In late 2015, Hyundai announced that it was creating its own luxury division called Genesis. This standalone brand made its formal debut with the introduction of the 2017 Genesis G80 and 2017 Genesis G90, which were rebadged versions of the Hyundai Genesis and Hyundai Equus, respectively. Genesis plans to have a six-model lineup by 2020, and with the smaller G70 on the way and three additional promising concepts (the New York Concept, Vision G Coupe Concept and GV80 Concept) previewing future cars and crossovers, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Before getting to these new models, though, Genesis is already showing its ability to keep its products fresh in the ever-competitive luxury segment with the debut of the all-new 2018 Genesis G80 Sport. This new model combines a more aggressive styling with an exclusive twin-turbo engine to inject a sportier attitude into the fledgling company, but is it actually a sport sedan? We spent a week in the new G80 Sport to find out.
2018 Genesis G80 Exterior
Instead of plastering a bunch of tacky “Sport” badges all over the place, the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport uses a distinct body kit to relay its intentions. Up front, there’s a sportier fascia with a dark chrome grille surround and mesh insert and functional brake ducts, while the rear gets smoked LED taillights and rear fascia with blacked-out diffuser. The G80 also features 19-inch staggered-width alloy wheels, darker chrome window trim, cooper accents on the wheels and headlights and full LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Light (DBL). This tester was finished in one of the G80 Sport’s three exclusive colors, Sevilla Red.
Introduced for the 2015 model year (as the second-gen Hyundai Genesis), this sedan’s design was already attractive from every angle with a long hood, short overhangs and a swept roofline. The Sport and V-8 models get stylish chrome quad exhaust tips to finish off the upscale appearance. As nice as the G80 looks, it also suffers from what is probably the worst-ever application of an integrated front radar with a glossy rectangle (and fake mesh pattern) positioned directly in the middle of the grille.
2018 Genesis G80 Interior
The true test for any luxury car is the interior, and the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport shows real promise for this brand’s future. Design isn’t too far off what we’ve come to expect from Hyundai, and while that is hardly an insult, it would be nice to see a little more diversity between Hyundai and Genesis. The attention to detail is obvious as fit and finish and the use of quality materials are exactly what you expect from a luxury brand starting with the little things like trim pieces that line up perfectly and upscale touch points. Overall, this is a great start for a new brand using what was a Hyundai-badged product just two years ago.
If the bolder exterior looks weren’t enough of a reason to consider the G80 Sport, the interior definitely is. This model checks all the option boxes with standard content such as the rich leather seats, full color head-up display, 9.2-inch touchscreen with 17-speaker Lexicon surround sound audio, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and a 16-way power driver’s seat (including power seat cushion extender, side bolster and lumbar support). For improved styling, the Sport gets black suede headliner, carbon fiber interior trim, cooper accent stitching and alloy sport pedals.
Being a mid-size luxury car, space is decent, and feels about on par from the room you’ll find in a Cadillac CTS. Just don’t be too quick to claim shotgun in the G80 Sport as the rear seats offer a great view out the large panoramic sunroof and added privacy from the power rear sunshade and manual rear side window shades. Whether you’re heading out for a road trip or taking your friends for a day at the links, the G80 Sport’s standard power trunk lid makes it easy to access the 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
2018 Genesis G80 Powertrain
Exclusive to the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is a peppy 3.3-liter twin-turbo, direct-injected V-6 putting out 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine found in the base model of the larger Genesis G90, but on the G80 provides the perfect balance of performance and value to slot between this sedan’s base 311-horsepower V-6 and the 420-horsepower V-8. No matter which engine you choose, all G80 sedans use an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain combination delivers EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway**; premium fuel is recommended and is required for max performance. Although Hyundai hasn’t listed the power output loss on regular gas, the G80’s 5.0-liter V-8, for comparison, drops 13 horsepower and 11 pound-feet when running on regular grade. This tester was rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available with all three engine options for just $2,500 more.
While the G80 Sport makes no promises of being an all-out high-performance sedan, it does provide enough upgrades to warrant the “Sport” in its name. These include an adaptive sport suspension, bigger brakes (with massive front rotors) and Continental ProContact TX tires. Although I haven’t tested the non-Sport G80, this tester definitely felt sportier than the previous-gen Hyundai Genesis. The cabin was impressively quiet likely rivaling some of the higher-end sedans in this segment, and the steering feel was responsive without being too jerky.
2018 Genesis G80 Safety
The 2018 Genesis G80 has received a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s no surprise either as this sedan comes standard with safety technologies like Smart Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention Alert, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning and a backup camera. The G80 Sport adds even more safety with a 360-degree multi-view camera and parking sensors for the front and rear.
2018 Genesis G80 Overall
The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is an attempt to target sedans like the BMW 540i M Sport, Cadillac CTS V-Sport and Lexus GS F Sport, and it does so quite well with impressive styling, luxury and technology. Like these cars, the G80 Sport brings a little added sportiness to a great highway cruiser resulting in a mid-size sedan that looks good wherever it goes.
Like Hyundai, Genesis still has a focus on delivering value to its customers, and the 2018 G80 easily undercuts its rivals with a starting price of $41,750*, and the new G80 Sport is positioned in the middle of the G80 lineup starting at $55,250*. Since this model comes fully loaded with all the options, the as-tested price of $56,225 only adds the destination charge.
Bottom line, if you’re in the market for a high-quality, high-tech luxury sedan, don’t write off the 2018 Genesis G80 as a wannabe. That it most certainly isn’t.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Genesis dealership and test drive the 2018 Genesis G80 today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.