I remember driving the first Genesis when it arrived in Australia back in 2015.
It wasn’t a Genesis back then, but rather a model called Genesis from Hyundai, with Genesis wings on the front and a Hyundai badge on the back — just for good measure.
I remember thinking at the time: well, that’s a little confusing. Then: wow, this is really something. And later: hmmm, but would you pay $70 grand for one?
Fast forward and Genesis is now a separate luxury brand, much the same as Lexus is to Toyota, with a price tag for the flagship G80 that’s a whopping $113,000.
And so, more than ever, the question deserves an answer — could you, would you, pay that much for a Hyundai? Sorry, make that Genesis — because a badge can’t disguise its origins.
What’s it cost?
G80 is offered in two versions, both with turbocharged petrol engines,.
The 2.5-litre four cylinder turbo starts from $84,900, while the 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 is $99,900.
Both get an eight speed auto, but the four is rear-wheel drive while the V6 has the added advantage of all-wheel drive.
Matte finish paint adds $2000 to the price while the Luxury package is $13,000, bringing the total cost of our test vehicle to $112,900.
While that might seem like a lot of money, it starts to look pretty good when you price a Benz or BMW with the same level of equipment.
To set the mood, G80 has ambient lighting as well as ambient sound.
In fact, there’s six different background soundtracks, called ‘sounds of nature’ that include the sounds of a bustling cafe for all you Melbourne types.
The interior is is inspired by Korean architecture and based on the concept ‘Beauty of White Space’.
The luxurious interior comes with three-zone climate air conditioning and a choice of five upholstery colour combinations, paired with two open-pore real wood trims.
The ‘ergo’ driver’s seat has seven air cells to enhance comfort and posture.
After driving for 60 minutes the seat automatically adjusts the pelvis and lumbar portion of the cells to improve posture.
Highlights include a huge 14.5-inch touchscreen, Augmented Reality (AR) navigation, 12.0-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) and a 12.3-inch Genesis 3D instrument cluster (the latter with the Luxury Package).
A world-first, stereoscopic 3D instrument cluster uses a camera that recognises the driver’s eyes to present the display in 3D, with three themes that can be selected individually.
Augmented navigation uses the Surround View camera, the windscreen camera and front radar along with navigation data to form AR view navigation.
Additional features include wireless (Qi standard) smartphone charging, 12-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, power boot lid and a panorama sunroof.
The Lexicon audio system features 21 speakers in 17 locations, a 1050W 14 channel digital amplifier and QuantumLogic Surround (QLS) Digital Signal Processing (DSP), with Reference, Audience and On Stage Mode settings.
Tick the box for the luxury pack and you also get two 9.2-inch screens that hang off the back of the front seats, to present independent media sources to each rear occupants.
The safety package is extensive, starting with 10 airbags, including centre bags
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) provides Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection (FCA – Car/Ped/Cyc), Junction Turning/Junction Crossing function (FCA – JT/JC), Lane-Change Oncoming/Lane-Change Side function (FCA – LO/LS) and Evasive Steering Assist function (FCA w/ ESA).
Smart Cruise Control (SCC) offers Stop & Go function (SCC w/ S&G) plus Machine Learning function (SCC w/ ML).
The system combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Smart Cruise Control (SCC) to learn driver patterns and habits, tailoring acceleration and following-distance.
What’s it go like?
G80 is a big, impressive-looking car that radiates quality.
It sits a shade under 5.0 metres at 4995mm, with a wheelbase of 3010mm. It’s wide too, at 1925mm and stands 1465mm high.
The raked fastback design is more appealing and features a signature Crest grille with G-Matrix pattern, with two-stripe quad headlights.
The petrol four-cylinder unit produces 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque, with drive to the rear wheels.
The twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 that we drove delivers 279kW and 530Nm, with power to all four wheels for sure-footed grip.
Both are fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission, with downchange rev matching and steering wheel mounted gear change paddles.
A backlit crystal rotary dial takes the place of a shift lever and uses much less space in the centre console.
The broad dash is at once familiar and different, especially the choice of colours for the trim.
Patterned leather seats provide armchair comfort, massaging and hugging the driver more tightly with increases in cornering force.
An active sound system enhances the engine note, combining the actual sound from the engine and exhaust with sound generated by the audio system — to provide an effect that is synchronised with accelerator input.
Our V6 model adds adaptive suspension with ‘Road Preview’ technology, along with five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in pricey Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.
The preview technology employs a windscreen-mounted camera to detect speed bumps and potholes, preparing the dampers for them in advance.
How cool is that?
Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) allows you to park the car in tight spaces, standing outside the car and using the key fob control.
Throttle response is emphatic, tempered only by the two-tonne weight of the car.