2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport essentials: Not just a contender


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What is it: The 2018 Genesis G80 is a midsize luxury sport sedan ready to take on the big boys — at least from Japan, if not Germany. The Sport model adds more aggressive styling touches inside and out. It comes standard with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking and driver attention alert. A 360-degree multiview camera system is optional.

Key Competitors: Lexus ES, BMW 5-Series, Lincoln MKZ

Base Price: $58,725 As-Tested Price: $58,725

Full Review: 2018 Genesis G80 Sport first drive

Highlights: The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is only offered with a 365-hp, 376-lb-ft twin-turbo V6, in either rear- or all-wheel-drive guise. Sport versions get copper trim, Genesis-branded brake calipers, dark taillight trim and quad-tipped exhaust.

Our Opinion: They’re doing it — Hyundai is making a run at the champs with the Genesis brand, and this G80 Sport sedan should put the established players on notice. It’s smooth, it’s handsome and it’s powerful.

The late Equus might look a bit dated, and slightly derivative now, but I think car historians will look back on the Korean company’s first shot at world-class luxury as a turning point. The full-sizer was very good, perhaps great considering its price was well under the BMWs and Mercedes of the world. The Genesis-branded G90 is even better, and this G80, with its slick copper accents, tops them all. It’s a BMW 5-Series competitor that manages to feel fresh and cutting edge in a generally boring segment.

The 365-hp twin-turbo six is perfectly suited for this 4,674-pound sedan. It takes off and shifts smoothly no matter how far your foot is pressed into the throttle. It makes for a deep growl at redline but the paddle shifters are almost superfluous — they don’t really grab gears any faster. Just keep it in auto, und sport.

Like the G90, the G80’s suspension soaks up almost all the harshness of Detroit roads, but it also manages not to roll over in hard turns. The steering at speed is weighty, but when stopped there’s a few inches of play on center. It was weird, not necessarily bad-weird, but chalk it up to the electric power steering system.

Lastly, Kia and Hyundai have been killing it with their infotainment for a while now and I just want to reiterate that it still works flawlessly. The touchscreen is good, everything kicks on instantly and just connects to whatever you plug in. CarPlay, Android Auto, the whole deal.

Looking at the prices now, the base G80 is only $42,000. The E-Class and 5-Series start in the mid-$50s. The AWD Sport G80 is a little more expensive at $58K, but it only just crests the prices of those mid-trim luxury giants. And you’d have to get into an M or AMG version to top the G80 Sport in power.

If one is looking for a luxury sport sedan, this G80 must be test-driven. Screw whatever badge loyalty you may or may not have.

–Jake Lingeman, road test editor

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $58,725

As Tested Price: $58,725

Powertrain: 3.3-liter DOHC turbocharged V6, AWD, eight-speed automatic

Output: 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 376 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,674 lb

Fuel Economy: 17/24/20 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Options: None

Pros: Handsome from any angle, powerful with a deep engine growl

Cons: Paddle shifters are superfluous