketed as an Executive Car, which, as I understand it, means it has more rear seat room than usual for a midsize car. My tester certainly did, was well as a useful divider with cup holders that could be folded up to accommodate three adults in comfort and style.
As befits a true luxury car, the 2021 Genesis G80 was incredibly smooth and quiet to drive. The suspension was supple enough to absorb imperfections but firm enough to be pushed hard without becoming too stiff.
The 2021 Genesis G80 starts at under $50,000 with a wealth of standard convenience, comfort, luxury, safety and technology features. Our test model was a Prestige version which included an Advanced Package with 19-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, leather seating surfaces, a Lexicon Premium Audio system with 21 speakers, a panoramic roof and more, all $58,025, with destination charges.
The only real drawback was the dial and keypad set up that helps control the infortainment system. It is a complicated affair with an outer chrome ring that spins but can also be clicked to move the around on the screen. It will take more practice than most controllers to master, although I was beginning to get the hang of it by the time I had to return the car.
With a starting price of under $50,000, savvy shoppers will recognize what a bargain the 2021 Genesis G80 is when they first drive one. Even though more expensive V6 and AWD version are priced well below similarly-equipped competitors.
2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Prestige
Base price: $47,700
Price as tested: $58,025
Type: Midsize sport sedan
Engine: Turbocharged 2.5 four (300 hp, 311 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, Custom
EPA estimated mileage: 23/32
Overall length: 197 inches
Curb weight: 3957 pounds
Final assembly: Ulsan, Korea
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