2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport Review - Turn It On Again

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

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.
2018 genesis g80 awd 3 3t sport review turn it on again

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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  • Whatnext Whatnext on Jul 19, 2018

    "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.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Jul 30, 2018

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

  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.
  • Inside Looking Out Thieves are gradually winning the war with law enforcement in America not only in California and that is the tragic fact. They would rather put in jail police officer than thief.
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