What is luxury? Is it a certain experience, a pre-established or agreed-upon level of quality or performance? Or is it simply aligned to a limited number of badges or brands? I’ve always had the impression that it’s sort of like pornography, you know it when you see it. Or actively search for it, whatever, that’s not the point. Genesis, as a company, will be seven years old this fall and they are banking on buyers seeing plenty of luxury in their lineup. They loaned me this G80 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige for a week and I had a lot of thoughts about it.
2022 Genesis G80 Overview
While Genesis as a brand is relatively new to the luxury market, after living several years under the Hyundai umbrella, the G80 is already in it’s second generation. The first generation (DH) debuted for the 2017 model year and presented an impressive and handsome entry into the “executive car” class (or to dumb it down, “midsize” as we call it in the U.S.). With a chiseled exterior and similar lines to the smaller G70, we are now on to the second generation (RG3) G80. I’ll assume “RG3” is likely not in reference to a Washington
Redskins Commanders quarterback whose jersey I bought right away and subsequently donated to Goodwill. But stranger things have happened. Oh I get it, that’s why they named that Netflix show…never mind.
The 2022 G80, much like the G70, comes with a choice of four or six-cylinder power. The 2.5L turbocharged four puts out a respectable 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft, putting power to the ground via a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The turbocharged 3.5L V6 that came in our tester ups the ante to a stout 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft. You’ll get the same eight-speed automatic as standard, and all 3.5T models come with standard all-wheel drive.
The base 3.5T without any options will set you back an $63,700. Naturally, Genesis have some ready-made option packages for you to choose from. The base “Sport” is included with the 3.5T, but you can ramp up to the “Sport Prestige” packages, both of which require a choice of tires. Most buyers will likely go with the all-season tires depending on where they live, but if you find yourself in need for some summer rubber, it’ll be another $500.
Regardless of which Prestige you go with, you’ll get upgrades like:
- Nappa leather upholstery
- Microfiber suede headliner
- Sport-tuned stability control, 20-inch alloy wheels, rear-wheel steering
- Active noise control (with summer tires)
- Head-up display
- 12.3-inch 3D digital gauge cluster
- Carbon-fiber interior trim
- Rear automatic braking
- Remote automated parking system
Our loaner added $575 for Tasman Blue paint. So, as you can see above, you’re looking at a bit north of $70,000 for a loaded G80 sedan. Let’s see what’s what, and how it stacks up to the established competition.
2022 Genesis G80 Inside & Out
Genesis is beginning to establish a clear design language with a grille, headlight, and taillight shape that are consistent across many of their sedan and SUVs. It’s well orchestrated repeating the same pattern seen in the DRLs along the side just aft of the front wheels, and out back in the G80’s taillights.
While I’m not a fan of the dimpled wheel pattern, the overall execution of the exterior is first rate and emulates much more expensive luxury sedans. In fact, compared to recent six-figure Bentley and Rolls Royce sedans, it’s actually a bit prettier.
It’s the interior that really impressed me through the course of my week in the G80. It’s an impressive mix of upscale feel and fantastic ergonomics. While the carbon fiber dash inserts aren’t my style, and don’t really fit the aura of the car, the rest is very well executed. There are tons of high-quality touches on everything from the wiper stalk to the radio volume control on the steering wheel. Speaking of buttons, there are plenty, a nice change from the incredibly minimal approach on some newer vehicles. The 14.5-inch touchscreen looks great perched atop the dash and mercifully does not look too tacked on like in some other systems. The Genesis infotainment system works well and the integrated Apple CarPlay looks great up on the large screen.
Criticisms were minimal, I noted that the gap between some buttons seemed slightly off. At a minimum the spacing between some of the silver buttons sitting atop the HVAC controls was a bit inconsistent. Minor to be sure. From a usability perspective, I’m not sure I like the rotary dial that you can control the system with. It looks great, mounted just forward of the gear-shift-dial, but in practice I found myself leaning forward to just use the touchscreen.
Oh and the damn thing had massaging seats! More on that in a bit.
It’s a roomy thing too, with tons of space in the back seat and in the trunk. Back seat passengers get a generous 38.7 inches of legroom, a full four inches more than in the G70. You’ll get 13.1 cu. ft. of space in the trunk, more than enough for hockey duty. Plus having a power trunk is luxury, if you disagree, you’re wrong.
2022 Genesis G80 On The Road
Out on the road, the G80 is a legit GT cruiser. It’s quick, car mags have pegged it at sub-five-second trip to sixty mph. Like the G70, the Sport Button does ramp up the experience a bit. The good noises increase, and it genuinely feels like it’s actually more fun to drive. However, changing drive modes could be a little more entertaining. The small anonymous button doesn’t feel all that special. I suppose it’s a luxo-focused car, so I get it.
Opting for Sport Plus turns off the traction control, which I wasn’t really looking for in a $70K loaner that’s not exactly track-focused. I turned it back on and it defaulted back to regular Sport mode. Alrighty. When the road gets twisty, the side bolster squeezes in around you through tight turns. It’s another small detail that I really enjoyed, even if the G80 isn’t going to see any track time.
The G80 also has an autonomous driving system, sorry, sorry, a semi-autonomous driving system, and it’s actually pretty good. I could let it dial in the steering for a good stretch of highway, just touching the steering wheel occasionally before it yelled at me. If if you see a hard curve coming up it’s best to start preloading the steering wheel in the right direction, but overall it worked pretty efficiently. Combined with the radar cruise system, it would be a great companion on a long street highway. The only issue was that it gets a little confused with exit lanes, sometimes it almost started to follow them but corrected to stay on the highway. Just a reminder, these are made to help you drive, not drive for you.
Motorized sunshades are also luxury.
So, back to that massage setting. It’s fantastic, but is only available for the driver. As you can see in the photo above (left) you can choose between a few options one of which is the…pelvic massage. I dubbed it the “cheek spreader” at some point on Twitter, the multiple massaging points really do some work on your glutes. The other settings do a great job of working your lower and mid-back regions, and I now know that I need a car with a driver’s massage feature.
There was some pain to go along with the pleasure. The photo above (right) shows the part of the door that took my hand hostage temporarily. Based on where the door pull is situated, when I pulled it closed I managed to get my hand caught in the door. Still not sure how it happened and whether it was the car’s fault or my own. Also, the metal speaker housing (pictured in the interior gallery above (middle-right) gets really hot! I accidently leaned my leg against it on a hot spring day and it hurt like hell.
Pleasure and pain, the story of my week in the Genesis G80.
Still, through all of that strife, most of which was my fault, I left with an overwhelming good impression of the G80. It’s a fantastic car and comes in competitively priced compared to competitors like the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E450 and features more power and more room inside. Plus, in my opinion, it’s better looking.
The clean exterior design, combined with an ergonomic and upscale interior, make the G80 a “must see” for anyone shopping for a premium midsize sedan. I’ve been a fan of a lot of what Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis are doing, and the G80 just continued that trend. It’s quite a thing.