2018 Genesis G80 Sport
A lot of car for the money
- 박재승 (firstname.lastname@example.org) --
- 21 Nov 2017
By James Park
What’s a Genesis?
Not a small number of Canadian consumers still ask this question and you have to patiently explain to them that it’s neither the first book of the Bible, nor the English progressive rock band from the Seventies.
It is the stand-alone luxury brand from… wait for it… Hyundai! Hyundai?
Yes, we understand the confusion. The Korean brand has long been associated with comparatively inexpensive line of economy cars for the last several decades and few of us still remember – not fondly – the Ponies and Stellars that waded onto the Canadian shore in the early Eighties.
Fortunately for Hyundai, the quality of its automobiles has quickly and steadily improved over the years and now, I believe the majority of X-gens and Millennials do not necessarily regard a luxury car from Hyundai as an oxymoron.
Still, go to a boutique Genesis dealer or search the car inside and out and you’d be hard-pressed to find the word ‘Hyundai’ anywhere. I’m not sure this is really necessary anymore. Hyundai no longer needs to feel apologetic about offering more expensive cars – as long as they deliver what they promise.
The newly launched Genesis brand is slowly filling up with impressively competitive lines of sedans. Number of different vehicles are in the pipeline but for now, the G90 is biggest and the most expensive top-of-the-line product. The MSRP starts at $84,000 for the 3.3 litre twin-turbo V6 and $87,000 for the optional 5.0 liter V8. But, considering the long list of standard equipments – there are no options, in fact – the car is a genuine bargain compared to similarly decked out Teutonic rivals.
Another model soon to join the family is the much anticipated G70. Sharing the same platform as the very well received Kia Stinger, the G70 is smaller and more athletic challenger poised to slap the faces of BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 with the high-strength steel gauntlet. Early next year is the arrival date for the G70.
That leaves the Genesis G80 in a quiet corner, forgotten and unappreciated. This is a shame, because having driven it for a week, this writer can say with confidence the car deserves far more attention than it is currently getting.
First of all, the G80 has already proven its mettle. Making its debut as the ‘Genesis Sedan’ in 2009 the rear-wheel-drive mid-size sedan immediately gathered up an armload of accolades including the ‘North American Car of the Year,’ followed by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s ‘Canadian Car of the Year.’
2014 saw the unveiling of all-new second-generation Genesis Sedan with more European styling and equipped with much appreciated AWD system – developed in fact, by Magna, the Canadian auto parts giant.
The creation of the independent Genesis brand has compelled the name change from Genesis Sedan to G80. The car also receives mid-term refresh that tweaks up the front grill but leaves the rest of car pretty much untouched.
New to the lineup is the G80 Sport featuring even more handsomely aggressive front end and sportier styling cues. It also hijacks the 3.3 litre direct-injected and twin-turbocharged V6 from the G90’s parts bin.
This force-fed six-cylinders pump out 365 horses and an impressive 376 lb-ft of twist, way ahead of the base engine – the normal-breathing 3.8 litre V6 (311 hp/293 lb-ft). Furthermore, the turbo’s torque numbers almost match that of the 5.0 litre V8 (420/383).
All engines are mated to the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. In the case G80 Sport, it accelerates with confidence and thanks to the 50 kg weight reduction, feels faster than the G90 I drove earlier this year with the same engine.
Nonetheless, there’s no getting around the fact the G80 Sport still tips the scale at a hefty 2,120 kg (4,673 lb), heavier than both the AWD equipped 5 Series and the E-Class. A starvation diet to reduce about 500 pounds would go a long way to enhance the G80’s 0-to-100 time as well as its handling characteristics. But for Hyundai, this would not make any economic sense. So, at least personally, the anticipation for the G70 only gets greater.
Still, on the whole, the G80 Sport is not a bad handling car. It is relatively light on its feet and it goes around fast corners without too much fuss. The steering is accurate, if not the most communicative. A bit of body-roll is present, but at the end of the day, this car is not really a sports sedan, even with ‘Sport’ in its name.
As it is, a luxury family sedan with a dash of sporting flair, the G80 Sport is more than adequately powerful, quiet, sophisticated and comfortable long-distance cruiser that can compete head to head with the German and the Japanese rivals.
The Sport does have firmer suspension than the others in the lineup, but in no way the car’s ride suffers as the result.
Thanks to its size, the rear seat passengers enjoy spacious cabin with room to stretch their legs. The interior volume is greater than the 5 Series or the E-Class. It also seems to be well put together. The heated and cooled leather seats and other soft materials would not look out of place in much more expensive cars than the G80 Sport’s $62,000.
The price includes everything from the excellent Lexicon premium audio to the plethora of electronic nannies to help the driver safely operate the vehicle. Again, the car’s value-for-price quotient is unmatched by the German rivals.
The G80 Sport is a lot of car for the money. It’ll serve well the master who has high enough self-esteem not to be concerned with surrounding her or himself with things that cost more just because of the name-value alone. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2018 Genesis G80 Sport
Engine: 3.3 litre turbo V6
Power: 365 hp/376 lb-ft
Transmission: 8 spd auto
Fuel: 13.8 litres per 100km (city), 9.7 litres (highway)
Best: better-looking front end, value for price
Worst: a little too heavy
Competition: Lexus GS, Acura TLX, BMW 5 Series, M-B E-Class
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