Hyundai is making a concerted effort to establish Genesis as its luxury division. Thus, the new Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport sedan I tested with all-wheel drive (AWD) didn’t have the Hyundai name on it. Rather, it had a prominent Bentley style “Genesis” badge near its grille and the Genesis name throughout.
The G80 is a lot of car for the money. But its the large customized grille up front and four chromed exhaust tips in back likely will be among features that will draw folks to the boldly styled 2018 Hyundai Genesis G80 3.3T Sport. You can get the G80 with rear-wheel drive for $55,250, while my Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport test car listed at $57,750. Those prices exclude a $975 freight charge.
Genesis says it comes with the “most comprehensive array of standard safety technology in the mid-size luxury vehicle class.” Safety items include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, front/rear parking sensors and a multi-view camera. The G80 gets a five star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration out of a possible five stars.
A larger, costlier longer-wheelbase G90 sedan also is offered in the Genesis lineup, but the G80 3.3T Sport is the hot ticket with its silky smooth twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 engine. Even most V-8 fans would likely approve of it.
The Genesis G80 Sport sure looks the part. Exterior styling features a dark chrome hexagonal front grille with a unique cross-hatch design and copper accents throughout the vehicle. There’s also a sport-design front fascia that integrates a honeycomb lower front air dam and functional side air intakes that channel air around the wheels for improved aerodynamics. The front end is pretty low, but is high enough to clear most parking stops.
The Genesis twin-turbo engine generates 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. There’s no turbo lag with this direct-injected engine, which makes the G80 quite fast. I found myself doing 80 m.p.h. in practically no time when I was doing a routine 65-75 m.p.h. highway pass.
The engine works with a smooth, quick-witted eight-speed automatic transmission with manual gear selection via easily used paddle shifters. The transmission’s features include an enhanced torque converter lock-up strategy that lets that converter lock up the clutch between gears two and eight for more spirited performance during aggressive driving. An overdrive lock-up torque converter allows higher fuel economy at freeway speeds and improved acceleration.
However, the separate console “Park” button seems superfluous. To put the G80 in electronic park mode, you move the console transmission lever to “Neutral” and then push the “Park” button.
Estimated fuel economy for my test car was 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on highways. That seems OK for such a fast AWD car that weighs approximately 4,500 pounds with rear-drive and 4,700 pounds with all-wheel drive. Premium fuel is recommended for the best performance.
Drive modes can be selected by pushing console buttons marked Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow. Each drive mode reconfigures throttle responsiveness, transmission mapping, stability control, suspension and steering.
I found that the Sport mode really works well, altering transmission, throttle, steering and the traction control system, while stiffening the suspension for maximum all-out performance. However, it made the car’s quick but rather heavy steering even heavier. Eco and Normal modes were fine most of the time.
Handling was quite good, even out of Sport mode. There are 19-inch wheels wearing low-profile performance tires, and the suspension comfortably handles rough roads. There’s a rigid chassis, and a rear multi-link suspension with optimized five-link geometry and increased suspension travel for a good range of dynamic performance and ride comfort.
The brake pedal is easily modulated but must be pressed firmly for the best stops from the anti-lock brakes, which have electronic brake force distribution.
The light “”H-Trac” AWD system causes torque to be seamlessly and quickly routed to the front wheels for improved stability on slippery roads. It allows for a higher torque distribution range by offering a dual-sport mode linked to an “Intelligent Drive Mode.”
The inner-lined hood glides open on twin struts to reveal an engine set way back for good weight distribution. There’s additional bracing in the engine compartment for more body rigidity.
Comfort and Convenience
The church-quiet interior is spacious, despite a large front center console. The trunk also is very roomy and has a low, wide opening and an automatic opening and closing feature. However, rear seat backs don’t flip forward for more cargo room. Doors open especially wide, and there are many cabin storage areas.
The car is loaded with comfort and convenience luxury car features, including premium leather seating surfaces, supportive power heated and ventilated front sport seats with many power adjustments, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, dual automatic temperature controls, tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, genuine carbon fiber trim and an engine start/stop button.
A navigation system and 17-speaker Lexicon surround sound audio system operation can be accessed through the 9.2-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. I’m not a fan of touch screens because they take eyes off the road and some are overly complicated. This screen was easy to use, but I still appreciated the climate control system’s manual controls.
For the most part, my test 2018 G80 AWD 3.3T Sport qualifies as a genuine sports sedan that costs less than some rivals.