2018 Genesis G80 Sport AWD - A True Sport Sedan?
When I drove the flagship G90 early last year, I walked away thoroughly impressed with the incredible level of refinement. However, I was actually waiting for the G80 Sport. I preferred the styling on the smaller Genesis and loved the styling cues exclusive to the Sport. The styling suggested presence and authority. Throughout my week of testing, I received multiple compliments from strangers, all of whom had no idea what it was. However, I kept wondering if the G80 Sport was worthy of that “sport” designation.
The Sport is only available with a 3.3 liter twin-turbo V6 that puts out 365hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. It produces great torque down low and is lighter than the more powerful V8. This explains how the G80 Sport sprints to 60 mph quicker than the V8. The sprint to 60 mph is over in five seconds. It has minimal turbo lag and sounds great when you rev it out, even if some of the noise is being piped through the speakers. It is a genuinely great engine. The overall handling is still on the softer side. Body roll is well controlled but it is far from flat through the corners. The steering is smooth, light, but lacking in feel and accuracy. It’s also not linear. I can’t quite tell if it’s just calibrated poorly or if it’s due to the AWD system but the steering changes weight mid corner as you pass the quarter turn mark under part throttle. It makes smooth steering input challenging at times. The brakes don’t have much bite at the top of the pedal but do stop the car well. The transmission is quick. 8 speeds and it works through them like a dual-clutch which is very impressive for a torque-converter automatic. Overall, there’s still a sense of float with the G80 Sport. There’s a sense of detachment from the driving process. In fairness, BMW’s of late have started going down this path as well. The ride is well refined even if there are occasionally some sharp bumps that make it into the cabin. The driving experience is very pleasant, I’m personally a fan. I just don’t find it sporty, per se.
The G80 Sport comes fully loaded. All features on the car such as Apple CarPlay, 360 degree bird’s eye view, blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, all come standard. The only option is rear or all wheel drive. All wheel drive will add the heated steering wheel, crucial for depressing cold winter days in Seattle. There’s also a Lexicon 17-Speaker sound system with great volume but lacking fullness to the sound. The low and mids could be cleaner and the high end is a little overpowering. The Active Lane Keep Assist is appropriately named as it does not keep you in the center of the lane, it merely assists you so that you don’t have to constantly adjust the steering wheel on long freeway trips. It is not even close to a semi-autonomous cruise control system that other brands are so keen on implementing. I’m personally okay with this since those supposedly more advanced systems often give drivers a false sense of confidence. A worthy side note: all Genesis vehicles come with three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary Service Valet. This means that the dealership will drop off a loaner vehicle and pick up yours so you never have to leave your house to have your vehicle serviced. Now that, is the full luxury experience.
I always feel at home inside a Genesis. The interior is top notch. Great materials all around with great fit and finish as well. There is such a sense of quality in the G80. The 16-way power driver’s seat is lined with two tone leather in our test car. They invite you to sink and breathe a sigh of relief. The cabin is well insulated with double paned windows and exceptional sound dampening, isolating you from the outside world. The full panoramic sunroof illuminates the cabin and gives a sense of space and moderness. Why the the G80’s big brother, the G90, only has a traditional sunroof is beyond me.
The exterior styling is classy and beautiful with striking presence. The standard G80 looks good but the Sport takes it to the next level. It adds blacked out headlights and smoked taillights. Copper trim and smoked chrome trim throughout the body panels. The gun metal wheels are some of the prettiest on any production luxury vehicle on sale today. I’d choose the G80 Sport over the competition on styling alone.
To sum it up, I’d describe the Genesis G80 Sport as follows. It’s a highly refined luxury sedan with competent handling, a huge list of standard equipment, and a certain underdog appeal. You take pride in driving something a little less common than the sea of BMW’s, Mercedes’s and Audi’s. There’s something about the brand, being new, that really tugs at you to give them a try. If you’re in the market for a mid-size luxury sedan, the G80 Sport is definitely worth a look.
Beautiful Interior/Built Quality
Mediocre Sound System
Specs: Engine: 3.3L DOHC 24-Valve V6 Drivetrain: AWD
Power: 365hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Comb.): 17/24/20 MPG (AWD) Wheelbase: 118.5 in Curb Weight: 4,674 lbs Base Price: $42,725 Price as Tested: $58,725