New car review: Genesis G80 2.5T
Korean brand’s all-new G80 sedan delivers on luxury-car brief.
This latest version of the Genesis G80 large sedan joins a rush of new and upcoming models from the Korean prestige marque that are intended to lure buyers away from established luxury brands.
Other recently arrived, or soon-to-arrive, new Genesis models include the impressive GV80 large SUV, which is designed to compete with the likes of the BMW X5, and the yet-to-debut GV70 mid-size SUV.
The original G80 established the Genesis brand in Australia where it spent a couple of years as a lone-wolf model until the arrival of the sporty and engaging G70 mid-size sedan in 2019, at which point the G80 scored a mild refresh too.
This latest G80 is all-new, however, and built on the company’s M3 platform, which claims to offer enhanced crash safety and superior driving dynamics, courtesy of a stiffer and stronger body.
Genesis says the latter is achieved through the expanded use of hot-stamped, high-strength steel.
This, combined with additional use of aluminium in the suspension and body panels, has seen the G80’s weight reduced by an impressive 110kg (about 6%).
Like the GV80, the new sedan has a striking road presence, courtesy of its fastback-style roof, long bonnet line and large shield-like grille.
The latter is flanked by distinctive quad-lamp headlights that imitate the brand’s crest-and-wings emblem, lending the G80 an imposing look that stands apart from its Teutonic competitors.
If desired, matte paint in two colours at a cost of $2k is available to further differentiate your Genesis from the lustrous herd.
With this new model, Genesis has ditched the old 232kW 3.8-litre naturally aspirated V6 to instead offer buyers a choice of two new turbo-petrol engines.
Both are matched to a smooth and prompt shifting eight-speed auto with drive to either the rear or all wheels, depending on engine choice.
The “gun” performer is the new 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, which puts its claimed outputs of 279kW and 530Nm to the road via all four paws.
It’s a compelling choice for those with the wherewithal to accommodate its $99,990 price tag.
Official combined cycle consumption of the required 95 RON premium brew is 10.7L/100km, just one-tenth of a litre below the old engine’s figure, achieved on normal ULP.
The extra cash for the flagship version also nets some extra kit such as a camera-based Road Preview adaptive suspension system, larger front, and rear brake discs with four-piston front calipers, and 20-inch five-spoke alloys shod with lower-profile Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.
The wheels are in lieu of the entry model’s resoundingly unattractive 19-inch dish-type alloys.
Despite that stylistic failure, more fiscally responsible buyers will find the alternative 2.5T model, with 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque (delivered between 1650 and 4000 RPM) has plenty to offer.
The smaller 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder isn’t exactly a slouch, delivering solid response whether getting off the line, firing out of corners, or pulling out to make a highway pass.
Paddle shifters for the auto and a rotary shift-by-wire gear selector come standard and there’s four drive modes – Sport, Custom, Comfort, and Eco.
The modes adjust engine and transmission mapping, steering response and active engine sound level, plus electronic suspension and AWD settings on the V6 model.
Eco mode allows for the transmission to automatically select neutral, thereby entering a “coasting” mode as a fuel-saving measure when driving under specified conditions, such as when the driver’s foot is off the accelerator or there is braking input.
As with the larger 3.5T, premium fuel is specified, although the four-pot’s official combined consumption is a thriftier 8.6L/100km.
Our combination of urban running and spirited back-road driving returned an average of 12.9L/100km but better figures would certainly be achievable.
The 2.5T rides on multi-link front and rear suspension with high-performance dampers.
Like its more potent sibling, this model also benefits from a “localised” Australian market specific suspension tune.
Ride quality is supple and cosseting, the G80 gliding comfortably along unfazed by even badly disfigured road surfaces.
That bias toward a plush ride comes with dynamic trade-offs, though, with the G80 ultimately lacking the more finely honed sporting edge of rivals like the BMW 5-Series.
The G80 still delivers better than competent steering and handling, only feeling a little floaty and unsettled when the driver is really pushing on.
The cabin is spacious and the fit and finish exemplary, cocooning occupants in its cossetting embrace with a plethora of standard creature comforts and convenience features, as well as the latest advanced driver assistance and safety features.
Of course, if the standard kit leaves you wanting for more, Genesis will happily rectify that, such as with the $13k Luxury Pack that came fitted to our test car.
Among its two-dozen extras the Luxury Pack includes smart parking assist, remote smart parking (operated from the key fob), three-zone climate control, power rear window sunshade, rear-seat entertainment with dual 9.2-inch screens, heated steering wheel, rear parking collision avoidance, soft-close doors, 18-way power adjustable driver’s seat (up from the standard 12-way), heated and ventilated power adjustable outer rear seats, Nappa leather trim with luxury quilting, open pore real wood trim, and suede headlining.
A comprehensive range of Genesis Experience “extras” include concierge pick-up and delivery (within 70km of a Genesis Studio) for scheduled servicing and warranty; a Genesis courtesy car; personalised handover delivery for new purchases; roadside assistance; five years/unlimited-kilometre warranty (private use); and complimentary scheduled services for five years/50,000km.
The new G80 is well priced and stacked with gear making it look very good value against its German and Japanese rivals.
It delivers handsomely on the big luxury car brief and features a level of comfort and undeniable feel-good factor that had us wishing for a chauffeur on the options list as well.
MLP: $84,900 ($99,900 as tested) MRLP.
ENGINE: 2.5 turbo-petrol four cylinder.
ANCAP CRASH RATING: Not rated.
FUEL CONSUMPTION (combined cycle, litres/100km): 8.6 (201g/km CO₂).
FOR: Sumptuous and spacious cabin, plush refinement, well priced with plenty of standard kit, distinctive and eye-catching looks, ownership add-ons.
AGAINST: Less dynamic than some competitors, stronger performance from the turbo V6, you’ll want a chauffeur.