Now in the second spinoff year from Hyundai as its own luxury brand, the Genesis has quickly built its reputation as a worthy challenger in the upscale market. Style, craftsmanship and image mean a lot in the high-end segment. Value isn’t often a priority.

Welcome the Genesis. The G80 and flagship G90 are currently available only at Hyundai dealerships. But four other models and a dealership network are planned by 2021.

The 2018 Genesis is in its second year as a luxury sedan.
The 2018 Genesis is in its second year as a luxury sedan.

The Southern Korean manufacturer isn’t giving away its vehicles, but value gets equal billing with other luxury car expectations. Updates for 2018 models further exemplify the brand’s new clout. Full LED headlamps, front and rear styling, a revised instrument panel and updated technology are all new.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

A five-passenger, midsize sedan, the Genesis G80 is available in three trims, including the 3.3T Sport, my test vehicle. The Sport is performance-oriented via a twin-turbo V6 with 365 horsepower. It’s matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters.

Germany and Japanese manufacturers can’t afford to dismiss the segment newcomer. The Genesis standard features list is healthy and well-constructed. Consider: eight-way power front seats (with heating and four-way power lumbar adjustment), leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Technology features include: an 8-inch touchscreen interface, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, the Genesis Connected Services telematics system, two USB ports and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.

The new G80 3.3T Sport includes the Ultimate package (minus LED fog lights). Beyond its turbocharged engine, the G80 gets 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, sport front seats, a simulated suede headliner, carbon-fiber interior trim and dark chrome exterior trim.

The G80 adds automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection to its suite of driver aids — adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.

Front and back passengers ride in spacious, plush leather seats and in a designer magazine editor’s style nirvana. The wood trim is handsome and distributed well. The monster-sized infotainment screen features a multiple-view camera that includes around view. While passengers have it swell, the driver get the best of it with 22 seat settings.

The superior Lexicon audio system further adds to the luxury. There are 17 speakers, including two jumbo-sized stainless steel speaker grilles inset on the front doors to prove it. The console between the two back seats has several individual functions, including audio controls.

Driving the Genesis G80 Sport defines the second-year brand. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is 5.0 seconds, swift for a midsize sedan. Highway cruising is done in comfort and quietly. Maneuvering through city traffic is less worrisome with the G80’s wealth of warning systems.

Likes:

Beautifully designed inside and outside.
Spacious, plush interior.
Quiet, comfortable ride.

Dislikes:

Electric parking brake lever awkward.
Gas mileage needs improvement.

Facts & Figures: 2018 Genesis G80

Acceleration: 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
Airbags: 9.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg (city), 25 mpg (highway), 20 mpg (combined) eight-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 365.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $55,250.00.
Price As Tested: 56,225.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited miles; 3 years/36,000 miles complimentary maintenance.
Website: www.hyundaiusa.com.

What Others Say:

“Grab the thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel, toe into the accelerator, and the G80 Sport swooshes forward as if a hydraulic ram were doing the pushing.” caranddriver.com

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Audi, Cadillac, BMW and Lexus are superior carmakers, but there’s nothing like competition. The Genesis provides it, and hopefully that means the well-heeled brands can’t rest on their successes.”

 

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