Hyundai surprised the automotive world last year when it created the new Genesis luxury brand. So far, there are only two models available, the G80 and G90 sedans. But this year they expanded the lineup a bit with the G80 Sport. This model comes with macho styling, tons of features, a performance engine and a bargain price.
Genesis designers revamped the almost benign face of the base G80, and gave the Sport a rather fearsome mug. This is a look that intimidates. When you see that black cross-hatch grille and those squinty headlights in your rearview mirror you’ll want to move over and get out of the way.
Yet, the interior of the G80 Sport tells another story, and it’s about luxury. Carbon-fiber and brushed silver accents on the dash and doors look upscale modern. Rich leather seats are highlighted by contrasting stitching, and those in the front are adjustable up to 16 ways, besides being heated and ventilated. Seats in the rear, feature contoured backrests and excellent head-and legroom. Furthermore, a power shade on the back window will keep the afternoon sun from roasting the top of your head.
But beside the luxury, there’s a practical side. Genesis provides instruments and controls that are intuitive in their operation. A large 9.2-inch touchscreen handles functions like navigation and phone. A dial on the console provides an alternative way to activate these features and others. Conventional dials for radio and climate controls provide a convenience that’s missing in some other upscale cars.
Almost everything is standard on the G80 Sport. That includes items like a panoramic sunroof, a 17-speaker audio system and a hands-free power trunk opener. However, more impressive are the Genises’ safety features. A blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning, rear-cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and frontal collision warning and braking are all included in the base price as well. About the only thing you can add is an all-wheel-drive system.
Genesis gives the G80 Sport a really good dose of power with a 3.3-liter, twin-turbo, V-6 engine. It pumps out a mighty 365-hp, and is teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is an ultra-responsive and smooth power train. Step on the gas at a stop light, and the Sport leaps forward, and will rush you to 60 in a little over five seconds. Paddle shifters on the steering wheel enable drivers to change gears quickly, if you feel the need. However, gas mileage is not so hot on this car—just 20 mpg.
The Genesis G80 Sport provides drivers with a choice of three distinct driving modes. One can choose Eco or Sport settings in addition the Normal default mode. If you chose the Sport, the throttle response quickens; the transmission shifting points change; the steering tightens up and the suspension stiffens. (Eco relaxes throttle and transmission response for better fuel economy.) If you are hustling down a twisty road, you’ll want the Sport mode. Although the G80 Sport is not all that nimble, it is definitely sure-footed. But where it really shines is in the ride department. This sedan soaks up road irregularities with ease, and is almost whisper quiet in the cabin.
With all it has going for it, maybe the best feature of all for the G80 Sport is its price—$56,225 with rear-wheel drive; $58,725 with AWD. This is thousands of dollars less than other comparably equipped midsize luxury sedans. Yet, if you can do without the sportiness, the well-equipped base Genesis G80 is only $42,725.
Loaded with Luxury and Safety Gear