2020 Genesis G80

2020 Genesis G80 Review: The Undercover Exec

by Michael Butler

In the world of the executive sedan, Genesis is one of the new kids on the block, making a name for itself in a segment of the motoring world that has been dominated by established automakers from Germany, Japan, and local competitors; but, it also finds itself in a period of time where luxury SUVs rule the roost. The Genesis has met these roadblocks head-on by offering inoffensive looking executive sedans that do everything its rivals do, but at a lower price, and with more features listed on the brochure. The G80 is Genesis' mid-size offering and slots in between the compact G70 and full-size G90. 2020 models don't see much in terms of updates, but the recipe is already there; three engine choices, masses of standard features, and an asking price that's almost too good to be true. We love the stealthy performance offered by the twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 version, and based on what we've seen, the G80 deserves a second look.

Read in this review:

2020 Genesis G80 Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 G80?

The new decade brings with it no major changes to the Genesis G80 lineup. What we do know is that an all-new model is on the horizon - a camouflaged 2021 model has been spotted in the wild. We'll also be saying goodbye to the naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine in the near future. The 2020 G80 offers a lot of car for the price and is still a good purchase despite being close to the end of its life.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Silky ride quality
  • Premium interior
  • Well priced against the competition
  • Headroom feels a bit snug
  • Outward visibility isn't the greatest
  • Typically numb steering feel
  • Fixed rear seats

G80 Exterior

The Genesis G80 borrows a lot of European styling when it comes to the exterior, and we think it looks rather good in an understated sort of way. The side profile of the G80 resembles a combination of older generation Mercedes-Benz and BMWs, but the gaping front grille can only be Genesis. One of the G80's biggest drawcards is its long list of standard features, and the exterior plays host to a number of them: in base form, you get 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing window wipers and even a hands-free smart trunk with auto open/close. The 3.3T Sport includes features found in the available Ultimate package, which means you get ventilated rear disk brakes, LED headlights with low beam assist, LED fog lights electronically controlled suspension and quad exhaust tips. The 5.0 Ultimate receives a set of unique 19-inch wheels and illuminated door sill plates.

2020 Genesis G80 Front View Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Rear View Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Rear View 1 Genesis
See All 2020 Genesis G80 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The G80 sits in between the G70 and G90 (simple right?), and its dimensions follow suite: its larger than the G70 and smaller than the G90. The G80 rolls on a lengthy 118.5-inch wheelbase and measures 196.5 inches in total length. Excluding the side mirrors, the G80 is 74.4 inches wide and sits 58.3 inches off the ground. RWD models have a ground clearance figure of 5.3 inches, but AWD models get only 5.1 inches. Being a sizable car packed with lots of features means the G80 is rather hefty: the 3.8-liter car weighs in at 4,195 pounds and is the lightest of the bunch. The 3.3T comes in at 4,519 lbs in RWD guise, and the 5.0-liter car takes the cake with a curb weight of 4,674 lbs in AWD spec.

Exterior Colors

Genesis is determined to elevate their brand up to classic premium brands such as BMW, and one way in which they are doing this is by styling their cars in a Euro-friendly way which will appeal to a much broader market. The exterior color palette goes hand in hand with this drive for premium status. Base model cars are available in exotically named colors such as Uyuni White and Himalayan Gray. None of the available colors shout "look at me," which suits the G80's persona perfectly. If you want something a bit louder, the 3.3T Sport is offered in Havana Red which goes well with its sportier exterior design. If we had our way, we'd get one in Himalayan Gray.

  • Vik Black
  • Uyuni White
  • Siberian Ice
  • Havana Red
  • Mallorca Blue
  • Adriatic Blue
  • Savile Silver
  • Himalayan Gray

G80 Performance

The overarching experience you take from driving any of the three engine variants is one of smoothness and refined power delivery: the G80 is meant to be an executive sedan, and the way in which it delivers its power should follow suit. It is clear that Genesis prefers linear acceleration, and capable but comfortable handling above all-out performance, and that is exactly what customers have come to expect from these cars. Around town, the base model G80 is competent enough but needs to be pushed to really get going, which compromises the overall refined feeling of the rest of the car. The 3.3T is, without a doubt, the most sporty feeling car in the range, thanks to its good low down torque, and the 5.0 V8 is the most refined option. Nail the launch, and the 3.3T car will hit sixty in the low five-second range, according to independent test results - pretty impressive for such an unassuming car.

2020 Genesis G80 Front View 1 Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Rear View 2 Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 3.8L V6 Engine Genesis

Engine and Transmission

For 2020, buyers are presented with three engine options and a single transmission that sends power to either the rear or all four wheels. Base model cars are powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter V6, which produces 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque. The 3.8-liter engine only makes real power high up in the rev range, which makes it feel unrefined and strained. Next up is the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. This motor is our pick of the bunch for the simple reason that its 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque is so easily accessible thanks to a serious low-down punch of torque and strong top-end pulling power. This is the engine to go for if you appreciate a more dynamic driving experience. The most powerful engine in the lineup is the 5.0-liter V8, which stomps out 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The V8 is the most refined engine on offer for the G80, but suffers from the same issue as the 3.8-liter V6, and it really needs to be strung out to get the most out of it. The eight-speed auto transmission is excellent at adapting to the different dynamics posed by each engine and changes gears with a beautiful imperceptibility.

  • Engines
    3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 3.8-liter V6 Gas, 5.0-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

There's no mistaking the 2020 Genesis G80 for anything other than a luxury executive sedan. The electronically controlled suspension is perfectly set up for a comfortable driving experience, even when turned up to its stiffest setting. The ride can best be described as relaxing, exactly what you want in this class, and low speed crawling and highway cruising alike are done with dignified grace. As with most of its competitors, the G80's electrically assisted steering feels light and doesn't convey a massive amount of feedback, but it communicates enough to give the driver a sense of assurance, especially in AWD configuration. While comfort is the keyword here, the G80 can do corners without complaint, but there's no hiding its curb weight, and AWD cars will progressively slide into understeer when entering corners too fast. The Genesis G80 is in its element cruising around town in its most comfortable suspension setting.

G80 Gas Mileage

We'd never expect the 4,000-pounds-plus Genesis G80 to deliver amazing gas mileage, and it turns out that it doesn't: the most fuel-efficient trim in the range is the RWD 3.8-liter V6, which will return an EPA rated 18/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined. This figure drops to 18/24/20 mpg for the AWD car. The 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 car surprised us with a respectable consumption figure of 17/25/20 mpg in RWD guise, and 18/24/20 mpg in AWD configuration. Naturally, the 5.0-liter V8 will deliver the worst gas mileage figures out of the group: RWD models will see 16/24/19 mpg, dropping to 15/23/18 mpg for AWD cars. All G80 variants share the same 20.3-gallon fuel tank, which means the 2020 Genesis G80 will reach between 365 and 426 miles before needing a top-up.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    20.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 18/26 mpg
* 2020 Genesis G80 3.8L RWD

G80 Interior

The interior of the 2020 Genesis G80 mimics the restrained European styling of the exterior, with clean lines and a clearly defined dashboard layout which comes together to offer a rich experience that wouldn't seem out of place on its Euro rivals. Stepping into a base model G80 will have you believe that you're in something in a much higher price range; basics such as keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink are present, but you also get 12-way power-adjustable heated leather seats with four-way lumbar support, and integrated memory for driver's seat, side mirrors and steering column. Other interior features on the base model include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power-tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and an electronic parking brake. 5.0 Ultimate and 3.3T Sport models add a surround-view monitor, a power tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, wireless charging pad as well as ventilated front and heated rear seats as well as a power rear sunshade. On top of that, Ultimate package features such as Nappa-leather seats and a head-up display are thrown in to sweeten the deal even further.

2020 Genesis G80 Dashboard Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Front Seats Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Shifter Genesis
See All 2020 Genesis G80 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Maximizing interior space is the name of the game when it comes to the executive sedan class. Owners not only expect good front-seat space, but look for ample room in the rear when driving around vice presidents of medium-sized companies across America. This concept seems to have been lost on the G80, which fails to impress in terms of headroom, and legroom space is far too biased to front-seat passengers. Headroom measurements come in at 39.4/38.2 inches front/rear, respectively. Front-seat legroom is a massive 45.7 inches, but it loses over ten inches in the rear where it offers just 35 inches. Shoulder room is a decent 58.3/57.1 inches front to rear, and taller passengers will feel the squeeze when sitting in the back.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

A premium executive interior deserves premium executive materials, and that's exactly what you get in the 2020 Genesis G80. Base model cars come with standard leather seats in your choice of beige or gray, and the steering wheel and shift knob also get the leather treatment. The Ultimate package comes standard on 5.0 Ultimate and 3.3T Sport cars and includes Nappa leather seating surfaces in ivory, beige, brown and gray leather, as well as matte-finish wood and aluminum inserts. The 5.0 Ultimate and 3.3T Sport get microfiber suede-covered headliner and pillars. The 3.3T, with its sporty exterior, receives a splash of carbon-fiber inside the cabin, and its sport bucket seats get copper contrast stitching.

G80 Trunk and Cargo Space

The expansive exterior dimensions of the Genesis G80 don't translate to the trunk and overall cargo capacity of this executive sedan, and most of its main rivals offer more space. What you do get is 15.3 cubic feet of space, which is easily accessible thanks to an auto-open trunk lid and square opening. You'll be able to fit approximately three average suitcases full of bitcoin in the back, but much to our dismay, the rear seats are fixed, so longer items with have to be shipped some other way. Inside the G80, there's a center armrest with storage bin upfront, reasonably sized door pockets, a glovebox, as well as a small storage nook next to the shift knob. Backseat passengers get a center armrest with dual cupholders and seatback pockets.

2020 Genesis G80 Rear Row Seats Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Front View 2 Genesis
2020 Genesis G80 Rear View 3 Genesis
  • Trunk Volume
    15.3 ft³

G80 Infotainment and Features

Features

Sure the G80 is a capable cruiser and looks quite good, but it's strongest selling point will be its long list of features. Even in base form, Genesis has managed to squeeze a lot into the G80. Exterior features such as rain-sensing window wipers, LED daytime running lights, and a hands-free smart trunk with auto open are a pleasure to live with. Still, it's inside the cabin where the base model impresses the most. Heated 12-way power-adjustable front seats with driver memory function come wrapped in leather, and you also get dual-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. The base model also shares driver assistance features, such as smart cruise control with stop and go, with the rest of the range. 3.3T Sport and 5.0 Ultimate models include full LED headlights with low beam assist, Nappa leather seats, a power trunk lid, and a head-up display system, while 3.3T Sport models get unique sport bucket seats with copper cross-stitching and alloy pedals.

Infotainment

The standard eight-inch touchscreen display fits snugly within the dashboard and offers an intuitive user experience. Standard infotainment features offered across the range include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth streaming with voice calling and steering wheel-mounted controls, dual USB ports, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio and a seven-speaker audio system. There are two USB ports located in the front of the car. Most will be happy living with this setup; it can do everything a modern system is supposed to do, but obviously, Genesis offers a more impressive system. 3.3T Sport and 5.0 Ultimate models come standard with a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen display with integrated navigation and driver info system, as well as a full-color head-up display. Not only is there a bigger screen, but the sound system is completely transformed by a Lexicon 17-speaker QuantumLogic surround sound system with Clari-Fi music restoration technology, which churns out some seriously clean bass notes and crisp sound quality in general.

G80 Problems and Reliability

Genesis has come along way in terms of build quality and reliability. J.D. Power has not yet scored the 2020 model, but rated the 2019 model at a consumer verified 79 out of 100, which is not too bad at all. According to the NHTSA, the Genesis G80 was last recalled back in 2018 for issues ranging from incorrectly bonded front and rear glass to possible oil leaks from the turbo oil supply line on 3.3T models. There were no recalls issued for 2019 or for 2020 so far. Genesis will cover your new G80 with an impressive five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a ten-year/100,000 drivetrain warranty, a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance plan, as well as five-years of roadside assistance.

G80 Safety

You'd probably be safer inside your Genesis G80 than in your own home. The 2020 G80 is one of the safest cars in its class which is saying something when you consider that it goes up against cars from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, some of the most safety orientated manufacturers in the business. The NHTSA gave the 2020 G80 a full five out of five stars, and the IIHS was so impressed with its performance that it bestowed the G80 with its greatest honor; the Top Safety Pick+ award. The G80's smaller sibling, the G70, also won a Top Safety Pick+ award. These results boil down to an impressive list of active driver assistance features that are standard across the entire range.

Key Safety Features

All cars in the G80 family share the consignment of safety features. In base trim, you get basics such as vehicle stability management and traction control, hill start and brake assist, as well as a nine-airbag safety system. Where the real magic lies is in the driver assistance category: all G80 cars get forward collision-avoidance with pedestrian control, lane keep assist, blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic assist, smart cruise control, low beam assist and driver attention warning. That's quite a mouthful, but it's the sole reason the G80 is as safe as it is. 3.3T and 5.0 Ultimate trim cars also receive Full LED headlights with low beam assist and a full-color head-up display.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Genesis G80 a good car?

Genesis has cracked it with the G80; it offers so much and gets so much right that it's a wonder why they don't sell more of these. Sure the executive sedan market has taken a big dip in recent years, but a car like the G80 deserves its fair share of sales. Genesis has played it safe in terms of the G80's exterior and interior design, which isn't a bad thing as it broadens the car's appeal, but that also means that it lacks a certain amount of soul when compared to some of the more unique offerings on the market. For the price of a new G80, you get an astonishing amount of features and a car that is dedicated to offering a relaxing and comfortable drive over dynamic handling and cornering ability - which suits the G80 perfectly. Its wide range of engines offers something for everyone, but the 3.3-liter twin-turbo engine is the clear standout. Overall, the G80 looks good, is comfortable to drive, and its got a plush interior stacked with features - and, did we mention it's safer than most cars on the road? The Genesis G80 is a hidden treasure, and in 3.3T guise is a serious stealth bomber.

What's the Price of the 2020 Genesis G80?

There are a few key areas in which the Genesis G80 shines, and the price is one of them; Genesis has managed to put together an impressively capable executive sedan that's absolutely packed with features for not a lot of money. A BMW 5 Series equivalent to the base model in terms of performance will set you back over $11,350 more. For 2020 the base model fitted with the 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 starts off with an MSRP of $42,550. The dynamic 3.3T Sport goes for $55,750, and the big V8 will set you back $57,500. These prices do not include a destination fee of $995, and on the 3.3T and 5.0 Ultimate also include the 3.8 Ultimate optional package which adds features such as Nappa leather seats, a 9.2-inch infotainment system, and a full-color head-up display. The top-spec 5.0 Ultimate is fully kitted, so you won't see the price rise by much when fitting accessories.

2020 Genesis G80 Models

Genesis offers the 2020 G80 in three trim levels, which are simply broken down into the three engine variants, but a number of optional packages differentiate the lineup further. The base model is powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter V6, which sends power to the rear or all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model offers its owner standard safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection and rear cross-traffic assistance. The exterior features LED daytime running lights and rain-sensing window wipers. Inside the cabin, there's dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable leather seats, and an eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, amongst other tech and comfort features. 5.0 Ultimate cars get the available 3.8 Ultimate package as standard, which includes full LED headlights with low beam assist, Nappa leather seats, and a 17-speaker premium Lexicon sound system. The 3.3T Sport model also gets the 3.8 Ultimate package as standard, but also gets sporty front and rear bumpers, electronically controlled suspension, carbon-fiber interior trim, and sport bucket seats.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.8L
3.8-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$42,550
3.3T Sport
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$55,750
5.0L Ultimate
5.0-liter V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$57,500
See All 2020 Genesis G80 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Genesis offers the 3.8-liter base model in standard trim and offers two equipment packages, the 3.8 Sport and 3.8 Ultimate package. The 3.8 Sport package will set you back $5,700 and adds a host of features including front and rear sports bumpers, sports pedals and steering wheel, a surround-view monitor, a power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, as well as a Lexicon 14-speaker audio system and a wireless charging pad, with much more unmentioned. The 3.8 Ultimate package turns the base model into a seriously premium machine: for $9,950 you get Nappa leather seats, a head-up display, 9.2-inch infotainment display with navigation, a Lexicon 17-speaker sound system, as well as LED foglights, matte-finish wood, and aluminum trim, and a heated steering wheel amongst other goodies. 3.3T Sport and 5.0 Ultimate cars get the 3.8 Ultimate package as standard, so in terms of optional extras, there's nothing much on offer except a few accessories such as a $150 cargo tray or a $45 first-aid kit.

What Genesis G80 Model Should I Buy?

As with every car purchasing decision, it all boils down to what you need out of a car. If you're not fussed with sub-five-second zero to sixty sprint times or Nappa leather seats, then the base model, which offers a lot, will suit you just fine. If you've got a bit of blood left in you, then we would suggest going straight for the 3.3T Sport. The twin-turbocharged G80 might be down on power relative to the 5.0 Ultimate, but it delivers its power in a much more aggressive manner, and spices up the reserved exterior design with some sporty bumpers and bits. The 3.3T Sport includes all the stuff you get from the 3.8 Ultimate package such as Nappa leather seats, a full-color head-up display, and a 17-speaker Lexicon sound system, but adds performance-enhancing features such as ventilated rear disk brakes, electronically adjustable suspension, and sport front seats. The 3.3T Sport goes for $55,750 and is worth every cent.

2020 Genesis G80 Comparisons

Genesis G70 CarBuzz
Genesis G90 Genesis

2020 Genesis G80 vs Genesis G70

Genesis has made it very easy to navigate their executive sedan range of cars: the G70 is their compact exec offering, while the G80 naturally sits above it as their mid-size offering. Whereas the G80 gets three engine options, including a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8, the G70 is exclusively available with forced-induction options. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces a healthy 252 hp (255 hp when equipped with the manual transmission) and 260 lb-ft of torque, but the star of the show is the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 engine which it shares with the G80. The G70 fitted with the 2.0T engine will manage 20/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined. On the road, the G70, with its lower curb weight, is dynamically more enjoyable to drive, but is just as comfortable. The obvious differences come in when you compare size and dimensions; the G70 can't match the G80 for interior space, although it's not far off, and the G80 gets almost five cubic feet of extra trunk space. We suggest getting the G70 if you're not bothered by the smaller trunk size and enjoy a bit of a drive.

See Genesis G70 Review

2020 Genesis G80 vs Genesis G90

The G90 is a full-sized executive sedan that pulls out all the stops and sits directly above the G80 in the Genesis executive sedan lineup. The G80 and 90 shares both the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 and naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engines, as well as an eight-speed auto transmission. Despite being visually much larger, the G90 shares a number of dimension measurements with the smaller G80; both cars offer around 15.5 cubic feet of trunk space and around 46 inches of front legroom. The G90 is most certainly the more spacious car overall, but not by as much as you'd think. Genesis has thrown its entire arsenal of tech features at the G90, and it is definitely noticeable inside the cabin where you get luxury features such as rear door curtains, an EMC inside rearview mirror, and a massive 12.3-inch color TFT panoramic infotainment display. It's clear then: get the G80 if you're planning on doing the driving, or get the G90 if you're sitting in the back.

See Genesis G90 Review

Genesis G80 Popular Comparisons

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