2021 Genesis G80: What a Premium Sedan Should Be?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Gazing at the next-generation Genesis G80, it’s not hard to believe that the fledgling brand’s design boss once penned the lines of Bentley models.

All-new for 2021, Genesis’ midsize sedan aims to lure premium shoppers out of their German machines and into a Korean conveyance. The brand obviously doesn’t see this as a step down. Far from it.

With its resculpted body oozing the brand’s “athletic elegance” design philosophy by the bucketload, the G80 — now riding atop a new platform shared with the GV80 crossover — kicks its previous engine roster to the curb. It its place are a brace of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines.

Genesis signatures abound on the G80, from the corporate “Crest Grille” to the over/under “Quad Lamps” that appear front and rear. Those twin light bars make an appearance on the front fenders, too, where they double as turn indicators. Spotting a G80 at night shouldn’t be difficult.

Rear-drive at its core, the G80 takes the long hood/short deck proportions of its predecessor and enhances them, adding a flowing roofline that terminates in an Audi A7-like fastback. Unlike its German rival (can we call the A7 a true rival?), the G80 does not feature a liftgate.

Unsullied by unnecessary creases or trim pieces, the G80’s flanks come together with a strong line that originates at the headlamp/grille meetup point, travels aft just below the beltline, and terminates at the taillamps. It creates a flow that, truth be told, most would likely describe as either sporty or elegant. 20-inch wheels compliment that design language.

Mission accomplished at the Genesis design studio?

Going back to the Bentley connection, Genesis claims that line is “inspired by the elegant look of several venerable classic cars.” It’s up to you to ID the make and model of the vehicles currently filling your subconscious.

Under hood, the old 3.8-liter V6 and twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 are out, as is the 5.0-liter V8 seen in Ultimate variants. In their place are a turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque and an uplevel turbo 3.5-liter V6 good for 375 hp and 391 lb-ft. Compared to its predecessor, the new base mill generates 11 fewer horses but offers up 18 more foot-pounds. The top-flight engine exceeds the previous turbo six by 10 horses and 15 lb-ft.

As before, an eight-speed automatic is the sole gearbox on offer, with all-wheel drive remaining an option.

While the power boost and thriftier base offering are a nice inclusion, the weight loss afforded by heavier use of aluminum in the G80’s body (it’s down 243 pounds over the 2020 model) should bolster any increases in fuel economy.

Inside, Genesis has afforded the G80’s cabin the same treatment as its GV80 platform mate. Open-pore wood and leather abound, with the gauge cluster now replaced by a 12.3-inch digital affair. A lengthy 14.5-inch infotainment screen juts from the top of the dash.

Technology also abounds, from the Highway Driving Assist II system that handles smart cruise, lane holding, and lane changing duties when activated, to standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and a blind spot monitoring system that actively setas out to prevent collisions with moving vehicles.

Due out later this year, the Genesis G80 is expected to follow the brand’s MO of undercutting German and Japanese rivals in price while trumping them in standard content. Pricing and fuel economy figures will have to wait until closer to the G80’s on-sale date.

[Images: Genesis Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
4 of 58 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Mar 31, 2020

    When those engines make their way into the G70 and Stinger... I'll be very happy.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Mar 31, 2020

    Four cylinder? On their flagship? Sorry, I know a V8 has higher internal friction, but a V8 also has the unmistakable sound and feel a big, expensive car should have.

    • See 1 previous
    • Hummer Hummer on Mar 31, 2020

      Doesn’t even need to be flagship, all 3 of these vehicles should be optional with a V8, if not outright standard equipment.

  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon