Genesis G80 saloon review
The executive saloon class is full of accomplished, established contenders, so it's impressive that the Genesis G80 gets so close to the best in class
- Impressive quality
- Good to drive
- Ownership experience
- Relatively small boot
- Brand image
- Slightly firm ride
The new Genesis G80 certainly looks the part, with a large 'G-Matrix' grille and slotted LED headlights ensuring it stands out. If anything, we can see inspiration from luxury car manufacturers in its design, including hints of Aston Martin, which is no bad thing. If you want to stand out in the company car park, the G80 delivers.
While some luxury car challengers fall apart once you get behind the wheel, there are no nasty surprises here. The G80 has been tuned for European roads and its chassis has been subjected to the rigours of the Nurburgring test track. It's refined and has neat handling, with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Engine choices are a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with 300bhp capable of 0-62mph in six seconds or a 2.2-litre diesel with 207bhp that takes two seconds longer. Motorway drivers will appreciate the better fuel economy of the diesel, which can manage around 45mpg, but neither model slots into a cheap emissions band for company-car drivers. An all-electric version is on the horizon, which will be much cheaper to run and much more appealing as a company car.
The interior is relaxing and feels well built, with artificial 'leatherette' upholstery in the Premium Line trim replaced with real leather and wood trim in the Luxury Line range-topping model. Standard kit also includes a large 14.5-inch infotainment display, adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera and LED exterior lighting. Luxury Line adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a powered boot and triple-zone climate control.
Genesis is also hoping to impress customers with its buying and ownership experience, in a similar way to Lexus - a brand that has topped our Driver Power survey in recent years. You won't need to visit a bricks and mortar dealership to buy one, and owners will be appointed a Genesis Personal Assistant. Cars will be collected and delivered for servicing and a five-year care plan will include a five-year warranty, servicing with a courtesy car, roadside assistance and wireless software updates.
MPG, running costs & CO2
For now, the Genesis G80 is offered with either a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine or a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol. Both come fitted with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. If you plan on covering serious miles, the extra fuel-efficiency of the diesel is likely to appeal as it can return up to 45mpg. CO2 emissions of 205-210g/km do put it in the top Benefit-in-Kind band, however, which is likely to put off company-car drivers.
Opt for the petrol and the G80 will only return up to 31.2mpg, which isn't terrible given the power on offer but lags behind rivals with electrified powertrains. Its CO2 figures of 164-169g/km are lower than the diesel but will still result in costly tax bills for business drivers.
An electric G80 is also in the pipeline, providing an estimated range of up to 265 miles. Rapid charging will be able to take the battery from 10-80% in 22 minutes, according to Genesis, while V2L technology will also make it possible to charge other electric devices using the car. This could be the pick for businesses, thanks to its lower running costs, even if it's likely to be the most expensive to buy.
Engines, drive & performance
Considering the G80 is a new model from a new brand, we're surprised just how close the Korean luxury saloon comes to matching the class-leading BMW 5 Series. Ultimately, it's a bit softer and less focused but the G80 is highly accomplished and should leave its target buyers highly impressed.
Of course, parent brand Hyundai already knows a thing or two about tuning a car's chassis for European roads, and the G80 has been partly developed at the Nurburgring in Germany. While it isn't intended to set any lap records, this twisting test track does help manufacturers fine tune a car’s handling.
It's possible to increase or reduce the engine noise of the petrol, and the latter seems more appropriate in a car as generally hushed as the G80. The eight-speed automatic gearbox responds quickly, and while you can tell the G80 is a large and heavy car, it handles tidily.
The 2.5-litre turbo engine produces 300bhp, getting from 0-62mph in six seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. The diesel isn't quite as potent, with 207bhp getting it from 0-62mph in eight seconds.
Interior & comfort
The G80 features a technology called Ride Preview, which scans the road ahead and adjusts the suspension to help soak up bumps. In spite of this, the ride felt slightly firm around town, so we're hoping this is improved by19-inch wheels fitted in place of the 20s on our Luxury Line test car.
There are just two trim levels available: Premium Line and Luxury Line. The former is fitted with kit like LED headlights, folded door mirrors and 'leatherette' seat upholstery. There's also a 14.5-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an audio system with nine speakers.
Luxury Line adds the aforementioned 20-inch alloy wheels, real wood trim and leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a powered tailgate and triple-zone climate control.
Genesis is also offering several technology packs and extras, including an electronic panoramic sunroof. An Innovation Pack adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, head-up display, safety tech and a wireless phone charger but costs just under £4,000. There's also a similarly priced Executive Pack for the Luxury Line trim, bringing laminated rear glass (for improved refinement), electrically folding rear seats, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, soft close doors and even curtains for the rear windows.
Practicality & boot space
The Genesis G80 is a big car, so you'd expect plenty of interior space. It doesn't feel class-leading inside, however, and we'd recommend avoiding the sunroof option if you expect tall people in the back regularly.
Measuring 424 litres, the boot is also noticeably down on the 530-litre capacity of the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes C-Class, which adds another 10 litres. It's not yet known how much the G80 will be able to tow but it will need to be in the region of 2,000kg to compete with its German rivals.
Reliability & safety
While Genesis may be an unfamiliar name in the UK, parent company Hyundai scores well for reliability, which should prove reassuring. We also like the sound of Genesis' five-year care plan, which includes a warranty, servicing and roadside assistance, along with over-the-air software updates. While Genesis didn't feature in our 2020 Driver Power owner-satisfaction survey, Hyundai came 13th out of 30 manufacturers, with just 8.9% of respondents reporting a fault in the first year.
There's also no doubt that the G80 is a very safe car, thanks to a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. The saloon scored 91% in both the Adult Occupant and Safety Assist categories, with the latter being a particularly high score that highlights how much active safety kit is included to help prevent collisions.
While expensive, the Innovation Pack is worth considering as it adds a plethora of equipment to make driving safer and more relaxed. There's automatic braking to help prevent bumps while reverse parking, along with collision avoidance technology for pulling out of and turning at junctions. It also adds blind-spot warnings and a 360-degree parking view.