In the luxury automotive world, “base model” is a relative term, and it’s not something we get to test often. Usually, our test vehicles are equipped with a lot of the popular equipment and the most performance-oriented engine options. That was the case with the $56,000 Genesis G80 Sport we tested back in February.
Following J.D. Power’s recent ranking of Genesis as the top automaker in the U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, we wanted to see what a base G80 had to offer. For that, we hopped behind the wheel of a 2018 Genesis G80 3.8 RWD.
2018 Genesis G80 Exterior
Although this G80 actually started out as the second-gen Hyundai Genesis, there are plenty of styling differences between the Genesis brand and the Hyundai brand to better allow this new lineup to fully compete with established luxury automakers. The long nose, raked windshield and swept roofline give the G80 a stylish look, while the large grille, LED-trimmed headlights and LED taillights add upscale touches.
Even without the mean look of the G80 Sport (including the sporty front and rear fascias, dark chrome trim, staggered-width 19-inch wheels and a unique mesh grille), the 2018 Genesis G80 still has excellent style to compete against mid-size luxury sedans like the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Lexus GS. As much as I liked the dark, sinister appearance of the G80 Sport, this 2018 Genesis G80 3.8 still looked great painted in Himalayan Gray and its bright chrome accents.
2018 Genesis G80 Interior
Take away the carbon fiber trim, sporty three-spoke steering wheel and the aluminum foot pedals, and the cabin of the 2018 Genesis G80 3.8 has the same luxurious look and feel as the Sport. To better distance the Genesis cabins from their Hyundai-badged counterparts, the 2018 G80 has received numerous improvements such as a redesigned gauge cluster, a new shift lever, more upscale trim offerings and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
These minimal improvements only go to show how luxurious the G80 already was with standard equipment that includes 12-way power and heated front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering column, hands-free trunk and an eight-inch touch screen navigation system. Being the “base” model, we missed some of the cool features from the G80 Sport like the panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats and 17-speaker audio system, but this is still an incredibly luxurious cabin.
Checking the spec sheet shows that the 2018 Genesis G80 is larger than rivals like the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus GS, which results in a more spacious cabin including 2.2 inches of added legroom compared to the Lexus. The G80’s 15.3 cubic feet of trunk space is among the best in this segment as well.
2018 Genesis G80 Powertrain
While some luxury automakers are starting to use turbocharged four-cylinders as base engines, the entry-level 2018 Genesis G80 3.8 is powered by a 3.8-liter direct-injected V6 that produces 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque. This engine mates to an eight-speed automatic, and all engine options are offered with rear- or all-wheel drive. This V6, rear-drive tester is the most efficient 2018 Genesis G80 you can get with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway**, and we saw just under 23 mpg in mixed driving during our week with this sedan.
While the G80 Sport exhibits a tighter, sportier driving dynamic, the 2018 Genesis G80 3.8 has more of a highway cruiser feel. Acceleration feels smoother and faster than some of the G80’s four-cylinder competition, but if you’re looking for a stronger engine, the G80 is also available with a twin-turbo V6 and a 5.0-liter V8. Having driven both the Sport and now the base G80 3.8, it’s easy to see how much work the Genesis team put into the chassis design to deliver such a smooth and quiet ride.
2018 Genesis G80 Safety
The Genesis G80 already carried a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the 2018 model year gets even better thanks Pedestrian Detection and Driver Attention Alert now coming as standard safety technology. This, of course, is in addition standard features that include nine airbags, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist.
2018 Genesis G80 Overall
Not only does the 2018 Genesis G80 prove that it can keep up with luxury sedans from America, Europe and Japan, it does so for thousands of dollars less. Being a Hyundai-owned brand, after all, value is always important. The 2018 G80 3.8 has a starting price of $41,750, and this tester only added the destination charge for its as-tested price of $42,725. As Genesis plans to add even more cars and crossovers to its lineup in coming years, expect this brand to put even more heat on the competition.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Genesis dealership and test drive the luxurious 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 on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.