The 2019 Genesis G80 strikes a commendable balance between luxury, performance, and value. Genesis hit the mark when its G80 bowed a couple of years ago, but a limited dealership network means this sedan may fly under the radar until the automaker can sign more showrooms to its roster. Hyundai launched its Genesis luxury brand a few years ago, but a new mandate to elevate the buying and owning experience to Lexus levels meant that the number of dealers shrunk considerably this year. Those who do seek out a G80 will find a well-mannered, high-value sedan that emphasizes coddling over track-ready driving dynamics. For most buyers, that balance will be exactly what they’re looking for. This year, the Sport package with its zippier looks and bigger wheels is newly available with the base engine and the G80’s standard infotainment system features new software.
The 2019 Genesis G80 has subtle, clean styling that won’t attract too much attention with its classic proportions. All G80’s are sedans with the Sport package featuring different bumpers and copper design elements that really elevate the look. A big, shield-like grille up front gives the 2019 G80 presence matched by a strong shoulder line. The clean tail trends toward elegant yet handsome finish. All G80 sedans feature either 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels that give them an upscale look.
The breadth of this lineup is remarkable. Base Genesis G80 3.8 sedans make use of a 3.8-liter V-6 rated at 311 hp and 293 pound-feet of torque. The base V-6 delivers strong, but not thrilling acceleration, and remains well-muffled even when pressed. The G80 3.3T Sport swaps in a 365-hp, 376-lb-ft twin-turbo V-6 plus a more buttoned-down suspension with adaptive dampers. The twin-turbo V-6 is a surprisingly strong performer. The twin-turbo engine can even be quicker than the optional V-8 in the G80 5.0. The V-8 delivers a muscular 420 hp and 383 lb-ft that provides buttery smooth acceleration. Regardless of what’s underhood, an 8-speed automatic transmission hurtles power to either the rear or all four wheels. The 2019 G80 gets points for its comfortable ride, strong engines, and luxury-grade transmission outperform cars costing far more.
Our favorite here is the Turbo V-6, and not just because of its accessible price. It has abundant power at any point should you need it and handles well great but still maintains a creamy ride. This year, much of the G80 3.3T Sport’s upgrades are optional on the base sedan, although the adaptive suspension dampers remain exclusive to the twin-turbo model. The G80 is at its best on the open highway. Even if the pavement underneath is rough, its supple suspension smothers bumps and potholes. Few sedans deliver as relaxing a personality as the 2019 G80. The G80’s quiet suspension not only takes bumps in stride but pairs with considerable sound deadening to keep the outside world just a moving picture.
The Genesis G80 could be greener, especially with the optional V-8 engine. One place where the G80 trails some rivals is in fuel efficiency. Its engines are on the large size for luxury sedans, which means they tend to be thirsty. The G80 3.8 is rated at 18 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined according to the EPA with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drops those figures to 18/24/20 mpg. The good news is that the base engine runs on regular unleaded, something we can’t say about rivals. The 3.3T (twin-turbo) V-6 isn’t much thirstier at 17/25/20 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 17/24/20 mpg with all-wheel drive. With power comes thirst, and the G80 5.0 checks in at just 16/24/19 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 15/23/18 mpg with all-wheel drive. Turbo V-6 and V-8 versions are rated for premium fuel. A comparable BMW 530i is rated at 27 mpg combined regardless of wheels driven, while even the least-thrifty Volvo S90 comes in at a commendable 25 mpg combined. Our G80 test vehicle with the 3.3T average 23 mpg in its week with us, providing better fuel economy than the EPA ratings.
Stellar safety scores and standard collision-avoidance tech make the 2019 Genesis G80 a very safe choice. Short of only the most advanced self-driving tech available on some competitors, the 2019 Genesis G80 scores exceptionally well for its safety. The 2019 G80 comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. Some competitors offer systems that allow limited hands-off driving, which earns them an extra point. Still, a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA that includes top marks in each test is commendable. So too the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ score, which applies to G80 sedans with the LED headlights that are optional on the base model but standard with the twin-turbo V-6 and the V-8. The base headlights score “Acceptable” on the IIHS’ scale compared to “Good” for the LEDs.
Inside, the G80 is an exercise in simplicity without feeling stark or spartan. Its well-organized dashboard puts controls high, grouped around either a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment or an optional 9.2-inch unit in higher-spec versions, both with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The G80 comes standard with leather upholstery and heated, power-adjustable front seats. Glossy wood trim adorns its dashboard, but depending on trim level, the shiny veneer can be swapped out for carbon fiber or a beautiful matte wood finish. Buyers can opt between tan, black, or gray trim on most versions. Dressier trims feature softer nappa leather and can be fitted with a thundering 17-speaker Lexicon audio system. The available 16-way seats feature adjustable cushion extenders, too. This luxury sedan delivers a comfortable, high-quality interior.The spacious 2019 Genesis G80 coddles with luxurious trim, even on base models. The front seats are all-day comfortable, while rear-seat riders have adequate space given the 2019 Genesis G80’s footprint. The trunk is adequate at 15 cubic-foot, although its opening is wide and relatively low.
The 2019 Genesis G80 is a terrific value among luxury sedans. Starting at around $43,000, the base Genesis G80 hardly wants for luxury features against its far costlier competitors. The base 2019 G90 comes with leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, wood trim, active safety tech, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. For $5,700 more, the Sport package adds 19-inch alloy wheels and unique styling features inside and out. We think the nearly $10,000 Ultimate package is a better value, even though it’s expensive. The package adds Nappa leather trim, 16-way power front seats, a synthetic suede headliner, an upsized 9.2-inch touchscreen, head-up display, surround-view monitor, and a panoramic power moonroof. The twin-turbo V-6 comes only with the Sport package and an adaptive suspension for about $56,000. Spend about $2,000 more and Genesis swaps in its V-8 engine and the full suite of Ultimate package gear. All-wheel drive adds $2,500 regardless of trim level. Genesis charges $60,500 for a G80 5.0 with all-wheel drive, but it’s on par with BMW and Mercedes models that tickle $80,000.
Genesis’ dealer network is limited, but those that do exist are tasked with providing exemplary service like a valet to pick up of a G80 in need of maintenance. The 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 3-year, 36,000-mile free maintenance are unheard of and incredibly valuable assets. The 2019 Genesis G80 is an exemplary stand-out among luxury vehicles. While the Genesis brand is still getting a foothold in the marketplace, the G80 is a rare surprise for those who drive it. It does everything as well as if not better than it’s German rivals for thousands less all while not having to compete with the Jones’. If a midsize luxury sedan is on your shopping list, definitely check out the Genesis G80, you won’t regret it.
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