I remember driving the first Genesis when it arrived in Australia back in 2015. It wasn’t a Genesis 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: that’s a little confusing. Then: wow, this is really something. And later: 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.

So, more than ever, the question remains – could you, would you, pay that much for a Hyundai? Sorry, make that Genesis — because a badge can’t hide its origins.

Genesis 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.

The interior 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.

To set the mood, Genesis 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 ‘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.

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.

Highlights include a huge 14.5-inch touchscreen, Augmented Reality navigation, 12.0-inch Head-Up Display 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.

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 Digital Signal Processing, 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 occupant.

The petrol four-cylinder unit delivers 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque, with drive to the rear wheels.

The twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 which we drove produces 279kW and 530Nm, with power to all four wheels.

Both are fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission, with rev matching and steering wheel mounted gearchange paddles. A backlit crystal gear shift rotary dial takes the place of a shift lever and uses much less space in the centre console.

The safety package is extensive, starting with 10 airbags, including centre bags Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist provides Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection, Junction Turning Junction Crossing function, Lane-Change Oncoming/Lane-Change Side function and Evasive Steering Assist function.

Smart Cruise Control offers Stop & Go function plus Machine Learning function.

The system combines Artificial Intelligence with Smart Cruise Control to learn driver patterns and habits, tailoring acceleration and following-distance.

The Genesis G80 is a big, impressive-looking car. 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 features a signature Crest grille with G-Matrix pattern and the two-stripe quad headlights are born out of the Genesis emblem crest and wings, showcasing the new design identity.

There’s oodles of room in the back, along with a biggish boot.

We were not so keen on the Swedish-look wood trim in the test vehicle, but that’s a matter of taste.

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 uses a windscreen-mounted camera to detect speed bumps and potholes, preparing the dampers for them in advance. How cool is that?

Smart Parking Assist 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. But we did on occasion identify a one second delay between punching the throttle and the car responding.

Suffice to say it all feels very satisfying, apart from a slight twitchiness from the adaptive suspension.

With a 73-litre tank, claimed fuel consumption is 10.7L/100km and it takes premium 95 unleaded. We were using 11.5L/100km.

They’ll see you coming in this one – Genesis has come a long way in a relatively short time.

The hard part of course is going to be enticing badge tragics away from the established German brands.
But in answer to our original question: Is the G80 worth it? The answer is: You bet what’s not to like?


Genesis G80 2.5T RWD, priced from $84,900
Genesis G80 3.5T AWD, priced from $99,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Genesis dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Genesis G80 3.5T Luxury, 3.5-litre twin turbo V6, 8spd automatic, Active on-demand electronically controlled AWD)

Capacity: 3.5 litres
Configuration: Petrol V6
Maximum Power: 279 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 530 Nm @ 1300 – 4500 rpm
Fuel Type: 95 RON, E10 compatible
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 250 g/km

DRIVELINE: 8spd automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4995 mm
Wheelbase: 3010 mm
Width: 1925 mm
Height: 1495 mm
Turning Circle: 11.62 metres
Kerb Mass: 2023 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 73 litres

Front: Ventilated discs with 4-piston Monobloc fixed calipers, 360 mm x 34 mm
Rear: Ventilated discs with 1-piston floating calipers, 345 mm x 20 mm

Five years / unlimited kilometres

Looks: 8.5/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 8.5/10
Thirst: 7/10
Practicality: 7.5/10
Comfort: 8/10
Tech: 8.5/10
Value: 8.5/10
Overall: 8.1/10

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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