New car review: Genesis GV80 3.5T

Emphatic petrol twin turbo punch for Genesis’s new large luxury SUV.

Luxury Korean brand Genesis has added the first SUV to its emerging model range – the BMW X5-sized GV80. 

It’s an important model designed to get Genesis on the radar of prestige buyers and grow the fledgling brand’s market share here.

The company has also announced the impending arrival of a smaller SUV, the GV70.

It is designed to go up against the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC and will go on sale from July this year. 

The GV80 SUV is offered in four variants with three powertrains, rear- or all-wheel drive, and five or seven seats. 

It’s an eye-catching beast with a bold grille and imposing dimensions, and Genesis has sweetened the deal with a wealth of standard infotainment, advanced safety, and driver assistance features.

The list of features and equipment includes 10 airbags, power tailgate, 20- or 22-inch alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, panoramic sunroof, surround-view monitor with 3D function, power tilt and reach steering adjustment, 14.5-inch HD touch screen, 12-inch head-up display, 21-speaker 1050W Lexicon by Harman audio, satellite navigation, DAB+ radio, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated front seats, 12-way power adjustable front seats, rear door sunshades, and a range of active safety technologies.

In addition to these standard features there’s a $10,000 Luxury Pack option, as fitted to our test car, which crams more goodies into the opulent cabin.

This includes a smart parking system with the ability to remotely control the car’s movement in and out of a tight park while standing outside the car and using the key fob.  

Genesis GV80 3.5T.

Pricing is highly competitive versus its prestige rivals with the entry-level 224kW 2.5-litre turbo petrol, with five-seats and rear wheel drive, starting at $90,600. 

The fully loaded GV80 3.5T with 279kW 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol, All Wheel Drive and seven seats, as tested here, retails for $108,600. 

Sitting between these models is a pair of seven-seaters, the 2.5 turbo petrol AWD and a 204kW/588Nm in-line 3.0-litre turbo diesel AWD. 

The two petrol engines in the range require premium (95RON or better) fuel and are the same as those used in the new G80 sedan, while the diesel is currently exclusive to the GV80. 

All three engines marry to an admirably slick eight-speed auto with rotary shift-by-wire gear selector and paddle shifters with downshift rev-matching. 

The powerhouse 3.5-litre engine provides strong, effortless performance that’s virtually lag-free off the line and, with a robust 530Nm of maximum torque delivered between 1300 and 4500rpm, makes easy work of hustling along the 2248kg SUV. 

Its official 0-100km/h sprint time is a claimed 5.5 seconds, four-tenths faster than an Audi Q8 3.0-litre turbo V6 (250kW/500Nm). 

It’s also a handy 1.3 seconds quicker than the next quickest model in the GV80 range, the 3.0 diesel.

The in-house-developed auto delivers barely perceptible ratio shifts and the twin-turbo engine is very refined, getting down to business smoothly and quietly. 

Genesis GV80 3.5T.

For those who desire a bit more aural stimulation there’s a four-level switchable active sound system to generate more engine ‘note’.

The serenity extends to all occupants of the plush interior thanks to an extensive range of NVH reduction measures, while the Luxury Pack includes an additional Road Noise Active Noise Control system. 

The system monitors and analyses road vibrations then uses a digital signal processor to generate an inverted soundwave that effectively cancels the noise. 

It can provide separate tailored noise cancellation for the driver’s position, front passenger seat and rear seats. 

Out on the test loop, even on south-east Queensland’s noise-inducing coarse-chip bitumen, the GV80 impressed with its low levels of tyre and road rumble.

The GV80 also rides impressively well, even over gnarly road surfaces, despite the obvious challenge of running on big 22-inch wheels and low-profile 40-series tyres.

Genesis boasts of extensive localised suspension tuning for all models, while the six-cylinder models feature sophisticated adaptive suspension and damper controls, with Road Preview electronic control.

The latter uses the vehicle’s front camera to detect speed bumps, potholes and the like and controls damping forces to optimise ride quality.

The GV80’s impressive road manners don’t stop there, either, with the big seven-seater also boasting well-weighted steering and surprisingly capable dynamics, given its size and bulk. 

Genesis GV80 3.5T.

The cabin is well-crafted with a luxury look and feel, albeit bolstered by our test car’s Luxury Pack inclusions. 

There’s an elegant sufficiency of soft trims, lashings of leather (Nappa leather with the Lux Pack) and real wood garnishes, along with suede headlining, quilted seat stitching, and 64-colour mood lighting. 

The luxury continues via an 18-way adjustable driver’s seat with massage function; heated and ventilated second-row seats with power adjustment; and three-zone climate control for the different seat rows.

Unsurprisingly, the power adjustable, fold-away third-row seats are better suited to children than adults.

Meanwhile, with the second row of seats in use there’s a generous 727 litres of cargo space available, expanding to a cavernous 2144 litres with the seats folded.

The diesel and smaller capacity petrol AWD models carry a five-star (2021) ANCAP safety rating with the two-wheel drive and 3.5 V6 models still unrated.

Sweetening the deal for GV80 buyers is a comprehensive range of Genesis Experience “extras”, including concierge pick-up and delivery (within 70km of a Genesis “Studio”) for scheduled servicing and warranty work; a courtesy car; handover delivery service for new purchases; roadside assistance; five years/unlimited kilometre warranty; and complimentary scheduled services for five years/50,000km for the petrol engines, or five years/75,000km for the diesels.

In summary, for prestige SUV buyers willing to look beyond the badges of the established players in this category, the GV80 is a compelling offering with a strong value proposition that commands attention.  

Keys stats

MLP: $108,600 (as tested, including Luxury Pack, $118,600).

ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6.

ANCAP CRASH RATING:  Not rated.

FUEL CONSUMPTION (combined cycle, litres/100km):  11.7 (273g/km CO₂).

FOR: Spacious cabin with luxury fit and finish, powerful and responsive petrol engine, refinement, impressive blend of comfort and dynamics, well-priced with plenty of standard kit, distinctive looks, ownership add-ons.

AGAINST: Third row better suited to kids, mobility kit – no spare wheel.