by Ian Wright
If you're looking for a luxurious mid-size sedan and you've been ignoring the Genesis G80, that's a mistake worth rectifying. Genesis can't rely on badge recognition alone, so it has to bring its A-game to every model as it elbows its way into Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes territory. That means leaning heavily into styling, materials, technology, ride quality, and performance while making sure the price is as attractive as the car. Spoiler: Genesis is hitting the nail on the head in all departments.
The Genesis G80 faces up against stiff competition in the mid-size luxury sedan segment, particularly from the German automakers. They have been honing the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class for decades, and to the point where all you need to decide between the three is to choose your preference for a bias between technology, sporty dynamics, or outright ride quality. The second-generation G80 enters the fray with an attractive price for a sophisticated car packing German-level luxury, while 2.5-liter turbo and 3.5-liter twin-turbo engines, producing up to 375 horsepower in the case of the latter, blend performance and buttery smoothness with aplomb.
Into just its second model year, the 2022 Genesis G80 lineup has been bolstered by the addition of a new Sport model. The Sport comes equipped with the more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine and standard all-wheel drive. It also looks the part thanks to a dark glossy chrome grille, a uniquely shaped front bumper, 19- or 20-inch alloys, and an exclusive color known as Cavendish Red. In the cabin, the Sport has a model-specific steering wheel, special seat quilting designs, and two dashboard garnishes. Finally, the Sport Prestige introduces rear-wheel steering, the first time the feature has ever been seen on a Genesis. This forms part of the Sport model's uniquely tuned suspension.
See trim levels and configurations:
Genesis knows that its brand identity isn't at the level of popular competitors from BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Perhaps to compensate for this uncomfortable reality, it has given the G80 rather daring lines. The full quad LED headlights and huge Crest grille are hard to miss, although not everyone will love that grille. Still, these elements, together with the curved rear roofline and signature lighting that extends onto the front fenders, add up to a sedan that's perfect for the individualist. The base model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, power-folding mirrors, Genesis logo puddle lamps, and a hands-free smart trunk lid. Above this, items like a panoramic roof, bigger 19-inch wheels, and power-closing doors are gradually added. The new Sport models have uniquely designed bumpers and dark chrome exterior trim. The pricier Sport Prestige enjoys stylish 20-inch alloys with a textured lattice design on the five spokes.
A fairly large sedan, the Genesis G80 has a length of 196.7 inches, a width of 75.8 inches excluding the mirrors, a height of 57.7 inches, and a wheelbase measuring 118.5 inches. Compared with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the G80 is nearly identical in height but is around 2.5 inches longer. Where curb weight is concerned, the lightest model comes in at 3,957 pounds, and the heaviest is 4,453 lbs.
The 2022 Genesis G80 comes in a choice of nine colors in base trim. Only Alta White doesn't cost extra, while every other shade carries a charge of $575. These are Tasmin Blue, Uyuni White, Savile Silver, Makalu Gray, Vik Black, Capri Blue, Hallasan Green, and Valencia Gold. It's a mature, classy color palette that perfectly suits the nature of the G80.
With the larger engine and Sport trim, the color palette expands to include Verbier White and Makalu Gray Matte, both of which cost $1,500. Other additions are Siberian Ice at no cost and Cavendish Red at $575. This trim does, however, miss out on Valencia Gold. Our loan car came in the more-burgundy-than-red Cavendish Red hue which showed off the lines without being ostentatious.
Two powerful turbocharged engines motivate the G80 sedan, and both have good specs. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes a decent 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. Both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations are available. Whereas the bigger 3.5-liter V6 engine could be had with RWD or AWD last year, this year it comes with AWD only. This engine delivers 375 hp and 391 lb-ft.
In both cases, the engines deliver smooth power and enough performance for snappy getaways and nerveless overtaking maneuvers. According to independent tests, the smaller engine will result in a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds, while the bigger V6 will see the G80 come in at just under five seconds for the benchmark sprint. Compared with one of the segment's stalwarts, the BMW 5 Series, the base G80 is actually quicker. However, the 540i is faster than the G80 V6. At its price, the Genesis leaves little to complain about.
The 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine starts things off with a nice and round 300 hp, along with 311 lb-ft of torque which is available from a low 1,650 rpm. Like most turbocharged four-pots, it's more effective than it is engaging. The bigger 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 elicits a nicer sound, combining a sweet induction roar and a lovely exhaust growl. At 375 hp and 391 lb-ft, it's also a lot more athletic when called on. To that end, the G80 with either engine is satisfactory, but the V6 adds exactly the right amount of swiftness. Its specialty is power in the mid-range, which makes overtaking a swift and safer affair.
Both engines are paired with a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. In Sport Plus mode, downshift speeds are quicker, but the auto 'box is just as happy under more relaxed driving conditions. The Genesis is not the best sedan in this class if driving excitement is high on your list, but its two powertrains are accomplished enough to make driving the car a pleasure.
We spent a week with the Genesis G80 3.5T Sport Prestige, which does without rear-wheel drive for the new model year. However, the AWD system can send 100 percent of its torque to the rear wheels.
Our test car arrived with the upgraded adaptive dampers - the ride is noticeably better than before - and the overall tune-up on the suspension is for the better. The G80 eats up long winding roads with panache and grip to spare, and all while not tossing passengers around. If twisting backroads are something you carve up regularly, the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF may be better, but don't underestimate the G80 for back road fun - particularly with the optional rear-wheel steering. That gives the G80 an extra dimension of stability on an open road when they're turning in phase. Below 37 mph, the wheels turn in opposite directions by up to two degrees to improve initial turn-in. The Prestige trim adds a Sport+ mode where you can use the aggressively quick shift pattern in auto mode or use the paddles for a completely manual experience.
The G80 is an easy car to drive around town and through traffic with its effortlessly smooth ride and sound-damped cabin. Around town, the low-speed rear-wheel-steering translates into a tighter turning circle. The result is the cocoon-like experience luxury buyers expect. On the freeway, it's the same story, and we're still impressed by the G80's Highway Assist feature. It's a Level 2 assist system, meaning you have to remain aware and keep your hands on the wheel, but the car will take care of the steering and adaptive cruise control. It's a huge plus when dealing with heavy traffic. With the current chip crisis looming, 2022 G80s might not be available with the system anymore, but we'd recommend shopping until you find one with it.
The Genesis G80's fuel economy numbers aren't quite as good as those of the BMW 5 Series. In 2.5-liter form, the G80 will return 23/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined with RWD and 22/30/25 mpg with AWD. The V6, meanwhile, sees those figures dip to just 17/26/20 mpg. By comparison, the RWD BMW 530i gets 25/33/28 mpg, and the six-cylinder 540i with RWD is way ahead of the G80 with its 25/32/27-mpg rating.
The 2.5-liter G80s have a 17.2-gallon gas tank, equating to a range of between 430 and 447 miles. In the case of the V6, the bigger 19.3-gallon tank will provide a range of approximately 386 miles in mixed driving conditions.
Genesis has done a beautiful job with the cabin of the G80 sedan. We are fans of the minimalist layout and clean lines, but the choice of obviously expensive materials gives the space an inviting atmosphere. There are a few oddities like the rotary shift knob, but anyone buying the car will soon adjust to using it. There are no complaints regarding space utilization, but what really impresses is the generous standard specification. As standard, the G80 comes with 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a large 14.5-inch HD navigation screen. Higher-end models add wireless device charging, a surround-view monitor, remote parking assistance, and much more.
The G80 is a five-seater, but with the usual caveat of a cramped space for whoever ends up in the center of the rear bench seat. For four people, the interior is generous with its space and comfortable for tall adults in the back. There are 38.7 inches of legroom in the back, and the coupe-like roofline gives 39.1 inches of headroom compared to the more generous 41.1 inches for driver and front passenger.
The G80 has an "Ergo Motion" feature, which is disorientating if you're not expecting it, but once you know what's happening, the three stretching modes and smart posture assist are great for avoiding a sore back on a long drive.
The base 2.5L G80 comes with a leatherette cabin in either Black, Anthracite/Beige, or Maroon Brown/Havana Brown. However, availability of each interior color will vary based on the chosen exterior color. With the Advanced package, the leatherette is available in the same colors but with a color gradation adding a more premium effect. The 2.5L model with the Prestige package comes with genuine leather upholstery in the following color choices: Maroon Brown/Dark Blue with Eucalyptus, Black with ash color gradation, Anthracite/Beige with ash color gradation, or Maroon Brown/Havana Brown with Olive ash. Once again, not every interior color scheme is compatible with every exterior color.
The V6 Sport model comes with leather as standard in Anthracite Beige, Black with Red stitching, Black/Sevilla Red, Black with Gray stitching, or Anthracite/Beige. Moving up to the Sport Prestige introduces Nappa leather upholstery in the same colors.
The base model comes with Piano Black gloss trim, making way for matte finish wood with one of the available packages. For the V6 Sport, there are alloy pedals and sport aluminum trim. This trim, together with the Sport Prestige package, adds carbon fiber trim and a microfiber suede headliner.
At 13.1 cubic feet, the G80's trunk is adequate rather than massive. Ultimately, the Audi A6 has a little more space in its trunk, but it's a close call and the Genesis won't struggle with either a week's worth of shopping or two golf bags. Disappointingly, the G80's rear seat can't be folded flat to accommodate longer or more awkwardly shaped items.
The cabin provides a number of useful storage areas for smaller items. There are the usual door pockets, cupholders front and rear, a center console storage space, front seatback map pockets, and a covered storage space for your phone.
Even the base model without any options feels like a well-specified sedan. It comes with 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, dual-zone automatic climate control, adjustable ambient lighting, and an eight-inch LCD cluster display. All models have a generous safety specification with forward collision avoidance assist, lane following assist, front/rear parking sensors, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, smart cruise control, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, and Highway Driving Assist II.
Higher up in the range, the G80 gets even more opulent. The front seats gain ventilation and 16-way power adjustment, and the rear seats receive heating too. Other features on upper models include a panoramic sunroof, power-closing doors, three-zone climate control, power rear and manual side rear window shades, wireless device charging, and a heated steering wheel. The best safety gear includes a surround-view camera system, a blind-spot view monitor, and a digital key.
On V6 models, a head-up display becomes available.
It's a bit of a stretch to reach the 14.5-inch touchscreen, but the rotary dial input control is a much more satisfactory way of controlling the system. The voice command system is competent, but not particularly encompassing yet. The infotainment system is full of the usual features but you can opt for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto instead. Surprisingly, neither of the smartphone systems are wireless yet in the G80 considering they're a regular feature on the lower-end Hyundai models. The base 12-speaker sound system sounds great, but the best way to appreciate music is with the excellent 21-speaker Lexicon system.
A superb quality and reliability rating of 86 out of 100 from J.D. Power bodes well for long-term G80 ownership, ranking it above its German rivals in this area. For a model that was only introduced for the 2021 model year, it's encouraging that there has been only one recall. Affecting the 2021 model, this issue pertained to a high-pressure fuel tube that may leak.
Along with high reliability ratings, the Genesis also comes with better warranty coverage than its German rivals. That includes a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
New Genesis G80 safety reviews are encouraging in the USA. In every crashworthiness category assessed by the IIHS, the sedan registered a maximum Good rating. However, the headlights were only rated as Acceptable. In a review of the 2021 model, the sedan attained the agency's Top Safety Pick+ rating.
At the NHTSA, the Genesis G80 car has a perfect overall safety rating of five stars.
A comprehensive system of ten airbags provides protection for all occupants in the event of an accident. The suite includes front/rear curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag, and a rare center side airbag between the front occupants to avoid them impacting each other or parts of the cabin in a collision. The usual dynamic stability control system also applies.
Standard driver-assistance features include forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist with road edge detection, lane following assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, smart cruise control with machine learning, front/rear parking sensors, intelligent speed limit assist, driver attention warning, high beam assist, rear cross-traffic alert, Highway Driving Assist II, safe exit assist, and a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines. Upper trims come with a more useful surround-view monitor as well as a blind-spot view monitor, remote smart parking assist, rear occupant alert, and rear parking collision avoidance assist. Evidently, this is a generous list of features to help the driver avoid a collision from ever happening in the first place.
There is one caveat to note. While Highway Driving Assist II is supposed to be included as standard, due to the semiconductor chip shortage, this feature may not be available for some 2022 cars.
By not going overboard on sportiness and cranking up the opulence for the new generation of G80, Genesis has created an outstanding sedan. It's a consummate all-rounder that harks back an old-school approach to detail, like the knurled aluminum knobs and the tempered glass rotary dial for controlling the infotainment. It doesn't care to compare to the sportiness of BMW's 5 Series, but Genesis has made sure it's a joy to drive for the sake of driving. It doesn't have the technical sheen of the Audi A6 but still packs in sophisticated electronics without showing off. The best comparison is with the refinement of a Mercedes E-Class, and while the top-spec straight-six is smoother on the Mercedes, Genesis still has its value proposition card to play.
The base Genesis G80 2.5T begins with an MSRP of $48,250, or $51,400 with AWD. For more power, consider the 3.5T Sport at $63,700. To access more features, the 2.5T can be upgraded with the Advanced package for another $4,600 or the Prestige package at an additional $8,900. As for the V6 Sport, it costs another $6,300 with the Prestige package. Those prices sound like quite a lot, but each package adds plenty of kit over and above the already generous standard fare.
The comparatively low starting price of the G80 can't be overstated. Consider, for instance, that the BMW 5 Series starts at $54,200 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class at an even pricier $54,950.
Genesis G80 pricing excludes a destination charge of $1,095 in the US.
The 2022 Genesis G80 is sold in two main trims, those being the 2.5T and 3.5T Sport. The 2.5T has a four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Both RWD and AWD configurations of this trim are available. The 3.5T Sport has a bigger twin-turbocharged V6 with 375 hp and 391 lb-ft. This trim is AWD only, but all G80 variants use an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.5T comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, a dual exhaust, and LED headlights. Climb inside, and the 2.5T has leatherette upholstery. The front seats are 12-way power-adjustable and heated. Other than this, the 2.5T has dual-zone automatic climate control, adjustable ambient lighting, an eight-inch LCD cluster display, and a 14.5-inch central screen. Front/rear parking sensors and forward collision warning form part of a comprehensive safety suite.
To this, the 3.5T Sport adds 19-inch wheels and sportier body styling. It also has a panoramic sunroof, power-closing doors, leather upholstery, a 16-way power-adjustable driver's seat, three-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.
Both trims can be upgraded with optional packages. These can add features like a 21-speaker Lexicon sound system, a heads-up display, and a surround-view camera system.
For $4,600, the Advanced package is the first major upgrade for 2.5T models. Outside, this package adds 19-inch wheels and a panoramic sunroof. In the cabin, it adds three-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, matte finish wood trim, and a Lexicon 21-speaker sound system. For $8,900 ($8,300 on the 2.5T AWD), the Prestige package builds on this with genuine leather upholstery and power-closing doors. That's not all, though. The Prestige also comes with a 16-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated rear seats (although these are standard on AWD models), wireless device charging, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view monitor, a blind-spot view monitor, and remote smart parking assistance.
The 3.5T Sport can be upgraded with the $6,300 Prestige package. It rides on 20-inch alloy wheels, and the seats are covered in soft Nappa leather. Coupled with a microfiber suede headliner, it's the most luxurious model in the range. Carbon fiber trim, a 12.3-inch 3D digital gauge cluster, a heads-up display, and an electronically controlled suspension with sport tuning and performance brakes are other additions at this level. For $6,800, the Prestige package comes with summer tires instead of all-season tires.
For $48,250, the base model G80 is quite a steal. There's enough power, the rear-wheel-drive dynamics are fun when giving the car a workout, and the feature set is a checklist of basic luxury features with a few extras thrown in. We would happily drive it every day, but wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people ticked the $4,600 Advanced package for the sound system, panoramic sunroof, and three-zone climate control. However, if the Prestige package is also tempting to add, you're now looking at just another $1,950 to get the 3.5T Sport rather than ticking the box for both packages.
The 3.5T Sport will be the most appealing for those that enjoy putting their foot down and going full luxury. We doubt many will be sold without the $6,300 Prestige package added. It brings a lot to the table in terms of both luxury and performance, so we suggest it makes a lot of sense to go all the way. By the time you've specced a similar BMW or Mercedes, you should realize you've saved enough for a luxury weekend break and got yourself a lot of car for the money.
The newest, second-generation Genesis G90 has already been revealed and this upcoming luxury barge is a stunner. But for now, the 2022 G90 still forms part of the first generation. Casting a substantial shadow in the full-size luxury sedan segment, it's a larger, pricier, and more feature-packed sedan than the G80. The G90 begins at $74,950 and that gets you a 3.3-liter V6 with 365 hp. However, a 5.0-liter V8 is also available. Naturally, the G90 provides more standard features like three-zone climate control, Nappa leather upholstery, a 22-way power driver's seat, and a much more sumptuous rear seat. It will waft down the road even more quietly than the G80, although the G80 is a better choice for the keener driver with its smaller dimensions and tighter body control. Between the two, we'd go for a fully loaded V6 G80, at least until the new G90 arrives at a future date.
At the other end of the size spectrum is the G70, a vehicle that directly competes with the BMW 3 Series. While the G70 is a luxurious car, it immediately feels like a step down inside. Rear passenger space is less, some materials are a bit cheaper than we'd like, and the trunk is smaller than in the G80. Then again, the G70 does start at under $38,000. It also looks great following a facelift for the 2022 model year, and you can have it with a potent 3.3-liter V6. If you don't need to carry rear-seat passengers too often, you'll appreciate the G70 for its surprisingly sporty chassis tuning. Sadly, Genesis discontinued the manual gearbox for the 2022 G70, but this is no surprise considering that the majority of customers prefer an automatic. We prefer the driving experience of the G70 but there's no denying the step up in luxury when you opt for the G80. It's the larger sedan that's our pick here.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Genesis G80: