Luxury sub-brands, as good as they are, cannot command the brand-snobbery that more established rivals such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz can. How many times have you heard the people who claim to know better call Lexus a rebadged Toyota?
The Genesis brand is Hyundai’s attempt to join the ranks of have-em-alls. It started way back in 2008 with the introduction of the Hyundai Genesis and have spun off an entirely separate brand in 2017, with their first car being the G80. And this week, they’ve unveiled the all-new G80.
In terms of styling, this mid-sized executive sedan has taken design cues from the Genesis G90 lux-barge and the recently-launched GV80 SUV. With a gobsmackingly large chrome grille, sleek fastback-esque profile and muscular shoulder lines, road presence is something this motor vehicle will never lack.
Unlike some European marques, the G80 designers have done well to elegantly incorporate the large grill into the overall design. This created a harmonious flow of subtle curves and pronounced character lines. Combined with the slim dual horizontal headlights and a regressed chrome lower grill, you get this low and wide stance, something Genesis calls “athletic elegance”.
The G80’s athleticism comes from a 304hp turbocharged 2.5L inline-4, serving as a base level engine, replacing the 3.8L V6. If that isn’t enough, Genesis also offers the 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 with 375hp, which outmuscles the previous 3.3L twin-turbo V6. Yet, it produces lesser power than the now-discontinued 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8.
For the first time, the G80 is now available with diesel power, in the form of a 2.2-litre turbocharged inline-4 generating 210 horsepowers. All variants are equipped with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and come with rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
Although the G80 retains similar wheelbase dimensions as the outgoing model at 3010 mm, it sits on an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform, being slightly longer, lower and wider than before. The Genesis G80 continues to be larger than main rivals Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series, giving a distinct advantage in terms of interior space and legroom.
The real deal-maker for any executive sedan lies in the level of opulence and luxury on the inside. The G80 is no different, oozing classy minimalism with a simple and uncluttered layout, which Genesis says portrays “the beauty of white space”.
Continuing with the distinctive exterior design language, the interior looks genuinely upscale with Nappa leather everywhere, complemented by an elegant blend of open-pore wood and metal inlays. Genesis has ticked all the boxes when it comes to passenger comfort. The premium executive sedan is fitted with double-glazed sound-proof glass, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, and independent automatic climate control as standard.
The 14.5-inch central touchscreen can also be controlled by the touchpad mounted on the centre console, in front of the rotary gear selector. The driver gets an equally large 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Despite having a touchscreen, there are a good number of physical buttons on the dash. The combination of leather, wood, brushed metal trim and knurled metal finish on the indicator stalks, climate control knobs and the rotary gear selector simply enhances the feel of luxury.
The old school charm of the G80 hides the fact that this car jam-packed with the latest tech and driver assistance equipment. Not only does the G80 comes with navigation-based adaptive cruise control, but the vehicle also has the Highway Driving Assist II. This driver-assist system allows lane changes by flicking the indicators.
Genesis has equipped the G80’s cruise control with Machine Learning, meaning that the car’s computer can learn your driving style and replicate it during autonomous driving. The G80 also features the Genesis Digital Key, a mobile app and key-card combination that can be shared among three people. This feature allows keyless entry and vehicle startup via your Android phone; sorry Apple users.
Genesis has shown their serious intent and taken the luxury executive sedan fight straight to the Germans with this new G80. And from the looks of it, they have what it takes to land that punch.