If the Genesis G80 looks slightly familiar, that’s because it was known as the Hyundai Genesis in its previous life. It first launched in Australia in 2014, at a time when buyer’s started deserting the large sedan segment.
As a result, it was sold mostly to limo operators. It also carried a price tag ($60,000 to $82,000) most Hyundai buyers weren’t accustomed to back then. These days, you wouldn’t get much change out of $65,000 for a range-topping Santa Fe SUV.
What’s also changed is its badge. The Genesis no longer carries a Hyundai badge and is now a standalone premium brand sold from new concept stores much like Apple Stores, with its first and only store – called the ‘Genesis Studio’ – in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney.
There are just two models in the Genesis line-up for now, the G80 you see here, along with the smaller G70 but a SUV is set to join the range in the not too distant future.
Prices have been rejigged, too, with only two trim levels on offer starting with the $68,900 G80 before a significant $20,000 jump to the $88,900 G80 Ultimate. An optional Sport Design package like the one on the car you see here costs an extra $4,000, all before on-road costs.
So, can the old but new G80 shake off its baggage and turn over a new leaf?
On the outside
From the outside, it certainly looks good and is surprisingly head turning in traffic – partly because of its Aston Martin aping badge. The original car wasn’t terrible to look at but the mid-life tweaks have worked well especially in Ultimate Sport Design guise.
It adds a sinister black treatment to the G80 including 19-inch dark grey satin wheels with copper highlights, a mesh front grille, dark chrome accents, and a sportier body kit. They work extraordinarily well with the Himalayan Grey metallic paint finish on the car to give it a sports luxury look.
Look closer and you can pick the different styling elements lifted from European marques, such as the Audi-esque front bumper treatment and twin oval exhaust pipes.
There’s no mistaking the G80’s premium looks that partly justifies its price tag.
On the inside
It’s a different story inside where there’s a decidedly old-school feel to the interior, from the dashboard design to the fake wood and analogue gauges, although soft-to-the-touch plastics are in abundance and built quality is up to the usual high marks.
The infotainment system feels low rent and lifted straight from an i30, while the sat-nav instructions aren’t projected onto the head-up display. Don’t bother searching for a digital radio station because there’s none, and you can forget about mirroring your smartphone on the infotainment screen, as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both AWOL.
Happily though, you’ll find the G80’s lounge chair like front seats super comfortable for long distances, with 16-way adjustment and memory for the driver, plus heating and ventilation. Interior space is also generous front and rear, thanks to its sizeable dimensions.
When only four seats are in used, the control panel-equipped rear centre armrest can be pulled down to give rear passengers access to the sound system, climate control, sunshades and sear recline adjustments.
Around the back, the electric boot lid opens to reveal 493-litre of luggage space. We also much prefer Hyundai’s Genesis’s hands free boot which activates by standing behind the boot area for 3 seconds, instead of the frantic foot waving actions of some rivals.
Like a proper premium car, the G80 comes with soft close doors for that extra touch of luxury.
What features does it have?
Like most challenger luxury brands, the G80 prides itself on generous standard kit.
All models come with adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-LED headlights, LED fog lights and taillights, 12-way power-operated heated front seats with memory for the driver, a power-adjustable steering column, a 9.2-inch infotainment screen with navigation and a DVD player, a 17-inch Lexicon sound system, wireless phone charging and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the Ultimate adds larger 19-inch satin-finish alloy wheels, 16-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, four-way power adjustment for the rear seats, heated and ventilated seats all around, a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather upholstery, a suede headliner, a panoramic sunroof, illuminated metal treadplates, the above mentioned soft-close doors, rear-door curtains, and a powered boot lid.
The driver gets a head-up display, 7.0-inch TFT multi-information cluster, but analogue gauges.
On the safety front, the G80 comes with nine airbags, AEB with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, drive attention monitoring, high-beam assist and 360-degree camera.
The car you see here also comes with the optional Sport Design pack which adds larger 19-inch dark grey satin wheels with copper highlights, a mesh front grille, dark chrome accents, dual oval-shaped exhaust pipes, stainless steel pedals, bi-xenon headlights, and a sports body kit.
Under the skin
While a twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8 are available in some markets, just one engine is on offer for the G80 line-up in Australia.
It’s largely the same 3.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol V6 generating 232kW and 397Nm from 2014 paired with an eight-speed automatic that channels power to the rear wheels.
As before, the 3.8-litre V6 runs on the cheaper 91 regular unleaded petrol, but with a lack of fuel-saving tech like cylinder shutdown or engine stop/start, the G80 will consume around 10.4L/100km.
While it’s an improvement on the previous rating of 11.2L/100km, thanks to some software recalibration, in the real world, expect to see around 13.4L/100km if you spend most of your time driving around town, as evident during our test drive.
On the road
Looks can be deceiving and while the big G80 might look like it has the handling ability of a boat, that’s hardly the case in reality.
Thanks to the hard work of Hyundai Australia’s local engineering team, who went through 12 front and six rear damper designs, the G80 feels surprisingly sure-footed.
Long and heavy cars like these are prone to being floaty with too much body roll in corners but the revised suspension gives the Aussie G80 greater levels of body control, as a result, you feel positively connected to the road even in tighter corners.
It’s still no hot hatch and won’t know where it went on a racetrack but the G80 strikes a great balance between ride comfort and handling, even on the large 19-inch wheels of our tester.
Its old-school four-spoke steering is direct although not overly communicative, while the big, powerful V6 engine is hushed almost throughout its rev range. Its eight-speed automatic is smooth but could be a little more intuitive in sports mode.
On the whole, the G80’s ride and handling suit its more comfort-oriented buyers.
In the long run
The Genesis comes with a 5 years, unlimited mileage warranty, one of the most generous in the premium class. And because it is built by Hyundai, you can expect good built quality and reliability.
Additionally, all Genesis comes with five years complimentary (subject to mileage cap) scheduled servicing where the technician will pick the car up and return it to its owner. Should you prefer to visit its service centre, a loan car will be provided.
Design & Comfort
Performance & Handling
Equipment & Features
- Good ride and handling balance
- Refined and comfortable
- Handsome styling
- Lexus-rivalling ownership experience
- Dated interior
- Outdated technology
Badge snobs are likely to walk past the Genesis Studio on their way to their favourite LV store but for those willing to look past its be-winged badge, the G80 offers plenty for the money. It’s comfortable, handles decently and comes with an ownership proposition that surpasses more established marques.
2019 Genesis G80 pricing and specification
|Price (Excl. on-road costs):||From: $68,900|
As tested: $92,900 (G80 Ultimate Sport Design)
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometers|
|Warranty Customer Service:||5 years roadside|
|Country of Origin:||South Korea|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||3.8-litre naturally aspirated, direct-injected V6 petrol:|
232kW @ 6,000rpm, 397Nm @ 5,000rpm
|Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):||119.9|
|0-100km/h (seconds):||Claimed: 6.5|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 10.4 / Tested: 13.4|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||77|
|Body:||4-door sedan, 5 seats|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,990/1,890/1,480/3,010|
|Turning Circle Between Kerbs:||11.04|
|Tare Mass (kg):||1,935|
|Boot Space (L):||493|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||N/A|