SEATTLE, July 08, 2018 — Who would have thought that a South Korean auto brand could be both captivating and luxurious. Genesis, the spin-off luxury brand of Hyundai, has done this. In a relatively short amount of time, it has garnered a loyal fan base of its luxury vehicles.With its 2018 G80 Sport model, Genesis is aiming squarely at the competition from Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Audi and Mercedes. It’s a sporty sedan that harnesses the same twin turbocharged V6 engine found in the KIA Stinger.
For too long, the only Asian automakers doing performance sedans, came from Japan – There’s no doubt that Genesis is upping its game with this sport model of the G80 to provide a top-notch performance sedan from South Korea.
This 3.3 liter monstrosity lays down 365 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque that’s readily available at only 1300 rpm and stays flat all the up to 4500 rpm . This means quick launches thanks to all that torque kicking in so early in the power band. Power is delivered to the rear wheels via an eight-speed transmission that performs quick shifts and does a rather fine job of both down and up-shifting. There is an all-wheel-drive model available for an additional upcharge of $2500 dollars. Genesis estimates that 60 percent of G80 Sport’s being sold will be the rear-wheel-drive version.
The car comes standard with P245/40R-19 front and P275/35R-19 rear tires.
At the risk of hyperbole, the interior quality of the G80 equally parallels the best we’ve seen so far from any vehicle in its respective price bracket. Softo to the touch leather upholstery, carbon fiber panels that are tactfully used and sparse use of metal-looking trim all help one feel as if they’re truly in a luxury-class car.
Standard features on the Sport include an infotainment center that supports audio formats from CD/MP3/AM/FM/XM and Bluetooth. It has a very responsive, clear and bright screen. It provides some of the best-sounding audio you can find in new car these days with crystal-clear highs, lows and mids throughout the volume range.
What I really love most about this car is driving it. Step on the accelerator pedal and the engine launches it to 60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds. Not earth-shattering but still impressive considering this car’s bloat. So much bloat, in fact, that it tops the scales at 4519 pounds!
Thankfully, the car handles nice and flat throughout the corners and its excellent braking system never faded, whined or moaned. Every time, we’d get sure, solid stopping power that helped tame the car’s weight and acceleration. The only hokey thing about the driving experience, that we’d love to see resolved is the augmented exhaust noise. There are literally three different sound modes you can do to the exhaust – and the louder version is augmented through the car’s audio system. Cheesy? Yes. Do other high-end automakers like BMW do it? Yes. Do we like it? No. It has more cheese than Chester Cheeto.
At the end of the day, however, Genesis has delivered a solid performance sedan solution that easily keeps pace with anything we see from Japan and even Germany in its price-range. Toss in it’s 10 year / 100,000 mile power train warranty, along with white glove service, and you’ll find a car that has a lot more going for it other than just power and looks.