2021 Genesis G80 Review
This is the Genesis G80, the newest and most luxurious sedan to come out of Korea, and with a price tag of just 269,000 Dirhams, it is bound to impress you. In fact, it is so good that it makes competitors like the Cadillac CT5, Lexus GS, and Lincoln Continental feel like they belong to a previous era. Let’s jump right in and let me show you why.
Now before I tell you about the engine and how the G80 drives, let me give you a short brief about the brand. In the same way that Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division and Lincoln is Ford’s luxury division, Genesis is Hyundai’s luxury division and so there are a few elements shared between both brands. Being a relatively new brand wanting to compete in the luxury car space, Genesis hasn’t held back with the G80 and its efforts have definitely paid off.
Under the hood sits a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 that puts out 375 horsepower and 530 Nm of torque. All that power is pushed through an 8-speed automatic transmission that is controlled from an incredible glass rotary gear selector to all four wheels. Although the numbers are incredible, you should not expect any tire screeching performance as the G80 has definitely been tuned to deliver more of a luxurious experience as opposed to a sporty one.
With double-jointed soundproof glass, the cabin is extremely quiet with almost no road or wind noise seeping in but it is the suspension that truly deserves a special mention. Of course, it is great at absorbing bumps in the road but what makes it unique is that it is an electronic suspension that uses a camera mounted in the windscreen to prepare the suspension before reaching a speed breaker or bump in the road. The camera notices a speed breaker and immediately softens the suspension so that the occupants inside feel as little as possible.
Just like a modern-day Hyundai, the G80 is packed with all the safety tech you would ever want or need. It’s got lane change cameras that pop up in the instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Very simply said, it has all the tech it needs to drive itself and it does an absolutely fabulous job doing it too.
When it comes to the design, it is truly minimal giving you the impression of a vast open space. The colors are very different with dark blue and brown leather but it is the quality that really makes the G80 stand out. There’s real open-pore wood on the dashboard and center console. There’s metal on the stalks and window switches. And the leather, that’s covering nearly every inch of the cabin, is real Nappa.
The minimal design is made possible by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display that is fully customizable, a 14.5-inch touch infotainment screen, and a separate touch screen for the climate control system. What this enables is for you to control multiple things from one screen rather than have 10 or 12 buttons to control different functions of the AC system.
Being a luxury sedan, Genesis has paid special attention to the back seats and so there’s plenty of headroom and legroom and of course, it is extremely comfortable. There are privacy shades on the sides, 9.2-inch monitors that can be tilted to suit your viewing angle, and plenty more controls on the center console to slide the seats forwards and backward, heat and cool them, and even control the rear sunshade.
Packed to the brim with features, the G80 really does have every feature imaginable and then some more. It’s got a panoramic roof, soft closing doors, and an 18-speaker Lexicon sound system, a massage seat for the driver, handwriting recognition, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Heads up Display.
But you’ve probably seen or heard all those in other cars too. What makes the G80 special is its navigation system. Unlike other cars that just put up a map on the infotainment screen, the G80 uses a camera mounted to the windscreen to show you in real-time which lane to be in and what exit to take. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen before.
Those of you who have watched our Hyundai Azera video will remember the Sounds of Nature feature and yes, it makes its way into the G80 too. To help you relax after a tough day at work, the G80 will help you de-stress by playing soothing sounds such as a lively forest or that of a warm fireplace. Just make sure you don’t play the sound of raindrops on a long road trip or you’re going to have to keep stopping to use the washroom.
When it comes to the design, you are either going to love it or hate it and that is probably because the G80 does not look like anything else out there. Unlike many modern luxury cars that seem to be over-styled with unnecessary lines, vents, and bulges, the G80 has a very clean and minimal design.
The large crest grille is inspired by the brand’s logo. The stacked LED headlights are a signature design element that start out in the front and continue along the sides and into the taillights as well. The 19-inch alloy wheels aren’t particularly pretty, but they have definitely taken inspiration from Mercedes’ Maybach line-up.
The fastback design of the G80 is most noticeable in the back with a steeply raked windscreen. The sharp edges on the boot lid do give it somewhat of a lip spoiler and there are dual exhaust outlets, both of which work. The boot can be opened from the key or from a button hidden above the rear camera and boot space is plenty with a wide and deep boot.
At the start of this review, I said that the Genesis G80 is so good that it makes its competition feel like it belongs to a previous era. With a price tag of just 269,000 Dirhams, the G80 is a car for those who wish to stand out and truly experience luxury in a new light but what it also is, is a wakeup call to its American and Japanese rivals because believe me when I say “The Koreans have arrived!”