2022 Genesis G80 Sport Review: More Smooth Than Sharp
The Genesis G80 has always been good, even back when it was called the Hyundai Genesis. Over the years, the Korean automaker refined and re-refined this midsize sedan into a more competent and comfortable luxury car. Now, Genesis is bringing back an older trim that, while inferring some corner-carving prowess, keeps the story largely the same, in the best possible way.
The latest Genesis G80 is almost two years old, but it looks as fresh as the day it debuted. The G80's tapered rear end looks great from any angle, and the two-line lighting design is one of my favorite elements across the entire automotive industry. The Prestige trim's unique 20-inch wheels are slick as hell, too, with those diamond-carved elements in the spokes. There are a few Sport-specific touches outside, as well, such as slightly more aggressive bumpers, although it'll take a keen eye to pick up on those tweaks.
Inside, the G80 is flat-out impressive. The low roof and tallish center console give the G80 a cozier feel than it had in generations past, and the headliner may be a bit low for folks over 6 feet tall, but that's really the only reason to break out the red pen. The rest is just lovely, with a low-drama dashboard design that retains just enough physical switchgear for the infotainment and climate controls. My tester really ramps up the visual excitement with bright splashes of red leather that cover the seats and the lower half of the interior. The thatched carbon-fiber trim feels a little plasticky, but it looks fabulous. The seats are supportive without being tight.
Cabin usability is high. The G80's door pockets can handle a fair bit of pocket stuff, but larger water bottles will have trouble fitting anywhere, as the cup holders can't handle more than an average-sized thermos. There's a good bit of storage in the armrest cubby, though. Out back, the G80's trunk will stash up to 13.1 cubic feet of stuff, which is a couple large suitcases' worth, but it's on the low end of the segment, tying with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class but falling short of the Audi A6's 13.7 cubes.
Let's look at what makes the Sport so, um, sporty. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 producing a solid 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque and sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard for every G80 Sport, and considering every G80 with a V6 is now a Sport, you can no longer get a RWD drivetrain with the six-pot. It's hardly a problem, though, because the AWD setup can send all its torque to the rear axle, and four driven wheels will generally give drivers a little extra peace of mind if they live where, you know, weather occurs.
Driving the G80 Sport is never a boring affair. The V6 provides plenty of thrust, especially in the midrange; passing maneuvers are met with a quick, competent downshift and some pleasant noises emanating from the tailpipes. The Sport's suspension is 4% stiffer in the front and 12% stiffer in the rear compared to other G80s, but it's really only noticeable when the road quality is bad. Otherwise, this sedan is still a very smooth cruiser and makes no attempts to hide its inherent plushness. It's still a luxury car, after all, even if it's a sprightlier one. My tester also has rear-wheel steering, which is best appreciated for its turning-circle reduction at low speeds.
One place where the G80 Sport doesn't excel, though, is fuel economy. At an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, that standard all-wheel-drive setup definitely punishes at the pump. It's about 4 or 5 mpg below similar numbers from the competition, which is a shame, but at least the feds' estimates are easy to reach with a light foot. Heck, I was brushing up against 30 mpg on the highway.
Genesis and its parent company Hyundai have been absolutely slaying the infotainment game for years, and the G80 Sport is hardly an exception to the rule. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster provides simulated 3D graphics for a little extra wow factor, and it's great for displaying pertinent information with little distraction through the dials and buttons on the steering wheel.
The real star of the show is the slim 14.5-inch center display, which runs the latest iteration of Genesis' excellent infotainment system. The touchscreen might be beyond the reach of those with shorter arms, but the dial on the center console is deceptively easy to master if that's the case. USB ports abound in both rows, which you'll need, because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wired affairs only, a notable omission when many cheaper Hyundais offer it wirelessly.
Like most other luxury automakers, Genesis loads its vehicles with all manner of standard active and passive safety systems, like forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, parking sensors and full-speed adaptive cruise control. Highway Driving Assist II is a hands-on system that combines many of the aforementioned systems to hold the vehicle in its lane and keep pace with traffic. The Prestige trim adds rear automatic braking and Remote Smart Parking Assist, aka Smaht Pahk.
The 2022 Genesis G80 Sport is every bit the luxury car you'd expect from a segment full of impressive stalwarts. It will perform just as well as a similarly equipped Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but the Genesis absolutely trounces the others on value. While four-cylinder G80s start at $49,345 including destination, V6 Sport models start at $64,795. The Prestige trim is the only available upgrade, costing an extra $6,300 (or $6,800 if you also want summer tires), and combined with a $575 Makalu Gray paint job, my tester rings in at $71,670. It might not seem like a deal, but if you kit out the competition in the same way, the cost delta would be enough to buy a second, smaller car.
That's the real crux of the Genesis G80: value. Not only is it a stellar luxury car, outfitted with everything one expects in this segment, but it manages to exist for thousands of dollars (if not tens of thousands) less than what the usual offerings will run you. It's a tough act to beat.