Driven: 2017 Genesis G80

Driven: 2017 Genesis G80

Once simply the most luxurious of Hyundai cars, Genesis has become its own brand.

2017 Genesis G80 is one of two models that are part of Hyundai's new stand-alone luxury lineup | Larry Edsall photos

2017 Genesis G80 is one of two models that are part of Hyundai’s new stand-alone luxury lineup | Larry Edsall photos

Once simply the most luxurious of Hyundai cars, Genesis has become its own brand. For the 2017 model year, the “luxurious Genesis G90 flagship” and the “mid-luxury Genesis G80” come with the “Genesis Experience,” which Hyundai says includes an industry-best warranty with three years of 36,000 miles of:

  • Valet service appointments (when your car is scheduled for service, someone from the dealership picks it up and leaves you a loaner; service completed, your car is returned to you and the delivery person leaves in the loaner).
  • Complimentary scheduled maintenance (you don’t pay for recommended factory maintenance, including oil changes).
  • Genesis Connected Services (including automatic collision notifications, enhanced roadside assistance, remote starter/locking/horn/lights, stolen vehicle recovery/slowdown/immobilization, speed/curfew alert, Sirius XM traffic and data, and other services provided via apps and Google.

 

And don’t worry, Genesis vehicles also are covered by Hyundai’s 10-year/10,000-mile powertrain warranty, seven-year rust protection and five-year vehicle warranty coverage.

2017 Genesis G80 we tested has V8 under its hood

2017 Genesis G80 we tested has V8 under its hood

But the big deal is the “Genesis Experience,” which is designed not only to “elevate” the luxury-vehicle ownership experience but to demonstrate that “time is the ultimate luxury.”

We can’t really evaluate the full “Genesis Experience” after only a week-long test drive, but we can report that the G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate was a large and comfortable luxury sedan with all sorts of electronic controls on the center console that kept an 11-year-old grandson busy and entertained as he explored the boundaries of the audio and navigation systems, and even how soon his grandfather would realize that his seat-heater/cooler had been switched on.

Much to our mutual surprise, we discovered that we both enjoyed Sirius XM Channel 52: Electric Area, a channel neither of us had previously experienced, at normal let alone vehicle-vibrating volume.

In its news media materials, Genesis notes that the G80 chassis is stiffer than that of a BMW 5 Series; provides more room for people and cargo than that BMW or an E-Class Mercedes-Benz, Q70 Infiniti, GS Lexus or CTS Cadillac; and that the car comes with more standard safety features — automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control (with start/stop), blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist, high-beam assist and rearview camera — than an E300 Mercedes or even the new S90 Volvo.

Speaking of room for cargo, the trunk held my golf clubs, my grandson’s huge baseball gear bag and the folding metal and canvas chair I carry to and from his games, and still had room to spare.

420 horsepower at your command

420 horsepower at your command

Empowering the G80 we drove was a 5.0-liter V8 engine that provides 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, which flows to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

In normal driving, the engine feels more like a strong V6 than a high-performance V8, but tip into the throttle and you get the desired response as horsepower peaks at 6,000 rpm with maximum torque not available until you reach 5 grand.

Speaking of a V6, the standard engine in the G80 is a 3.8-liter V6 with 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque. The V6 can be linked to an all-wheel drive setup. Opt for the V8 and you also get 19-inch wheels with 40 aspect front and 35 rear tires, quad exhaust tips, fog lamps, a rearview camera that includes parking guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, a CO2 sensor, power trunk lid, panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof, dual-mode front ent what is? control, premium leather with power driver’s seat cushion extension and side bolsters, ventilated front seats, illuminated door sill plates, real wood interior trim with aluminum accents, Lexicon 17-speaker audio, 9.2-inch navigation screen with 7-inch screen in the driver’s cluster and heads-up display.

But the V6 folks aren’t left too far behind, and if they opt for all-wheel drive they get a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.

Base price for the V8 Ultimate version, which includes seemingly every bell and whistle, is $54,550. Our test car came with three options — cargo tray, first aid kit and wheel locks — which added $200 to the sticker.

I felt that the 2017 G80 certainly was built to Lexus-level quality and competency, was a terrific freeway cruiser — even at western-state 75-mph posted limits — and maneuvered nicely in city driving and was easy to park for a large vehicle.

When I first saw the $55,700 bottom line on the Monroney pricing sheet, I wanted to compare the Genesis G80 to the poorly received, $80,000 Volkswagen Phaeton. But after spending a week in the car, I can’t do that because the Genesis not only is less expensive, but more luxurious and dexterous.

And I imagine that “Genesis Experience” will have a lot of appeal to those who realize that time is, indeed, the ultimate luxury.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate

Vehicle type: 5-passenger sedan, rear-wheel drive
Base price: $54,550 Price as tested: $55,700
Engine: 5.0-liter V8, 420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 383 pound-feet of torque @ 5,000 rpm Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 118.5 inches Overall length/width: 196.5 inches / 74.4 inches
Curb weight: 4,541 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 15 city / 23 highway / 18 combined
Assembled in: Ulsan, South Korea

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