Ultimate Luxury + Convenience

Genesis G80 tempts buyers with new innovations
Barry Spyker

Imagine walking to your car, fumbling for the key fob, when the Genesis G80 springs open the trunk for you. With a wink and a smile.

OK, maybe it just felt like a kind gesture. But it’s those little intuitive conveniences that folks are going to love about the revised-for-2017 Genesis G80. Rather than a leg-swipe sensor, the innovative hands-free trunk opens automatically if the smart key is detected a few feet from the trunk for more than three seconds. 

Another of what Genesis calls “human-centered innovations” is its head-up display, the best in the segment. It features data on speed, cruise-control status, navigation, blind-spot monitor, lane departure and forward collision warnings. All sharp, easy to read graphics with adjustable brightness.

An electronic parking brake and automatic vehicle hold, helpful in stop-and-go traffic, plus proximity key entry all make life a little easier.

First introduced in 2009, Genesis is taking its next big stride in the luxury arena with the full-size rear-wheel-drive G80. (No more Hyundai Genesis, please. They’re trying to further distinguish this brand in the luxury marketplace.) 

Especially in black, the G80 exudes that luxury with a sleek profile, hexagonal front grille and LED-laden wrap-around taillights. Its ride is elegant, too, and is ultra-quiet thanks to increased sound-absorbing materials, acoustic laminated glass and even a low-noise fuel pump. 

Where the G80 may struggle with some of its foes -- and there are many -- is in power and overall performance. Even in Sport mode setting, road tests show rivals like Cadillac CTS, Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-Series outperform it. In all fairness, you’ll pay more for those other guys.

Power comes from two sources: a 3.8-liter V-6 that delivers a substantial 311 hp and 293 pound-feet of torque, and an award-winning 5.0-liter V-8 that ups the ante to 420 hp and 383 pound-feet of pull. Both are mated to an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the wheel if you like to take back some drive control. An AWD is available but only with the 3.8.

Zero-to-60 with the 3.8-liter happens in 6.6 seconds, a full second slower than some of its friends. The V-8 betters the run to 60 in the mid-5s. 

In spite of all comparisons, the G80 is fast enough for most folks, handles well and is a smooth ride on the open road. The suspension system offers decent feel while gobbling up the bumps and pavement cracks along the way. Steering is nicely weighted and response is quick.

A drive mode selector enables adjustments for different conditions or driver preferences, changing throttle response, transmission timing and stability control. 

The G80’s 4,500 pounds of heft contribute to mileage figures. Expect 22 mpg combined with the 3.8, and just 19 mpg if you opt for the AWD. The 5.0 liter returns around 18 combined, and 23 on the highway.

On the plus side, G80’s size (and long wheelbase) means impressive interior space -- a total of 123 cubic feet, 15.3 of them for cargo. That’s class-leading, as is the front leg room, head room and rear shoulder room, though taller folks might wish for more headroom in the rear. Perforated-leather seats are supportive, comfortable and can be adjusted 12 ways. 

It’s a simple and well-designed cabin. Wood grain and matte-finished aluminum on the dash and doors provide elegant accents. A 9.2-inch touchscreen accommodates the high-tech stuff including smartphone-app integration. 

Standard high-tech safety includes lane departure warning and intervention, frontal collision warning with automatic braking in an emergency. Plus, the G80 tops out on crash tests, earning five stars on front- and side-impact tests. 

The G80 probably is the best bang-for-buck luxury sedan out there. Sure, you could pay more and get more but, for $50 grand or so, it has good looks, comfort and conveniences plus is backed by Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Besides, with the other guys, you’ll have to open your own trunk

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