Genesis making its mark after Hyundai spinoff

G80 Sport follows beat of a different drummer

First Phil Collins left Genesis (old guy music reference). Then automaker Hyundai spun off Genesis.

The first solo act worked out quite well. This second single could be a hit, too.

Genesis, which became Hyundai’s luxury brand as of 2017 models, comes in two rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan variations, the full-size G90 and midsize G80. We recently drove the latter and there is plenty of goodness to discuss.

The G80 offers tremendous value with a load of posh and features for a beginning price of $41,750. Prices escalate from there with Premium and Ultimate editions but so do the amenities. Our tester was a new Sport ($55,250) with a twin-turbo engine and, wait for it, optional all-wheel drive. That’s right, for $2,500 all-wheel drive is available on all trims. Have you driven in snow and ice lately? You know the benefits.

At 196.5 inches in length, the G80 Sport has almost outgrown the midsize class. Passengers front and back get ample space and the leather seating surfaces are supple and supportive. There is heat in all positions and ventilation up front. Access and exit are aided by a high roofline.

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The G80 is more stylish than eye-catching, although a quick glance from afar might mistake the Genesis logo for that of a Bentley. The large crisscross grille, wheel caps and lighting all have chrome accents on the Sport.

While the standard G80 engine is a 311-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6, the Sport comes with a 365-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6. Test results show that this powerplant helps the heavy car (4,658 pounds) go from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds. Most noticeable is that the peak 376 lbs.-ft. of torque is reached at 1300 rpm. Vroom. The ride and handling, even with the Sport label, 19-inch wheels and adaptive suspension, lean more toward compliant manners wished for during an elegant night out on the town.

Back inside what is noticeably lacking is any outside noise. This is a quiet vehicle. A 9.2-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated steering wheel, 17-speaker audio system, and high-tech Apple CarPlay and Android Auto add to the driver’s living room appeal. The trunk can be utilized via a hands-free power lid. A host of safety features provides a sense of security.

Genesis might have a way to go to lure luxury buyers from European and Japanese models, but with its price points it is sure to attract a whole new customer base.

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