As we all know, the large sedan market isn’t exactly booming but premium brands continue to churn them out.
In fact, every large sedan currently on the market has a luxury badge, with the exception of the Kia Stinger and Skoda Superb.
So given Hyundai’s offshoot Genesis wants to be seen as the genuine premium article, it makes sense it also has an entrant — even if the G80 will likely never shift massive numbers.
Much like Lexus, Genesis hopes to offer a product which makes too much sense not to consider.
We had the top-spec G80 3.5T AWD with a twin turbo V6 under the bonnet and a quick look at its established rivals such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class shows a strong case: at $99,900 plus on-roads it’s hardly cheap but in this segment you generally need to spend a lot more to get this many cylinders and this type of power.
The same can be said for the features list, which is stacked whether you opt for the 3.5T or entry-level 2.5T four-cylinder option: exhaustive safety gear, leather seats, genuine wood trim, heated and cooled front seats, 14.5 inch (!) infotainment screen, 12-inch head-up display, 8-inch driver display, hands-free electric tailgate, ambient lighting, wireless phone charging, 21-speaker audio system and more.
Opting for the 3.5T adds $15,000 to the asking price and on top of the bigger engine — which adds 55kW and 108Nm — also adds all-wheel-drive, adaptable electronic suspension, bigger brakes, 20-inch alloys and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
We’re yet to try the smaller mill, but the V6/AWD combo mostly proved a winner on a 1000km-plus return trip to the south coast.
The engine is smooth, offering silky acceleration from anywhere in the rev range, while the AWD was noticeable — and welcome — on a saturated Albany Highway.
The G80 succeeded elsewhere, also. Though some vibrations and tyre roar emerged on coarser regional roads, it was mostly comfortable and quiet and very much at luxury car levels around town.
We got about 8.4L/100km on our return trip to Perth, but if you don’t allow the V6 to stretch its legs a bit, you’ll be visiting the servo a lot as you’ll be in the mid-teens.
It’s also worth noting it drinks 95 RON.
On the move, the ride is suitably plush in comfort mode, though some may find sport mode a tad too soft.
We felt the ride quality overall was in keeping with the car’s character.
Its distinctive looks also got a lot of looks and thumbs up, though to be fair we felt its lights and grille combo made it look a bit like a depressed whale. The features were also mostly free of hassles. The safety tech was present without being too intrusive — with the head-up display one of the best going around.
The infotainment system is a bit tricky to use though, thanks mainly to confusing menus.
For example, we were unable to find out how to update the digital radio station list, or how to get the sat nav to allow unsealed roads when planning a route.
In fact, it tried to send us from Albany to Perth via the coast, which would have added about 300km to our trip if we didn’t know better than to not trust it.
We are usually a fan of dials controlling infotainment systems, but the G80’s proved difficult to hold on to and actually use.
Having it next to the gear selector dial could also be problematic.
We almost changed in neutral after accidentally grabbing the wrong controls.
And while interior space is suitably generous for passengers, the 424-litre boot is small for the segment.
If a big premium sedan appeals, you won’t find much better value for your money than the G80’s V6 and features list. And you don’t miss out on much for the dollar savings — save for a recognisable badge on the bonnet.
2020 GENESIS G80 3.5T AWD
- Price $99,900
- Engine 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 petrol
- Outputs 279kW/530Nm
- Transmission Eight-speed automatic, AWD
- Fuel economy 10.7L/100km