All right Genesis, you got me. The first generation of Hyundai’s luxury brand offered substantial value, but sort of missed the mark with consumers when it came to actually turning heads. Style and substance are what keep people coming back to the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Audi A6. That’s not to say the old G90 or indeed the G80 had neither, but it just didn’t stand out from the crowd enough. After all, the first G80 was essentially a rebadged Hyundai that launched a new luxury brand.
This 2021 Genesis G80, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal.
Like its bigger G90 brother, the new mid-range offering in the Genesis lineup was built from the ground up as a distinctive luxury sedan, and it shows from the first time you see it. It first debuted in South Korea, but we have some more details, and more importantly more photos, to see what it actually looks like. In profile it’s not substantially larger than its predecessor. It rides on the same wheelbase, but in modern fashion its lower, wider and longer than it was before. Now, to the chagrin of some, this car does ditch the old 5.0-liter V8 engine in favor of something more efficient.
New car, new powertrains
At the base end, there’s a new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This replaces the old 3.8-liter V6, and manages 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. That’s slightly less power (the old V6 made 311 hp), but more torque (the old one made 293 lb-ft). Automakers have been leaning more toward improving torque anyway, since that provides more of the satisfying and luxurious “surge” you actually feel, rather than focusing on eye-burning horsepower figures.
Replacing the old V8 is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, as is in the GV80 crossover. Here, you get 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, which are both down from the old 5.0-liter. However, it should be substantially more fuel efficient, and you still get an eight-speed transmission with both engines. To wit, that power also comes with a lower curb weight, as Genesis claims the 2021 G80 is 243 pounds lighter thanks to extensive use of aluminum throughout the body.
A much more refined interior
The 2021 Genesis G80 takes the brand’s interior game up a notch from the old model, as well. The old car more or less had everything there, but this takes everything in a more pleasing direction. More to the point, it doesn’t bombard you with all the onboard technology, although there’s plenty of that as well. Apart from the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, there’s also a 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display to which your eye is immediately drawn. As far as the center stack is concerned, the old gear lever bows out for a rotary dial setup instead, and the steering wheel also evolves to a two-spoke design.
As you’d expect, the 2021 Genesis G80 comes packed to the gills with driver assistance technology. Things like Highway Driving Assist II help you out during lane change maneuvers to keep you from merging into other cars, for example. Smart cruise control, forward collision avoidance assist and blind spot collision avoidance are also part of the new G80. The company didn’t specify which systems would be standard, however. We’ve more or less come to expect forward emergency braking to come standard, while the Highway Driving Assist and Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance may be relegated to higher trims or options packages.
The 2021 Genesis G80 should — current circumstances notwithstanding — launch in the second half of 2020, after the GV80 crossover. Genesis hasn’t announced pricing, but it shouldn’t be drastically higher than the model it replaces. That means a starting price somewhere in the mid-$40,000 range, with top-end models commanding a $70,000-ish asking price. At any rate, expect it to be less expensive than its German competition.