Big, comfortable rear-wheel-drive sedans were once considered the epitome of luxury and prestige.
But as we progress in the 21st century, earlier notions of luxury and status fade and luxury cars powered by batteries exclusively proliferate. The space for rear-wheel-drive luxury sedans with powerful internal combustion engines is shrinking and seems destined to get even smaller.
It also means in the years to come, the Genesis G80 will be recalled as one the last reminders of an aristocracy swept away by a historic change in a business that’s also been driven by a combination of fashion, politics and technology.
The 2021 Genesis G80 Prestige an impressive example of the art of car making at the end of the first couple decades of the 21st century. The car is big, roomy and equipped with a powerful, but completely up-to-date ICE engine. It is also packed with the latest equipment mustered by the contemporary automobile.
The exterior of G80 illustrates the balance and poise available to the designers for rear-wheel-drive sedans. The G80 maintains the classic proportions that helped made rear-wheel-drive sedans so popular for so long. The designers from Genesis have done a very nice job capturing its essence, giving the car a fine silhouette with an impressive roofline that slides gracefully to the rear. The rear also is nicely appointed.
The G80 I drove had 20-inch wheels and LED lights all the way around. However, I must admit I wasn’t crazy about the front fascia, which is impressive but struck me as overdone. Additionally, it was so precious, so I also suspect it was probably expensive to repair, which perhaps is not necessarily a major concern of someone ready to pay $66,645 for an a new automobile but it might not hold up for the car’s second and third buyers.
I got the distinct impression the 2021 G80 was designed from the inside out to make better use of the broad array technology artfully integrated into the car for the benefit of the drivers and passengers. The materials throughout the cabin appear carefully selected, fitting well into design scheme. That scheme includes a mixture of wood and chrome accents, which set off the control functions and instrument cluster as well as the generous screen used in the center stack.
The soft material used in the cabin also contribute to the luxury ambience of the G80, which helps set it apart from expensive competitors. The controls in the G80 are easy to reach, despite the car’s size, and are augmented by the controls for the entertainment system and cruise control found on the steering wheel. The seat is quite comfortable — even on longer drives — and visibility as well as the lighting used throughout the cabin serves the driver well at night. There is also plenty of storage space and comfortable spaces for the rear-seat passengers.
The Genesis G80 Prestiges is powered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine with turbocharging and direct injection. The engine is matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The result is a powertrain capable of producing 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque.
The model I drove was the rear-wheel-drive version and equipped with driver-select mode control. The G80’s combined fuel-economy rating from the Environmental Protection Agency was 22 miles per gallon, which includes a 19 mpg rating in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
Genesis is the somewhat-still-new luxury brand from Hyundai. The South Korean automaker has displayed a knack for integrating the very latest technology into its vehicles and the G80 comes with an impressive array of safety and tech features, including driver-assistance technology such as forward-collision avoidance, driver-attention warning, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot assistance and rear-cross-traffic alert.
It also comes with rain-sensing wipers, high-beam assistance, parking distance warning, rear and surround-view monitor with blindspot monitor and a head-up display. It also has 10 air bags, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a 12.3-inch center stack screen for entertainment and navigation information.
The Genesis G80 has ample power for pulling away from a stop light as well as catching and passing traffic on the freeway. The shifts are smooth and nicely calibrated, and turbo lag was undetectable. The best parts of the G80 were its impressive driving dynamics, which includes a smooth ride over all kinds of road surfaces. The steering wasn’t too loose or too tight and the brakes were also first rate.
The driving dynamics in the G80 were aided by the electronically controlled suspension, which helped the car over lumpy surfaces and maintained level as moved through curves or climbing a hill. The G80 does not pretend to be an off-road vehicle so we did not take it any dirt or gravel roads. But I am sure the suspension could handle them as well.
2021 Genesis G80 RWD Prestige Specifications:
|Dimension||L: 196.7 inches/W: 75.7 inches/H: 57.7 inches/Wheelbase: 118.5 inches|
|Powertrain||3.5-liter turbocharged V-6; 8-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel Economy||19 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway/ 22 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $59,100; As tested: $66,645 including $1,045 destination and delivery charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
If you are looking for a smart sedan that will look good in your driveway or at the curb and prefer a car to a utility vehicle for carrying passengers in style, then the G80 is a good bet. The car is impressive and has a presence that indicates luxury and prestige.
It’s also a nice car to drive. It has plenty of power relative to its size. It is also quiet and has plenty of technology on board to help mitigate the stress that often comes with driving even seemingly short distances and can help keep driver and passengers safe.
2021 Genesis G80 RWD Prestige — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Genesis G80?
The Genesis G80 is a luxury four-door, five-passenger sedan. It’s powered by either a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 putting out 300 horsepower or, as was the case with our vehicle, a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 producing 375 hp.
Who manufactures the Genesis G80?
It is built in South Korea by the Hyundai Motor Group, and is the luxury division of Hyundai.
How much does the Genesis G80 cost?
Prices for the Prestige model start at $59,100. The vehicle we tested had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, of $66,645, including the $1,045 destination charge.