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2021 Genesis G80 First Look: Serious Business

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Auto123 gets a first look – and touch – of the revised new 2021 Genesis G80 luxury sedan.

The Genesis brand will soon be celebrating its fourth anniversary. Right from the start, it offered us three sedans, the G70, G80 and G90 – and that’s remained the extent of its offering ever since. This year, however, things are happening: it's coming to us with its first SUV, the GV80, and presenting an overhauled G80 sedan. Within three years, the automaker will offer us at least six new vehicles, including a sports car and electrified products. In short, fasten your seatbelts, the company intends to show it means business.

Case in point of course is the next-generation G80 sedan. At the company's invitation, we went to see the model up close in one of the boutiques it offers its customers in lieu of traditional retail outlets Forget Genesis dealerships, the brand’s business model is different.

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A true Genesis
The G80, you may recall, was actually born as a member of the Hyundai family, back in 2009. In 2015, a second generation emerged. In both cases, the models made an excellent impression overall with automotive media; the second in particular gave us an idea of what the brand could do.

However, asking a luxury sedan to make its mark on a competitive market from the starting point of a mass-market manufacturer, well it’s like asking a gifted athlete to single-handedly drag a team to a championship; it's a pretty tall order.

That's why the Genesis G80 has a better chance of making its mark as part of a full-fledged luxury brand. That's why Hyundai created the stand-alone Genesis brand, by the way.

2021 Genesis G80, profile
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2021 Genesis G80, profile

As for the next generation of this G80, it's expected later this year. So we haven't driven it yet, but what we have done is go meet it in person, sit down in it and get a decent first impression.

Impressive
That's the first word that comes to mind when slipping inside the cocoon of the new G80. It’s pretty near impossible, in fact, not to be charmed by what you see.

First, you get a beautiful visual presentation. Better yet, wherever you put your fingers, what you touch exudes quality. As for the seats, they are firm, enveloping and soft all at the same time; a marriage as rare as it is perfect. The pattern on the seats sends the explicit message that you’re in classy luxury car.

On the multimedia system's 14.5-inch screen, the menu is punctuated by 15 icons that represent as many submenus, and we understood immediately it would take hours to discover all its intricacies and features, far more time than we had at our disposal. Needless to say, everything’s there and then some.

2021 Genesis G80, interior
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2021 Genesis G80, interior

The little time spent browsing through the menus did reveal an application offering a series of ambient sounds (ocean waves, rain, fire, among others). These can be selected to be played through the 21-speaker Lexicon channel. Among the other features is an app that lets the user enter their height and weight so that the car can helpfully adjust the seat position accordingly. Not exactly essential stuff, but these are the kinds of gadgets that help your luxury car stand apart from the others.

The ergonomics seem excellent, but it’s only in sustained use that that really be judged. In the back, comfort is divine; the seats are of a rare level of comfort for a back row of seats.

Under the hood
As complex as the Genesis multimedia system can be, the actual product offering is wonderfully simple. When the new G80 does show up at brand boutiques, two models will be offered. The first, 2.5T Advanced, features a 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine generating 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. The second, 3.5T Prestige, is powered by a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 engine making 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission will be associated with both engines.

2021 Genesis G80, front
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2021 Genesis G80, front

Pricing
In each case, Genesis Canada's advertised prices include everything. This includes transportation and preparation, but also a host of services offered by the brand, such as five-year valet maintenance. The two variants are offered at $66,000 and $76,000, respectively.

A caveat?
While all of this sounds very interesting, what will be worth watching is the response from consumers. Without a welcoming embrace from them, the brand won't last long. The problem is that Genesis is taking a unique approach with its boutique-and-online shopping approach that foregoes dealerships. Will customers struggle to adapt? Will the current pandemic speed that transformation along?

Genesis clearly aims to be different and is not afraid to take risks. It's refreshing, too. However, are the customers ready?

For those wondering about model maintenance, it will be carried out at designated Hyundai dealerships.

2021 Genesis G80, badging on hood
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2021 Genesis G80, badging on hood

Conclusion
Going by the reliability of recent Hyundai products, there's not much to fear from vehicles carrying the Genesis badge. On their merits, we have no problem recommending these models. And for those who want to take a different tack than the masses driving around in BMWs, Audis and the rest, these value-packed luxury models constitute a mighty attractive proposition.

Will Genesis be a success? The answer, as mentioned, will depend on consumers. But there’s no denying that the company, especially with the debut this year of its first SUV the GV80, is in the process of giving itself all the tools it needs to catch up with the likes of Infiniti and Acura.

2021 Genesis G80, rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2021 Genesis G80, rear
Photos:D.Boshouwers
2021 Genesis G80 pictures