Having been very impressed last spring by the Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium, I was excited to slide behind the wheel of Hyundai’s Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport, which is the first sports sedan under the brand.
The G90 was the perfect ride for a trip to Southern Arizona, where Border Patrol vehicles roll by like tumbleweeds, and as I also noted in my write up the $71,550 sticker price is much less than it is for the luxury cars Hyundai sees as the G90’s competition: the Audi A8, the Lexus LS, the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
However, $70k and change still busts a journo budget. (Heck, the change busts a journo budget.) The 2018 G80 Sport I test drove had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $58,725 when the $975 inland freight and handling charge was added.
I also dug the Casablanca White exterior paint job matched against the black interior, black grille, black 19-inch Sport alloy wheels and all-season tires and darkly tinted rear windows and panoramic sunroof. Combined with the dark chrome quad exhaust tips in the back, the look is sleek, ferocious.
If only that menace transferred over to the performance. The all-wheel-drive G80 Sport had the same 3.3L Twin Turbo V6 with 365HP and eight-speed automatic as last year’s G90 Premium, which I’d described as “a speed demon.” Both models go zero to 60 mph in lickety-split.
The G80 has paddle shifters, and you can, of course, choose to have the Sport perform in Sport mode that alters throttle steering and transmission behavior.
However, I guess I was expecting the driving feel to seem more like a sports car than a slightly smaller luxury car. Not that there’s anything wrong with luxury cars. Indeed, if you are looking for more affordable luxury, you can’t go wrong with the G80 Sport. My test ride included premium leather seating surfaces that can be ventilated in front and heated throughout.
There was also a black microfiber suede headliner, power rear and manual rear side sunshades and a leather-wrapped, power-tilt and -telescopic steering wheel that can be heated and has contrast stitching.
The driver can keep the remote in his/her pocket while pushing a button on the door handle to unlock the G80 and another on the dash to start the thing up. A button also opens the sunroor or leaves it slightly ajar, and there is 16-way and 12-way adjustable power seats for the driver and front passenger respectively.
The dual automatic temperature control means there will be no fighting over the settings for the pair in the front, and it also has a CO2 censor. The rear-view mirror inside is auto-dimming and includes a compass and the Homelink feature for anyone who wants to program in a garage door opener.
Color displays can be found behind the steering wheel and in the center dashboard navigation and audio touchscreen, high definition display area, which can be synced to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Lexicon, 17-speaker audio system handles AM, FM, HD radio, compact discs and MP3s.
By the way, there were no additional charges for options or extras or performance packages on my test G80. All of the above were included in that nearly $59k sticker price as were the wireless charging pad in the front, the hands free smart power trunk lid, the automatic, full LED headlights with high beam assist and dynamic bending light and LED daytime running lights.
Advanced safety features–which, again, are all standard–include: the vehicle stability management system, electronic stability control with traction control and ABS/brake assist, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, electronic parking brake, rain sensing wipers with automatic defogger, pre-active seatbelt and anti-whiplash front head restraints and all nine airbags (including the one at the driver’s knees).
The multi-view camera kicks in as you are backing up to show what is behind you on the largest section of the split screen, which also gives an overhead shot of the G80. But what is great is you can push a button to activate the multi-view, which can be valuable when you are pulling in and want to gauge how close you are to the barrier in front of you.
The G80 gets an EPA-rated 17 miles to the gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for a combined 20 mpg. It’s on the lower end of my recent rides with an EPA Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating of four on a 1-10 scale (10 being best), and a three for the Smog Rating.
You’ll make up a lot of the $2,100 in annual fuel costs thanks to “The Genesis Experience,” which features three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first) of free maintenance and service area valet, and three years of free map care, Genesis connected services and SiriusXM traffic and travel link. This is on top of the basic warranty: five years/60,000 miles, 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain and seven years/unlimited miles for anti-perforation. Hyundai also sends you off with a full tank of gas.
Driving into the sunset one evening, it occurred to me that the G80 would be perfect for real estate professionals who want to impress clients without breaking the bank. The speed demon can be unleashed while alone to celebrate a sale or work out a frustrating day at the open house.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.