by Ian Wright
There are two ways for automakers to transition their ranges from gasoline fuel to all-electric power. They can build an EV from the ground up and ensure no compromise in the vehicle's drivability or usability, or they can take an existing car and make as few compromises as possible. Genesis went down the ground-up route for the excellent GV60 crossover, but the Electrified G80 sedan is a conversion, albeit one Genesis planned. For all intents and purposes, the Electrified G80 is a Genesis G80 3.5T Sport trim but with the 3.5-liter turbo engine replaced by two electric motors and an 87.2-kWh battery.
That means the Electrified G80 is still a svelte luxury cruiser, but quieter and packing 365 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque over the petrol-powered version's 375 horses and 391 pound-feet. If anything, the Electrified G80 should be smoother, quieter, and more refined on the road than its petrol-burning counterpart. We spent a week with the Electrified G80 to find out.
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Single Speed Automatic
There's little outside to give away that the Electrified G80 is battery-powered. It would take an enthusiast's eye to spot the lack of exhaust tips, but it's unlikely anyone would spot the 0.2-inch higher roofline. It doesn't affect the "Athletic Elegance" design language - the G80 continues to sit wide and low.
The giveaways to the G80's electrification are the unique 19-inch turbine-style wheel design and the signature Crest Grille's evolution. The grille features a more aerodynamic inverted G-Matrix pattern and hides the charging port on the upper right side.
Genesis is leaning into sustainability inside the Electrified G80, but you wouldn't know without being told. The interior of a G80 model is full of elegant style, and the electrified G80 is no different. The microsuede headliner and under-carpet are made using recycled plastics, and the Nappa leather is dyed using a pine tree bark and buckwheat material process. Decoration comes from forged-wood trim, composed of discarded birch from furniture makers and compressed in resin to create its marbled veneer.
However, headroom is compromised by the battery placed in the floor of the car. It's reduced over the standard G80 by 0.8 inches up at the front and 1.6 inches in back, despite the raised roof. Rear legroom is also reduced by 2.8 inches. In a petrol-powered G80, our six-foot-one frame is more than comfortable in the back, but in the electrified G80, our hair brushes the headliner. On top of that, the trunk loses 2.4 cubic feet of space, dropping to 10.7 cubic feet.
While the Electrified G80's 365 hp is down by 10 hp over its gas-powered counterpart, torque is up by a weighty 125 lb-ft. The 516 lb-ft of instant torque makes itself known under acceleration and is more than enough to pass slower traffic or ramp up to freeway speed with little effort. Acceleration with normal driving is absolutely effortless, and Genesis has tuned its Eco mode perfectly for everyday driving. The Electrified G80 comes exclusively with all-wheel drive and this helps get the car to 60 mph in just over four seconds despite weighing 5,038 pounds.
According to Genesis, a 350-kW DC fast charger will charge the 87.2-kWh battery from 10 to 80 percent in 22 minutes. In reality, 350-kW DC fast chargers are about as easy to find as a Punisher sticker on a Toyota Prius. Our experience was that the battery charged from 20 to 90 percent in around 45 minutes on a more common fast charger, where it pulled 36 kW consistently.
According to the EPA, the Electrified G80 has a range of 282 miles, some way off the 405 miles of the more expensive Tesla Model S. The G80 3.5T, meanwhile, can go 367 miles on a full tank.
Until you reach a curvy road, the Electrified G80 provides an improved driving experience. The throttle in all three drive modes - Eco, Normal, and Sport - are tuned as close to perfect as we could expect. In Eco mode, even the most ham-footed driver will give passengers a smooth ride, yet there is still enough power available when suddenly needed. In Normal mode, power is plentiful and always on tap, but inSsport mode, passenger comfort be damned, and the Electrified G80 becomes an aggressive, fun car to fly around in.
The camera-guided adaptive dampers, sound-deadening materials, and active noise cancellation do a wonderful job of keeping everyone inside comfortable. Only at around 80 mph will someone reach to turn the sound system up to drown out road noise.
The suspension is smooth and pliable on rough roads, and we found the Electrified G80 reasonably comfortable even on California's roughest freeway. Genesis has done a great job mitigating the extra weight through corners, although if you start to push it, then the weight becomes apparent. However, the all-wheel steering endows the big sedan with a sharpness that's fun to exploit. Most of the time, the G80 cruises in rear-wheel-drive mode but moves to all-wheel drive when driven aggressively. While you might not keep up with a BMW M5 on a back road, the Electrified G80 has fun to offer on a back road after dropping the passengers off.
The Electrified G80 starts at a hefty $79,825 for the single available trim, making it over $14,000 pricier than the G80 3.5T. After that, it's a case of interior and paint options. Colors that aren't white, like the Hallasan Green on our test car, are an additional $575, while matte colors are an extra $1,500.
We gave the keys back to the Electrified G80 scratching our heads. It won't be widely available immediately, and Genesis recommends people go through its concierge program to filter customers to appropriate dealers. While we love the G80 as a whole and the electric powertrain suits it greatly, the major selling point of a larger luxury sedan is space and rear passenger comfort, both of which are compromised, although not enough for us to give it a black mark.
If you're looking for an electric sedan with plenty of luxury and an excellent driving experience, by all means, have a good look at the Electrified G80. It's a great electric vehicle. However, it could be better as it feels like a stopgap or a placeholder until Genesis brings out a clean sheet all-electric G80 design. Genesis will likely do just that as its goal is to become an all-electric vehicle company by 2030. For now, the G80 3.5T is the much cheaper, less compromised model when put up against its electric sibling.
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