The 2021 Genesis G80 may be one of the newest entries in the midsize luxury sedan segment but it has quickly made a name for itself. For the amount of money you’re paying, you get significantly more than you think you’re getting, strengthen its value proposition over rivals from Europe, Japan, and the U.S. Even in lower grades, the G80, like its GV80 sibling, doesn’t skimp or punish you for not getting the priciest version. But what if you want to get the loaded version? Does the G80 retain its value proposition? Or is it not worth it? Let’s find out!
2021 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD Prestige: Will I Get a More Luxurious Car?
The nice thing about the 2021 Genesis G80 is that even the base model starts off at a high level of luxury. Like in the GV80, material quality is top-notch, there are soft-touch surfaces everywhere and everything operates with such a satisfying level of tactility that you want to keep pushing buttons and turning knobs just to hear those reassuring clicks. Moving up to the range-topping 3.5T Prestige grade only builds on that, transforming the interior into a tranquil oasis of leather, metal, and wood. As a result, this G80 test car feels more expensive than its $69,075 as-tested price (including destination fee) might suggest. The suppleness of the padding, the softness of the Nappa leather, and attention to detail elevate the cabin into something you’d think costs similar to a flagship sedan. Little details like the ambient lighting illuminating the rotary shifter, the diamond-like knurled patterns on the controls, metal speaker grilles, and matte wood trim all exude a class-above feel.
Complementing the impeccable attention to detail are seats that are both supportive yet supremely comfortable. Thanks to their extensive adjustability, it’s hard to find a bad seating position in the Genesis G80. The Nappa leather upholstery adds an extra layer of softness to them, giving you the feeling like you’re sinking into a chaise in your living room. The rear seats are equally comfortable; they’re just as soft as those in front and they’re heated too, perfect for cold days. Together with the generous head- and legroom, the G80’s rear seats are a great place to be even for long drives. In its class, the G80 is one of the quietest entires. Even when equipped with 20-inch wheels there’s barely any exterior or powertrain noise entering the cabin. You hear some tire slapping on poorly maintained surfaces but it’s so subtle that it doesn’t detract from the relaxing driving experience.
2021 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD Prestige: The Tech Goodies
User-friendly tech features remain a highlight in the 2020 Genesis G80. Moving up to the 3.5T Prestige grade adds a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a head-up display. Every G80 gets the 14.5-inch touchscreen, which is snappy responsive, and laid out logically. Submenus appear in a tile next to the one you were in, keeping things intuitive and lessening the chances of you getting lost in the settings. Despite the addition of the head-up display and digital gauge cluster, the infotainment system’s learning curve doesn’t get harder to operate. The steering wheel controls allow you to easily select the type of information you want showing. If you need to change themes or further customize the digital gauge cluster or head-up display, it’s easily done via the main touchscreen. The 21-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system is crisp and immersive, filling the cabin in rich tunes even at highway speeds. Thanks to the incredibly quiet cabin, you’re able to hear music in stunning detail, especially when you configure the unit to your liking or choose one of the preset themes.
Every G80 gets a full suite of driver assistance semi-autonomous driving technologies standard, further showing Genesis’ dedication to safety and futureproofing their vehicles. Like every vehicle built by a Hyundai Motor Group brand, the Genesis G80’s driver assistance features work with a stunning level of accuracy yet they’re not overprotective. Lane-keeping and steering assists gently keep you within your lane and allow the car to follow clearly marked roads accurately. Adaptive cruise control enables you to seamlessly flow with traffic and can adjust based on driving conditions and road information it gets from the built-in navigation system. Highway Driving Assist II, which blends adaptive cruise control, lane centering, traffic jam assist, and steering assist, allows the G80 to change lanes on its own and even react to another vehicle cutting you off. Best of all, the system takes a lot of the stress out of driving since it can operate up to a complete stop.
Customizability is a key part of Genesis’ driver assistance and semi-autonomous technologies. The G80, like the GV80, lets you tie adaptive cruise control with the car’s drive modes or allow it to adapt to your driving style. You can personalize how much help you get while you’re driving by customizing the level of response you get from each component of the car’s active safety suite. Should you keep everything on, rest assured that the G80’s driver assists will help you, not impose their will on you.
2021 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD Prestige: Does It Drive Differently?
One of the benefits of getting the V6 engine goes beyond the added power because you also get adaptive dampers. This gives the Genesis G80 two personalities. Keep the suspension in Comfort mode and it turns into a cushy highway cruiser. Switch to Sport mode and the car immediately tightens up, giving it better composure and minimizing body motions. The result is a sedan with confident handling; although it doesn’t shrink around you, the G80 remains easy to maneuver in tight streets and doesn’t protest to getting tossed around on a twisty road. AWD models send more power to the rear during enthusiastic driving and it’s most apparent when exiting a corner where additional throttle input causes the rear end to rotate, bringing the rest of the car out of the turns. The steering is communicative and accurate, giving you a good sense of what the front wheels are doing. While it’s not exactly sporty, it’s quick and responsive enough that spirited drives are still rewarding.
Regardless of which mode you keep the adaptive dampers on, the G80 remains incredibly comfortable and does an admirable job absorbing all kinds of road imperfections even while taking turns or corners. This gives the car a confident feel, meaning it never gets floaty or upset over ruts, potholes, and expansion joints. You know you’ve gone over them but no one inside the car will feel the impact even on cars with the optional 20-inch alloy wheels. The suspension is stiff to keep the car from floating around like a big barge but not so much so that it sacrifices compliance.
If you intend to get a 2021 Genesis G80 powered by the optional 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, you’re making a great choice. With 375 hp and 391 lb-f of torque on tap, acceleration is effortless. There’s zero turbo lag, too; all you get is a massive wave of power to move this 4,497-pound beast without any fuss. The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly yet smoothly. While the ZF-sourced eight-speed auto found in some European rivals is quicker, the G80’s transmission isn’t far behind and fits nicely with the car’s confident yet easy-going demeanor. When you put your foot down on the accelerator, you don’t get any jerkiness or sudden surges of power. All you’ll experience is the car gracefully leaving everyone else in the dust.
2021 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD Prestige: Redefining the Idea of Luxury
Going up the trims on the 2021 Genesis G80 doesn’t just add more equipment. In the case of the range-topping 3.5T Prestige grade, it elevates the experience and gives you a truly Korean take on luxury. The upgraded appointments build on the car’s already impeccable build quality, giving it the feel of a proper flagship sedan but in a midsize package. User-friendly yet intuitive technology adds a sense of modernity and puts the G80 at the head of its class in the multimedia and driver assistance department. A potent powertrain that delivers power so smoothly keeps the car’s serene character intact as it devours the highway. Together with a superbly tuned chassis that masterfully comfort and agility, the G80 gives you the best of everything. Balancing every aspect of a vehicle harmoniously is what this Genesis sedan is about. For that alone, going up to the highest trim keeps the value proposition alive because the additional features add way more substance than the amount of money you paid for the car.