More flair, adventurous design and a strong upmarket push has seen the latest-generation Genesis G80 shake the ‘limousine hire’ stigma the large sedan might’ve acquired in its earlier iteration.
As a model range, it’s proven an impressive rig that ticks a lot of the right premium boxes; one that brings different appeal to the different global markets in which it’s sold. It just so happens that in the last couple of years most Aussies’ first contact with the G80 – and indeed the fledgling Genesis brand – was often via a chauffeured trip to a formal or the airport.
The MY21 G80’s style is certainly tailored to specific tastes. It’s worked more effectively with the brand’s higher-riding GV stuff, though much of that has to do with playing in more popular segments.
In short, the G80 wanted for a bit of an identity shift – or at the least the option of one – so Sport Line (for 2.5T) and Sport (3.3T) packages have been devised to increase interest in these models. Both are overtly luxurious, but ought to benefit from a market with a taste for extra performance and a sportier vibe in its premium choices.
In the case of the turbo-four-powered Sport Line, you get more of the sporty vibe rather than the extra performance.
Not only does Sport Line bring some aesthetic mojo to G80, its additional cost (which does bring additional equipment) is less than adding the opulent and quite pricy ‘Luxury Package’.
The question is how much extra goodness and sportiness does the new Sport Line bring? What’s more – how does it affect the luxury component of the G80 formula?
The regular G80 2.5T has gone through a modest price rise recently (of $1100) and now lists for $86,000 plus on-road costs. The Sport Line package, as tested, adds a further $6000. By comparison, optioning for the full-fruit ‘Luxury Package’ commands a hefty $13k addition.
For what it’s worth, Genesis has predicted the Sport Line package is priced sweet enough that in the future around 40 per cent of examples sold will see buyers tick its box.
Our test car fits both the Luxury and Sport Line packages. Total outlay: $105,000 before on-roads.
It is worth mention buyers receive five years of complimentary servicing and Genesis also recently kick-started its guaranteed future value program, too.
Four-pot large-luxury rivals? For the level of features our loaded G80 comes with, you’ll have to walk up the range of the usual German suspects. That would be Audi A6 45 TFSI S line quattro at $113,000, BMW’s 530i at $122,400, Jaguar XF P300 AWD R-Dynamic HSE at $106,376 and Mercedes-Benz E350 at $127,100.
If the G80’s five-metre size isn’t essential you could do worse than examine the mid-sized G70, which at $76k for the larger 3.3T six engine, can be enjoyed with the Luxury Pack added for similar coin to a package-free G80 2.5T.
G80 2.5T highlights:
- 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- DAB+ digital radio
- Augmented reality satellite navigation
- Leather upholstery
- Real wood trim
- 19-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres
- Power hands-free boot lid
- LED headlights
- Automatic high-beam
- 8.0-inch instrument cluster screen
- 12-inch head-up display
- 12-way powered front seats with driver memory and four-way lumbar
- Heated/ventilated front seats
- Power tilt-and-telescoping steering column
- Remote start
- Keyless entry and start
- Wireless phone charging
- Dual-zone climate control with rear-seat temperature controls
- 21-speaker, 1050W Lexicon premium sound system
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- 345mm ventilated front and 325mm solid rear disc brakes
The Sport Line Package ($6000) adds:
- ‘Road Preview’ adaptive suspension
- Four-piston Monobloc front brake callipers
- 360mm ventilated front disc brakes
- Three-spoke Sport steering wheel
- Alloy pedals
- ‘Sport’ seat quilting
- Dark chrome exterior trim
- ‘Sport’ front and rear bumpers
- 20-inch alloy wheels in G-Matrix design
The Luxury Package ($13,000) adds:
- Intelligent Front Lighting System with Matrix LED headlights
- Soft-close doors
- Quilted Nappa leather upholstery
- Suede headliner and pillars
- Tri-zone climate control
- 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster
- Smart and Remote Smart Parking Assist
- 18-way power driver’s seat
- ‘Ergo Motion’ front seats
- Heated, ventilated, power-adjustable outboard rear seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Power rear sunshade
- Rear-seat entertainment system with dual 9.2-inch touchscreens
- Rear wireless phone charging
There are 11 no-cost gloss colours and two matte paint finishes ($2000) available. Our test car is finished in Sport Line/Sport-exclusive Mallorca Blue.
Four-cylinder versions of the Genesis G70 have a five-star ANCAP safety rating with 2021 datestamp, based on Euro NCAP assessment.
It received an adult occupant protection score of 91 per cent, a child occupant protection score of 86 per cent, a vulnerable road user protection score of 77 per cent and a safety assist score of 80 per cent.
Standard safety equipment across the G80 range includes:
- 10 airbags, including a front-centre airbag
- Active bonnet
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Evasive steering assist
- Junction turning and junction crossing assist
- Lane-change oncoming and side functions
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Driver-attention warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane Following Assist (lane centring)
- Rear occupant alert
- Safe Exit Assist
- Intelligent Speed Limit Assist
- Surround-view cameras
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Reverse guide lights
The Luxury Package adds reverse parking collision avoidance assist to the already comprehensive suite.
First, outside. What a difference and an improvement the Sport Line package makes.
The last G80 2.5T through the CarExpert review filter, an MY21 a year ago, was in stolid grey with those awful mesh wheels that have, thankfully, fallen off the equipment menu. I wasn’t much of a fan and certainly not the only critic.
Our MY22 tester’s Mallorca Blue on Sport Line 20-inch wheels with ivory leather interior is measurably more pleasing, more interesting and has more presence. It’s a cracking combo.
Climbing in, the G80 feels suitably opulent, as it should be with $19k worth of Sport and Luxury augmentation. Unlike some colleagues I actually like the funky Genesis take on stylised two-spoke steering wheel design, but I have to admit the tri-spoke Sport Line tiller does suit the cabin theme and sporting aspirations quite nicely.
Cabin execution is a real Genesis highlight, an area the carmaker clearly focuses on. The fundamental design is clean and crisp, looks richly executed and feels well-made and exceptionally tactile in most of the places where it needs to be.
Importantly, outside and in, the G80 has an inimitable identity you couldn’t confuse with another premium marque, even though some elements – like the grille – do ape key rivals.
It not only looks and feels first class but it smells good too, thanks to the aroma of the leather, which is very supple and one of the more nicely treated hides out there. Some effort has gone into keeping exposed surfaces soft to the touch and controls solid and tactile, and from the suede headlining to plush carpet there’s precious little cost consciousness.
The seating is excellent. As a default, their contours are nicely relaxed and they’re quite supportive, if a little stiff in the padding. One reason for this is that both lumbar and side bolsters are active and reshape themselves, with a bit more rib-hugging purpose, once you activate Sport mode. They can be tuned independently to taste too.
The richness continues with the novel 3D digital instrumentation and the jewellery-like centre console array, which is mirrored fairly faithfully in the fold-down arm-rest on row two, right down to the infotainment rotary plate controller. The transmission dial looks cool too; though, it does get a little clumsy to use during multi-point turns where it’s easy to grab neutral by mistake.
Frankly, the instrumentation design here is clearer and superior in execution to the fussy-skinned stuff in today’s German machinery. I could do without the blind-spot camera system but I can see how some owners might welcome the feature.
The huge 14.5-inch infotainment screen is crisp and seems underpinned with decent processing power. It pairs quickly and swaps between applications at a cracking pace.
Better still, the design of the interface and screen displays are pleasingly simple and streamlined. If there’s a quirk to the system, it’s that the screen is so large that it’s positioned away from the occupants for full viewing, and thus sits a little too far away for convenient touch interaction.
Unsurprisingly, given its limo popularity, the G80’s rear accommodation is as richly appointed as the first row. It’s very roomy in all critical respects and with the pricey Luxury pack fitted, you get mod-cons such as outboard powered seat adjustability and both heating and ventilation.
It’ll easy seat five adults with reasonable long-haul comfort but ideally the arm rest control panel really favours an occupancy of four.
Ditto the rear screen arrays in the front seatbacks. Like the first-row infotainment, the rear system is quick, clear and offers plenty of content, including media streaming. However, there’s no ‘remote’ access to whatever smartphone mirroring is going on up front.
The boot is a decent 424 litres and there’s only a ski port for through-loading longer objects. But in this car a flip-down rear seatback would surely present compromise in the rear accommodation for the sake of some extra flexibility. No great loss, then.
The smaller of the two engines in the G80 line-up, the 2.5-litre single-turbo four-cylinder petrol, still manages healthy outputs of 224kW at 5800rpm and 422Nm between 1600-4000rpm. It’s a better engine than the previous generation’s naturally-aspirated 3.8L V6, comparably offering more torque lower in the rev range.
The turbo four is backed by an eight-speed torque converter automatic and, in Australia at least, is only offered in rear-wheel-drive form.
Combined ADR fuel consumption is claimed to be 8.6L/100km. It demands 95 RON or E10 in its 65-litre tank. Performance is said to be a respectable six seconds flat and 14.1sec for the 0-400m sprint. Not too shabby for a car weighing in at around 1.9 tonnes.
Again, the Sport Line adds adaptive suspension, large four-pot front brakes (single slide is standard) and 20-inch wheels (19s are standard).
Given the Sport Line’s enthusiastic vibe, the on-road experience is surprisingly docile in Comfort mode, without much in the way of fizz or character beyond what you’d expect from a large limousine.
The engine is polite – perhaps a touch too polite – though it doesn’t necessarily lack in response or energy. If anything, the inert soundtrack is suitable enough for cruising, though it does sound like it’s working harder than it actually is when you want to get a real move on.
In its soft default setting, the suspension is also quite wallowy, offering cushioning compression and rebound that takes a little longer than you expect to settle. Sport Line or not, there’s no mistaking the G80’s inherently comfy leanings.
On the Sport Line’s 20-inch wheels, bump isolation is decent rather than rave-worthy and you do feel a lot of sharp road imperfections transmit through the cabin. On balance this is nit-picky for a general experience that’s upmarket and nicely polished in its luxury nature.
Activate Sport mode and the G80 flexes to reveal a more muscular side, though it’s largely synthetic and a little too stiffly set around the edges. The ride comfort becomes more terse, the steering is more leaden, and there’s a bit more bass and meat in the soundtrack, even though it’s sonically a bit unnatural.
Dynamically, it’s large, conspicuously heavy and quite benign. There’s ample grip and it’s surefooted enough once you get a hustle on, though there’s not much about the experience that really entices you to go looking for tight corners for the fun of it.
Sport also ups the powertrain’s enthusiasm; although, it’s not quite as polished (especially the transmission) as it is in Comfort. Swapping between the modes, it’s a little too extreme in transition and neither setting is as resolved as they could be.
Frankly, it’s tough to discern exactly what wizardry the Road Preview Electronically Controlled Suspension tech brings to the party. Does it make for a softer ride and a more even stance across lumpy surfaces? Does it augment handling? Does it make any difference whatsoever? Its functional subtleties do make it hard to judge practical effectiveness in real-world use.
The large brakes – essentially the V6TT’s ported to the four-cylinder package – bring tremendous stopping power. They do, however, have quite a ‘bitey’ take-up that initially takes a little getting used to.
But downright annoying, though, is the attention warning system, which blared at me regularly for no valid reason and perhaps needs a bit of a reboot to fix its errant calibration. Further, both the lane-following and forward collision detection systems need to be more conservatively tuned and tend to activate in situations where they’re really not warranted.
For all of its newfound Sport Line vibe, the four-pot G80 still remains a nice, fatigue-free grand tourer at best.
Nothing. At least for the first five years and 50,000km, where scheduled servicing is free. Unsurprisingly, that period corresponds neatly with the five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and five years of roadside assistance.
Genesis also offers a conditional Service Concierge where your vehicle is picked up and returned for servicing if you’re within 70 kilometres of the Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane CBD, with a courtesy vehicle offered for use while yours is off the road.
Real-world fuel consumption is fairly close to its maker’s claim, with one caveat. Around town, where the turbo four works hard, the G80 can get quite thirsty quite quickly. Out on the open road, though, a light throttle can see consumption drop into the sixes.
This is a large luxurious four-door – but a configuration that foists $19k worth of options on the lower-grade four-cylinder version is tough a case to build.
Sure, it piles the goodies very high and makes for a compelling value pitch against many key European rivals. It also has a depth of execution to back it up.
But, the Sport-iness it claims just isn’t convincing in the driving experience. This car does have many highlights but does, on balance, become a little patchy overall in that context.
The four-pot is probably a more compelling proposition at $86k without the pricey packages applied. But at $105k as tested, you’re fairly close to the $108k ask for the 3.5T Sport with more fitting twin-turbo V6 power and core upgrades such as rear-wheel steering, active noise control, launch control and a proper Sport+ drive mode.
This is probably the shrewder and potentially more satisfying G80 configuration when spending six figures – unless you are riding in the back seat of course.
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MORE: Everything Genesis G80