By on July 12, 2018

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport front quarter

2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport

3.3-liter turbocharged V6, DOHC (365 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 376 lb-ft @1,300-4,500 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

17 city / 24 highway / 20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

21.2 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $58,725 (USD)

As Tested: $58,725

Prices include $975 freight charge.

For those of you keeping score at home, this is indeed the second Genesis G80 I’ve driven in the last few months. While my February drive of the 3.8-liter V6-powered G80 revealed a budget competitor to underpowered four-cylinder models from Germany, note a few extra letters on the trunklid of this car.

This 2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport is, well, a mouthful — but those extra badges reveal a car with a bit more character than the solid but appliance-like car I drove previously.

Does the Sport trim make this big sedan a lion to the standard lamb?

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport profile

Genesis made a few significant tweaks to transform the G80 into a Sport. The most significant is the engine — a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6, shared with the Kia Stinger and the new G70. Power increases from 311 hp to 365 hp, while torque bumps from 293 lb-ft to 376 lb-ft. All of that twist is available as low as 1,300 rpm, which gives the G80 Sport a much more playful character than the 3.8-powered standard model.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport front

The turbocharged engine simply transforms this car into a legitimate sports sedan. It doesn’t have the hard edge of the performance-branded versions (think M, AMG, or RS from the German marques) but this G80 Sport is incredibly fun to drive, especially considering its size. The big Genesis can dance.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport rear

Look at the rear of the car, and you’ll see more than badges. This G80 Sport trim has a quartet of oval exhaust tips, rather than the pair of polished trapezoids on the standard G80. The alloy wheels on this Sport trim are a bit wider than those fitted to the standard model, as well — and staggered with an extra half-inch on the rear for an aggressive stance.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport badge

I’m smitten with the unusual copper/bronze highlights on the G80 Sport. Found on the center caps of the wheels, the badge on the nose, and surrounding the grille, it’s a subtle, striking touch that I haven’t seen elsewhere. So many other midsize sports sedans remain a grand parade of lifeless packaging. This Genesis stands out, subtly.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport gauges

Yes, I’m aware there is snow in a few of the photos. We had an unusual spring here in Ohio, and I’m a little behind on writing. Give me a break, please.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport interior

While the leather seats fitted to this G80 Sport are quite comfortable and supportive, they do lack bolstering to better support a driver trying hustle down a twisty road. I found my rear sliding — my rear, not the planted rear of the car — when diving into a bend in the road.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport front seats

It’s not often one can use both the heating and cooling functions of a seat in one week, but, again, Ohio. The heated seats lulled the wife to sleep on a cross-town drive, and the cooling did well to temper a sudden wave of warm black leather.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport rear seats

The legroom afforded to rear-seat passengers is impressive. The kids never kicked me in the back, except when they tried to get me to stop singing. My 5’8” wife sat behind me, and still her knees never touched my seat. She reported a tranquil ride and better-than-average seat comfort.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport dashboard

When I tested the standard G80, I lamented that too many of the interior controls too closely resemble those fitted to more pedestrian Hyundai models. The interface on the eight-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, specifically, seems nearly identical to those found on a Sonata or Santa Fe. On reflection, however, I don’t mind it so much.

[Get new and used Genesis G80 pricing here!]

Hyundai got its controls right — no real reason to change something that works so well when installing a similar system in an upscale model. Perhaps I’d change the font or colors, but I know what I like. No need to change what isn’t broken.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport infotainment

While the standard Genesis G80 is a pleasant car in it’s own way, there is something about this G80 Sport that reaches in, and grabs right hold of your heart. Certainly the German marques have dominated the sports sedan market for decades, for good reason, but this is a worthy challenger. After all, if you don’t stand up, you don’t stand a chance.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport rear quarter

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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58 Comments on “2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport Review – Turn It On Again...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Uggh, Phil Collins, he ruined that band. Kinda the same way Michael McDonald killed the Doobie Brothers. That is a busy dash, I like the Chrysler clock, nice touch. I’d like to throw one of these into a few corners to see what it feels like. Sharp looking car.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Collins actually was in Genesis for a LONG time before they “sold out”.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        I know, but he was the “face” of the sellout and Genesis sounded like his solo efforts toward the end. Genesis was better when Peter Gabriel was steering the ship. McDonald worked with Steely Dan and was with the Doobies before they sold out, but again, he was the driving force behind it.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Listen to Collins’s drumming with Brand X, then listen to any of the stuff from Mike + The Mechanics, then listen to “Domino” and “The Brazilian,” and only then tell me who was truly responsible for “ruining” Genesis with pop. Prog, especially prog Genesis, is amazing, but prog had to die with the ’70s in order for popular music to move forward. You can’t just keep making Foxtrot and Selling England over and over.

      The McDoobies…I will say Michael McDonald’s voice is more quickly tiresome (if that makes sense), but at least the musical structure is more interesting than the earlier stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        jfb43

        Love the Squonk reference at the end.

        The best Genesis album came, IMO, right after Gabriel left – A Trick of the Tail. Were it not for the “pop” sound that came with Collins (mainly after Hackett left – that dude does not get the credit he deserves) then I would have never gotten interested in the band, and would not have been able to appreciate the amazing prog stuff they made.

        Oh, and rad car, too.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I’m sorry, but this Hyundai press release type review should not have taken several months to write.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think this review could have used a bit more meat on its’ bones, but I’m with Chris – I like the G80.

    Hyundai’s performance tuning has gotten dramatically better in recent years.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Do these cars drive like equivalent class German cars (5 series and E class)? In other words, is the solidity up to par? What the durability of the interior like?

    • 0 avatar
      bpscarguy

      EXACTLY what I want to know as well. I have been looking at one of these (an awd, non sport version) as a replacement to my E Class. Love the styling, space, equipment for money and overall value. Should be cheaper and less frequent to service than the Benz. However, the Benz does feel like a rock and the interior materials hold up well. I wonder what a Genesis with 50-75K miles on it will look/sound like?

      And as the next comment notes, I have also been looking at a Lexus GS and more casually an Infiniti Q70. Tough choice. The Lexus and Infiniti have no question about long term reliability, but the Genesis is a bit more of an unknown.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Having had one as a rental recently, no. No idea on the durability of the interior as it was new.

      As I have said before, a Genesis look like a luxury car until a real luxury car roll up.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Lexus GS intenders, your alternative has arrived.

    I like it. Perhaps not as much as the G70, but its a good looking car, inside and out.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    God if that infotainment screen display isn’t a straight rip off of iDrive. Wow.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Besides switchgear and infotainment shared with other Hyundais, the gauge cluster looks pretty much identical to what’s in my Cadenza. I wish Kia used that blue IP lighting instead of red, though.

    I’ve always liked this car. The styling inside and out just looks “right” to my eye, and there’s an excellent chance a G80 will replace my current driver when its lease is up.

  • avatar
    pprj

    So this or the V8 5.0 model?

    Price is basically the same.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If you ever rev your engine over 3000RPMs then get the V8, otherwise get the 3.3T.

      I haven’t driven the the G80 Sport, but I driven the old Genesis R-Spec & the G80 5.0. Although the Tau V8 is a nice engine and moves the G80 with authority, it’s not a Warhammer like something from AMG or SRT and it doesn’t make you think you’re on a DTM grid like something from Audi or Maserati.

      It’s a lot like a big power version of the UZ from the LS430. It puts a priority on smoothness and linearity.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    “…a grand parade of lifeless packaging.”

    Are you Rael?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    A terse review.

    I noticed, the EPA ratings for this car, which are pathetic. My GMC 1500 with the 6.2 liter V-8 (420 hp/440 lb.-ft torque) prolly weighs close to 1000 lbs. more, empty and, in the real world exceeds its 22 mpg EPA highway rating by 1-2+ mpg, depending on whether I’m driving 80 or 60 mph. It also seats 5 with with lotsa legroom and has AWD.

    Of course my truck is speed governed at less than 100 mph and, no doubt, would be seeing the receding tail lights of this car on a mountain road. But those EPA ratings are pretty sad.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I can’t figure out what it is about Genesis interiors. They have all the “stuff” you’d expect to see in a luxury car interior – a T-shaped column shifter! some “chrome” trim! ribbed leather! a touchscreen thingy! – but, bleh. They look like what you’d get if you told a designer to make real a hastily-drawn clipart of a generic “luxury” car interior that could be used for stock footage without looking too much like any actual car. I know that the Asian market tends to be more conservative than ours, but if I’m buying a luxury car, I don’t want to feel like I’m in a Donfeng ripoff of a Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I watched a couple of current Genesis reviews on YouTube. One thing that stuck out was a reviewer that (paraphrasing) said: “If you are trading up from a mass market brand or you’ve never had seat time in anything nicer than an Acura, this interior will impress you. However if you are familiar with Mercedes Benz E/S class or with a BMW 5/7 series you’ll be able to detect the cost cutting.”

      That I believe is the essence of most people’s “problem” with Genesis. Remember though a loaded Genesis is roughly the same price as a “base” version of it’s German/Japanese competition.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Everyone is trying to be Oldsmobile.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        It’s not just materials and cost cutting (which I’ve never touched or felt, having never been in one), it’s also the styling. I drive an Alfa Giulia, which is marginally less expensive than this car and a lot smaller but the interior actually _looks_ like something, other than what a midwestern housewife would describe to a police sketch artist when asked to describe a car.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The G70 has a nicer interior than the Giulia, as well as being nicer than the F30 3 Series.

          Presently, the only competitors with a nicer interior are the C Class and A4.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            The G70 doesn’t appear to be widely available yet (I was disappointed that its release date kept slipping and I never got to test drive one before I bought my Alfa), but its interior certainly looks less like it’s in witness protection.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “The G70 has a nicer interior than the Giulia, as well as being nicer than the F30 3 Series.”

            You’re missing his point. No one is saying it isn’t nice. They’re saying it has zero style, sex appeal, panache, whatever. Take a risk, be bold, do something different. High quality blah is still blah.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’m sure TTAC would love you to do a long term test of your Giulia, astigmatism. Inquiring minds definitely want to know.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Happy to provide my thoughts, FreedMike. In extreme brief, I get more driving enjoyment out of the first turn of the wheel on a winding road than I did out of three years in a GTI, which was already a fun car. Engine is laggy off the line but winds out brilliantly above 1500 rpm. Ride is probably better than anything else in the class with 18-inch wheels, but busy with the 19s. The interior can be a bit gaudy in red and boring in black, but the Crema interior in the Ti Lusso with wood accents is gorgeous. Back seat is tight compared to the Germans, not as tight as the XE or the ATS but don’t buy it if you have big midwestern teenagers. Trunk is tiny. The infotainment interface takes a _lot_ of use before it can be day-to-day useful (no touchscreen in a $50k car in 2018?).

            All of that you can figure out on a test drive. In terms of long-term notes, there’s a funny chemical smell occasionally after driving at speed, and the car threw up an “Automatic Transmission Failure” warning at 1600 miles that grounded me for a weekend but turned out to be a sensor issue resulting from bad voltage coming out of the battery, and since the battery was replaced 4000 miles ago I haven’t had any more problems.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Exactly and precisely my issue with these cars (and the KIA Stinger too). Every single thing about them is just slightly below what owning a bunch of European cars has set my expectations to be. The only thing they do better is go faster in a straight line for less money, and I am not racing anyone so I just don’t care. A 250ish hp turbo 4 will get you a ride in the back of a cop car so fast it will make your head spin, why do you need more than that? What’s the point? And Korean ponies always seem to be a little smaller than their German counterparts…

        You will never, ever, forget that you didn’t spend the money for the real thing when driving the cheaper imitation. Or, as I have also said a million times, if you can’t tell (or just don’t care) what makes a BMW/MB/Audi better than a Camry (or Genesis/fancy KIA), enjoy your Camry and spend the extra money on something else that makes you happy.

        • 0 avatar
          ernest

          I did- a Charger R/T. Still don’t care what makes the premium German cars tick. Went through that phase of my life 25 years ago. I’m good now.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Pretty much. I don’t have much experience with the $70K+ offerings, but in the sub $60K range I just don’t ‘feel’ the European vehicle superiority. I don’t hate the German cars or anything, but I wouldn’t pay a premium for something like a 3-Series or A5 either.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “spend the extra money on something else that makes you happy.”

          Such as going fast in a straight line.

  • avatar
    bd2

    While the G80 Sport is sportier than the non-Sport models, wouldn’t exactly call it a sports sedan – largely due to its size (bigger than the norm for the midsize segment) and weight; the smaller G70, otoh, is a proper sports sedan.

    The next gen G80 should lose some weight (thanks to a new RWD platform that will be shared with the Genesis CUVs), but should remain about the same size.

    It should also get a bit more sportier, but don’t think Genesis wants its mid-size (or full-size) sedan stray too much from the Mercedes-end of the luxury spectrum (more emphasis on comfort) as opposed to to sportier-end a la Cadillac, Jaguar and Alfa Romeo.

    The sheetmetal should get a pretty drastic overhaul as it will get the Essentia design language, but more importantly, the interior should see a major upgrade (right now, its weakest point).

    Presently, the G70 has a higher-end interior than the G80 with every metallic surface being the real thing (as opposed to silver painted plastic; in the G80, it’s a mix of the 2) and having more soft-touch, leather adorned surfaces.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “Presently, the G70 has a higher-end interior than the G80 with every metallic surface being the real thing.”

      The funny thing is the reason for that genuine metal is… KIA Stinger. Kia wanted the real thing an as the G70s platform mate that pushed the real metal trim.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    memo to the Genesis press office: a dark gray car with dark wheels in early spring = ugly photos.

    Try lending out more white Genesii with shiny wheels to the press.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    So.. Sat in one to see how it compared to the Stinger. Definitely felt a little more luxury, but that HUGE center console (too wide), overall, the front dash is huge (top-to-bottom), and the trunk harder to access than the Stinger. All this matters: we have kids, we travel sometimes, and we’re relatively tall.

    My wife and I both grew up with SMALL center consoles (80s VWs, both manual and auto) and more legroom UNDER the dash. Stinger is loads better there than the G80.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is probably a nice ride but again is ruined by what looks like a lack of front interior passenger room. Did you really need to make the center console ten to twelve inches wide?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The G70’s biggest flaw is its lack of interior space (esp. at the rear).

      Making the same mistake that Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar and Alfa have made with the ATS, IS, XE and Giulia.

      Should have kept an extra 2-3 inches for the wheelbase.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        So the G70 and Stinger share a platform. I’ve seen more than a few Stinger reviews and even when Alex Dykes (at 6 ft tall) adjusted the driver’s seat for himself and climbed into the backseat – he was fine. Knees just as the seat backs but not splay-legged or like trying to get into the back seat of a Mustang.

        Unless Hyundai came up with a really messed up rear seat design for the G70, I don’t see how it could really be a problem.

        The ATS on the other hand… well the Alpha platform is freaking tiny! What did you expect?

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          While the 2 share the same basic platform, the G70’s wheelbase is about 3 inches shorter and the overall length, is about 6″ less in length.

          Being a fastback design, the Stinger is longer a la the 4 Series GC (compared to the 3 Series) and the A5 (compared to the A4), but even more so.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Well there go any G70 thoughts… I don’t even have to bother considering it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Every inch counts.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Eh upon reflection I’ll wait for Alex D to review one and see how much trouble his 6 ft tall frame has getting in the backseat. I’m amazed how many auto reviewers don’t even try to get into the backseats of vehicles with more than 2 doors.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      I rode in a “regular” G80 a few months ago. Once I got in the car, I was fine but it was the ingress/egress that was a deal-breaker for me. I’m a big guy – 6’4″ close to 300 lbs. I had to uncomfortably crane my neck just to get in and out of the car.
      For all of its size, the front door openings are very small. I have an easier time getting in and out of the 2018 Volt I just leased.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I can’t tell from the photos and because of this example’s dark colors: Is that–and I’m making up my own terms here–a “bridge-type” console or a “bulkhead-type” console. At least the former would allow you to stash a purse or a briefcase out of the way. Regardless, the console still is too wide.

      It’s not going to happen, but (as discussed in a thread or two over previous months) I’d love to see a manufacturer have the chutzpah do something like a StratoBench in a passenger car. My pick-up use skews older and smaller, but 2018 full-size trucks do offer something like the StratoBench, don’t they?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Chris, Some candid feedback:

    – You’re extra efficient with your words. Too efficient. I got very little sense of what this car is like to drive, how it handles, how it directly compares to others in it’s class and

    – How are the seats compared to others it competes with?

    – How’s the stereo?

    I hope in future reviews you show off a little, go over the word count and delve a bit further into why someone would or wouldn’t choose this.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    At least no one glued a tablet on the top of the dash and called it a day on this one. Much better integration of the touch screen.

    The analog clock does look oddly out of place though.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    “I’m smitten with the unusual copper/bronze highlights on the G80 Sport. Found on the center caps of the wheels, the badge on the nose, and surrounding the grille, it’s a subtle, striking touch that I haven’t seen elsewhere.”

    Actually the Chrysler 300 has been offering that look with the Alloy package for a few years now.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’d like one. Just without those ugly wheels and any interior color that isn’t black.


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