2018 Genesis G80 Sport 3.3T RWD – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman



If you were asked to name luxury automobile manufacturers today, your answers would be somewhat different based upon your age.

Those of you above the age of 45 would most likely include names like Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus Cadillac, and Lincoln among the top brands.

One brand you wouldn’t likely think of would be Genesis, or the brand that spawned it, Hyundai.

But if you were under 45, I’d bet you’d have those two brands in the mix, and near the top.

The reason is that so many younger drivers have grown up with, and have enjoyed, the ownership experience with Hyundai, and corporate cousin Kia for that matter.  They have enjoyed the quality of the products, and the outstanding reliability evidenced by the longest warranty in the business.  And they have appreciated the exceptional value that Hyundai’s, and now Genesis models, have offered.

My son-in-law, and my daughters, in their mid-30’s have owned Hyundai’s, and their aspirational luxury car isn’t German, or Japanese.  It’s Genesis.    That also goes for many of their friends as well.  They think of BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus, as old folk’s cars, that while nice, are grossly overpriced, and don’t offer value.

And while this gray bearded scribe can still appreciate the other luxury brands, it’s hard not to side with the youngsters in this debate.  After spending a week with the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport, this car checks all the boxes for what a modern luxury car should be, and at a tremendous discount to other luxury cars of similar size, and performance.

The G80 Sport is motivated by a forced-induction, 3.3 liter, 6-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine, that is exclusive to the Sport model.  It makes a very healthy 365 horsepower, and 376 Ft. Lbs. of torque.  That is ample power to push this 4,500 lb. sedan from zero to 60 in under 5 seconds.

A lot of the credit for such quick off the line launch power is that all of the torque comes on at an absolutely incredibly low 1300-RPM!  And that torque holds on until about 4500-RPM.

That’s almost like an electric vehicle.

By contrast, the V-8 doesn’t get to its full torque of 383 Ft. Lbs. until around 5,000 rpm.  Also, the power gets to the pavement via a slick shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and a Drive Mode selector for Eco, Normal and Sport.  And there is no turbo lag.  Off the line performance is great, but the G80 also performs well when pulling out to pass on a two-lane road.  There’s a brief hesitation while the transmission kicks down a gear or two, then the car just spools up and shoots past the slower vehicle in a heartbeat.

When pushing this Genesis Sport into the twisty bits on its standard all-season tires, the Sport’s adaptive dampers limits excessive body lean, and tightens up the performance.  Yet the ride quality still remains comfortable and composed.

It is noticeably more taut than the handling of the non-Sport trim models, if not quite as athletic as some of the more expensive cars in its class, like a Jaguar, XF S, a BMW M5, or a Cadillac CTS V-Sport. But make no mistake, this G80 will satisfy the handling characteristics for 90% of drivers. If more sporting performance is required, replacing the all-season tires with more sporting rubber, would enhance cornering and braking.

But with  the Continental ProContact TX tires, with 19-inch, 245/40 up front and 275/35 out back, you still have enough grip to feel confident when attacking the twisties. And the brakes felt strong and have good feel.  And all-wheel drive is a $2,500 option.

The Sport model has a beautiful sleek profile and add aggressive front and rear fascia’s.  The front also sports a mesh grill, and discrete rocker panels additions on the sides.  There is also copper colored accents around the lower front air intakes and grill, and wheel-center hubs.  Quad exhaust tips dress up the rear of the car, as well. This car is shapely, elegant, and has just a bit more style than the non-Sport models.

The cabin is luxurious with all the trappings of a luxury car, and then some.  The sunglass holder and door pockets are lined with soft materials, so you don’t hear anything rattling around. Loved the  black suede headliner, soft leather bolstered bucket seats, with copper colored stitching, picking up on the copper color outside trim.  The Sport model also gets carbon fiber dash trim.  The gauges and controls are nicely laid out and well-placed.

Leg and head room are ample, even for 3-across seating for rear passengers.  The trunk offers a generous 15 cubic feet of storage, and opens automatically when you just stand behind it for a few seconds – perfect for when you approach it with an armful of packages.  The Genesis also feels like a luxury car, in terms of build quality and refinement.  The doors close with solid feel, and sound.  Genesis engineers didn’t skimp on sound deadening materials, so the cabin is very quiet. The huge panoramic moonroof bathes the cabin in light, and is also very quiet when open and cruising down the road.

What really sets off this luxury Genesis is the abundance of amenities that are standard.  Our car had a bottom line of $56,225 (including freight) and had no optional equipment.  All the standard features is too long to list, but here are some of the most important ones.

A large 9-inch, easy to use touchscreen in the center stack with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.  There is also a rotary control knob on the console to operate the touchscreen, but there are still easy to use knobs to control the HVAC system, and radio controls at a glance, as well as the redundant steering wheel controls. This infotainment system is one of the better ones on the industry.

Also standard is Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention Alert, Blind Spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and Lane Keep Assist.  Smart Cruise control, Multi-View camera with parking sensors front and rear, and rain-sensing wipers and an auto defogger windshield.  But wait . . . there’s more !

Also standard is LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Lights, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 16-way power driver’s seat (12-way for passenger), and both seats are heated and cooled.  There’s also a color Heads-up Display, auto dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, an outstanding 17-speaker sound system with HD and Satellite radio, and all the other connectivity you expect, along with a wireless charging pad for your phone.  Power rear sunshade with manual side shades for rear passengers are also fitted. Trust me, there are more features in this car, but the one thing missing is a heated steering wheel.  That only comes on the All-Wheel-Drive version.

If you were to equip a Cadillac CTSV, a BMW 540i, you’d have to add $14,000 to $16,000 to the price of this Genesis Sport.

That is why the Genesis brand will be a strong force in the luxury car arena for years to come.  If you want an outstanding car with true value for your money, you must consider the Genesis brand.  And don’t forget the 5 year bumper to bumper warranty, and 10 years / 100,000 miles on the powertrain. Also for the first three years, you get complimentary scheduled maintenance, with valet service.

That too is hard to beat.

About The Author

Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman has been a motor journalist for over 30 years, reviewing automobile, as well as motorcycle ride reviews and accessory reviews.

His car articles have appeared in Robb Report Magazine, Autoguide.com, Car-Revs-Daily.com and other media. His work has also appeared in Road Bike Magazine, Motorcycle Tour and Cruiser, SpeedTV.com, MotorcycleUSA.com and others.

As motorcycle columnist for The Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, the paper became the only major circulation newspaper in the country to have a separate weekly section devoted to motorcycles. Later he wrote a weekly column for Cyclefocus Magazine.