Is the new G80 a "gamechanger?"
Following numerous teasers, spy shots, and a delayed launch due to the postponement of the 2020 New York Auto Show, the 2021 Genesis G80 has finally been revealed and it was well worth the wait. The G80 pivots from the established set of mid-size luxury sedans and moves in its own unique direction. There are very few sedans on the market quite like the new G80, which should help it compete against established models like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. All of these competitors are quite strong but we wanted to see how the latest entrant from South Korea stacks up.
Pricing for the G80 hasn't been revealed yet but if we base the numbers off of the GV80 SUV, it should be pretty competitive. Genesis prices the GV80 at $48,900 for the 2.5T RWD Standard trim and the G80 sedan should be slightly less expensive than its SUV counterpart. If Genesis is able to price the G80 at under $50,000, it will undercut the A6 ($54,900), 5 Series ($53,900), and E-Class ($54,050). Not to mention, the G80 will almost undoubtedly come more well-equipped than its European rivals and it will offer more standard power than all three of its four-cylinder competitors.
In four-cylinder form, the G80 will be more powerful than the A6 45 (248 hp), 530i (248 hp), and E 300 (255 hp) courtesy of its 2.5-liter turbocharged engine producing 304 horsepower. In six-cylinder guise, the G80's 3.5-liter, 380-hp V6 offers more grunt than the A6 55 (335 hp), 540i (335 hp), and E 450 (356 hp). This looks like a clear victory for Genesis once again but there is an arrow missing from the G80's quiver.
While the A6, 5 Series, and E-Class are all offered with high-performance RS, M, and AMG variants producing near (or over) 600 hp respectively, the G80 is capped at just 380 hp. Genesis may decide to create its own performance sub-brand similar to Hyundai's N Division in the future but at least for now, the German cars dominate the high-performance sedan segment.
The G80 does not look like any of its direct competitors. In fact, the only car we think it closely resembles is the first-generation Mercedes CLS. Genesis has opted for a four-door-coupe design for the new G80, which should help differentiate it from the pack. Likewise, Genesis has created a new family grille design that has been taken from the larger G90. The car features a Parabolic Line, which begins at the headlights and extends to the rear. We think the design is eye-catching for sure and will turn heads when it appears on the road.
Much like the exterior, Genesis has taken the best elements from its competitors and mashed them together, forming one of the most elegant cabins on the market. Genesis hasn't announced which interior color and trim options will be offered stateside but the blue leather and multiple open-pore wood trims shown in the initial press photos looks stunning.
Like the GV80, the G80's cabin features high-resolution digital gauges, a large, 14.5-inch infotainment system, and beautifully knurled metal controls. Some have objected to the G80's unique steering wheel design but we think it looks like a thicker copycat of the Audi A8's wheel design - and that isn't a bad thing.
Based on all of the factors we can measure before driving the car, the Genesis G80 looks like it could quickly rise to the top of our mid-size luxury sedan rankings. It should be less expensive and more well-equipped than its Europeans rivals and we absolutely love the exterior styling and interior layout. More information should be revealed later this year but the G80 remains one of the cars we are most looking forward to driving.