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Silvios Ride Nov 09, 2018

2018 Genesis G80 3.8 AWD

 

The Rock of Gibraltar, on wheels

 

Plus: Balance, refinement, poise, space, comfort, value, warranty

Minus: Check back later . . .

 

G80 3.8 $41,7550; as driven w/AWD $45,280 (18/25 city/hwy MPG)

G80 Sport (365HP, $55,250, 17/25 city/hwy MPG)

G80 Ultimate 5.0 (420HP, $57,995, 15/23 city/hwy MPG)

 

Welcome to the world of Genesis. This is the Genesis G80—a mid-size “executive express” with all, or at least most, of today’s performance, luxury and safety toys. Would you feel differently about this handsome car if you knew that it was a Hyundai? The Koreans evidently think so, as they’ve made Genesis a stand-alone brand, like Lexus is to Toyota and Acura to Honda.

Good move. This car—any car—deserves to be judged on its own merits. The G80 has many merits. Let’s start with the engine: Here, it’s a 3.8-liter direct-injection V6 that makes 311 horsepower and almost as much torque. It drives either the rear wheels or, in this case, all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission that can also be shifted manually.

Overall, the G80’s dynamics are outstanding. The transmission changes gears without a hiccup and the thrust builds like the climax of a symphony. The ride is first-class and the G80 is whisper-quiet. It reminds me of the very first Lexus, the LS400 that shocked us all with its refinement and value in 1989. Something else that struck me right away is these massive doors and how they swing shut. They feel like they belong on an underground bunker. Reassuring!

The G80 doesn’t try to cover any new ground in design, performance, materials or even electronic knickknacks. Instead, it makes the best of the status quo. Technologically, it should satisfy any digitally obsessed Millennial, but it won’t frustrate his or her parents, either. Drivers and passengers of any age will be impressed by its handling, performance, ride and comfort. The G80 sits in its own sweet spot; it is unusually well thought out and balanced in every way.

I am hard-pressed to find anything to complain about in this excellent car. But I can try: The satnav takes a few seconds too long to boot up. I’d have put the e-brake switch right next to the gearshift. And did Hyundai really have to crib its badge from Aston Martin? Otherwise . . . I can’t even whine about the price. Our well-equipped G80 3.8 cost $45,280, delivered, with AWD. Yes, that’s 10 grand more than the average new car in America—but this is a luxury car and it costs thousands (and thousands) less than the European and British sedans it competes against. Bravo, Hyundai.

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