Genesis G80 3.3T — An all-around winner

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Earlier this year Genesis was named the top ranked luxury automaker in Consumer Reports 2018 brand ratings. Genesis also finished second behind Porsche — and ahead of such vaunted nameplates as Audi and Lexus — in the latest J.D. Power APEAL study, which measures customer satisfaction with a brand. These and other accolades are astounding considering Genesis was spun off of parent Hyundai Motor Company less than three years ago, and currently has only two models.

Spend time in the mid-sized G80 sedan and you can understand why awards are coming to the young brand. It's a top-flight car with a winning exterior design, a spacious well-designed interior, and the latest in infotainment and safety technology — and all three models of the G80 come with a vast array of standard features for the base price.

Genesis also sells the larger G90, which in its previous life was the Hyundai Equus. Later this year Genesis will expand its lineup adding the compact G70 sports sedan. In future years, a crossover SUV and other models will be in the works.

Until this year, the G80 was offered with two engine choices — the excellent 3.8-liter V6 making 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque and the big 5.0-liter V-8 making 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The standard 3.8 is supremely adequate  and a good all-around value for an entry-level luxury car (0-to-60 in 6.6 seconds) while we think the V-8 is a bit over the top with poor gas mileage and an excessive price of entry.

For 2018, the Genesis has answered the call with a G80 that adds a terrific compromise between the base 3.8 and the big V-8 with a new 3.3T Sport trim level. Powered by a turbocharged V6 and underpinned by an adaptive, performance-oriented suspension, the 3.3T Sport infuses the lineup with a level of performance that's on par with its European competitors. The turbocharged V6 delivers 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque giving the G80 a great combination of handling and performance. All three engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic.

Performance for the 3.3T has been measured at 5.0 seconds from 0-to-60 with a quarter mile time of 13.6 seconds at 104 mph. Turbo-lag is something you think of after parking the car — "hey, I don't remember any turbo lag." Add all-wheel drive to the mix and you get an athletic feel that can respond to any traffic eventuality with a smooth urgency — and it can handle the wintertime chores of negotiating less-than-optimal roadways.

The sedan is pleasant to drive and the interior is amazingly quiet. Several of our passengers at different times commented on the interior solitude even at interstate speeds. The adaptive suspension evens out body movements while still delivering a supple ride — even over broken roads. And when you feel the urge to push it on a stretch of winding road, the G80 3.3T Sport is happy to answer the call with excellent grip.

Because of a three-inch increase in the wheelbase over the original Genesis that reached market in 2009, rear-seat legroom is abundant. The roomy cabin offers comfortable seating both front and aft and a center stack that is not overdone with buttons and controls. Things we most like such as the audio and climate systems feature good-old fashioned knobs such as volume and tuning, and cabin temperature. All of the climate controls can be accessed without going into the center display screen. Such niceties as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard as is a 17-speaker Lexicon surround sound system. Heated and ventilated seats have been redesigned for more support and feature double stitching for a more luxurious appearance including premium leather throughout the interior. The G80 also features a full-color head-up display.

Likewise, virtually every modern safety device is offered — at no extra cost. No need to buy a separate safety suite as is the case with virtually every other automaker. Standard safety includes such things as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver attention alert, blind spot protection with cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with stop/start, a multi-view camera, and rain sensing wipers.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Genesis models is that they come so well equipped for the base price that options — although available — are generally not needed. This includes a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and Hyundai's now famous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Base price for the standard 3.8 is $42,725 including destination charge. Our performance-oriented 3.3T AWD goes out the door for $58,725.

Base price: $58,725; as driven, $58,725
Engine: 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 365 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 376 foot-pounds @ 1,300 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 118.5 inches
Length: 196.5 inches
Curb weight: 4,500 pounds
Turning circle: 36.2 feet
Luggage capacity: 15.3 cubic feet
Fuel capacity 20.3 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 17 city, 24 highway, 20 combined
0-60: 5.0 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Cadillac CTS, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series

The Good
• Impressive list of standard features
• Excellent performance
• Quiet, roomy interior

The Bad
• Rear seat headroom somewhat compromised

The Ugly
• Some may complain over ride quality