2018 Genesis G80 Sport Review

2018 Genesis G80 Sport - A dash of Sport makes all the difference.


The G80 sits squarely in the middle of Genesis' three-sedan lineup. Smaller and less expensive that the G90 and larger and more expensive than the new-for-2019 G70, the G80 is a midsize luxury sedan that competes with vehicles like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Volvo S90. The G70 is offered with rear- or all-wheel drive and has a starting price of $42,050.

For 2018 the G80 gets a new Sport trim, enhancements to the automatic transmission and an exterior and interior freshening that incudes new front and rear fascias, new steering wheel, and additional wood and metal trim. Genesis also added pedestrian detection and driver attention alert as standard safety features.

Three models are offered. The G80 3.8 comes with a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine. The G80 5.0 comes with a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. The new-for-2018 G80 Sport comes with a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 that makes 365 horsepower. All models get an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning. Features on the new Sport include a 9.2-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging, 17-speaker premium sound system, continuous damping control suspension and unique interior and exterior trim. All G80 models offer 3-year/36,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance and valet service and connected services.

While the 3.8-liter V6 provides adequate, drama-free acceleration and the 5.0-liter V8 jumps off the line, the new turbo 3.3-liter V6 allows for an interesting compromise between affordability, performance and economy. Step on the gas and the G80 will accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 5.5 seconds -- very quick for the class. More so, the engine is refined and smooth and works very well with the crisp-shifting eight-speed automatic to provide strong highway passing punch.

EPA numbers for the rear-drive 3.3-liter G80 come in at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Opt for all-wheel drive and the highway number drops by 1 mpg. While the 3.8-liter runs fine on regular-grade gasoline, the 3.3- and 5.0-liter engines require premium gasoline for best performance and economy. In routine suburban commuting, the 3.3 is likely to yield about 20 mpg overall. That's not very impressive, made worse by the request for premium fuel.

Like most luxury sedans, the G80 comes with rear- or all-wheel drive. Obviously, all-wheel drive makes more sense in northern climates. But honestly, all-season, or better yet, snow tires make much more sense for Chicago winters. Even when equipped with all-wheel drive any luxury sedan will slip and slide all over a snowy road if it has typical touring or sport tires.

Intended to be a sporty luxury sedan, the G80 mostly fits the bill -- especially with the Sport package. However, at more than 4500 pounds, it is significantly heavier than the competition. Though that weight isn't felt in routine driving, it's a detriment when the road gets twisty as the G80 lacks the agility of its sport-minded competitors. The weight is not all bad though as it combines with a 112-inch wheelbase and sophisticated suspension to provide a surprisingly supple ride.

Driven quickly around curves and bendy on-ramps, the G80 takes a solid set and holds the road well. There's only a hint of body lean and the suspension keeps the G80 from getting upset by bumps or expansion joints that might be encountered mid-turn. Brakes have great stopping power and the steering, though a trifle numb at speed, is delightfully quick and accurate.

On the whole, the G80 offers a good balance of ride comfort and handling prowess. In addition, interior noise levels are among the lowest of any car in the class.

Inside materials are beyond reproach, but the G80 is awash in buttons and knobs. This leads to a somewhat busy feeling that's passé in luxury sedans. Thankfully two large gauges face the driver and there's a handy information display for things like audio and fuel economy. The center stack boasts a large touchscreen that is also controlled by a console-mounted jog dial. Ancillary controls abound, but are placed fairly conveniently and are intuitive in operation. The infotainment system supports both Genesis' in-house system and Android Auto and Apple Car Play.

The Genesis G80 has a roomy cabin with plenty of front and rear room. The only shortcoming might be rear head room for taller folk. Front seats are well bolstered and extremely comfortable. Rear seats are also nicely padded, but really only offer room for two adults.

With more than 15 cubic feet of space, the G80 trunk is one of the roomiest in the class. In addition, the rear seatbacks fold and there's a power-operated trunk lid option. With just a few open and covered bins throughout, Interior storage isn't as good. There are two USB ports though, one for charging and one for media connection.

The Genesis G80 is all about more. More passenger and cargo space, more features and, most importantly, more value. The G80 undercuts comparably equipped rivals by thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. That being said, does it measure up to true luxury sedan standards? In a word, yes. Driving dynamics, features and refinement all match the best in the class. The only glaring stumbles are its portly weight and vast array of interior switchgear. If you are in the market for a mid-to-large luxury sedan, the Genesis G80 might be new name to consider.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.