2021 Genesis G80 Preview

Jack R. Nerad | Mar 30, 2020
FAST FACTS
  • Completely redesigned midsize luxury sedan
  • Turbocharged engines with rear- or all-wheel drive
  • Dramatic exterior design featuring current Genesis styling themes
  • Upscale, minimalistic cabin rendered in rich-looking materials
  • New 14.5-inch widescreen infotainment system display
  • Next-generation driving assistance systems
  • On sale in U.S. in second half of 2020

Introduction

Genesis is moving quickly to assert itself in the competitive luxury segment, as evidenced by the redesigned 2021 Genesis G80 midsize sedan. In a statement, William Lee, executive vice president and global head of the Genesis brand said, "The core of our brand lies within the G80."

The new 2021 G80 emphasizes design, technology, safety, and performance. Immediately recognizable as a Genesis, the sedan embodies the brand's new Athletic Elegance design language, which also graces the much-anticipated 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV and the 2021 G90 flagship luxury sedan.

2021 Genesis G80 Blue Green Front Side View

Though Genesis is owned by Hyundai, the G80 uses a rear-drive platform that is exclusive to the brand. Two powertrains will be available in the U.S., a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a turbocharged V-6. Official pricing has not been announced, but we expect that when it goes on sale in the U.S. later this year the base model will be priced at around $45,000.

Exterior Features

Derived from the company’s winged logo, the crest grille design and accompanying Quad Lamps headlight arrangement is the new corporate face of Genesis. The new G80 incorporates them in an attractive, contemporary way.

In expressing the brand's Athletic Elegance design philosophy, the designers of the G80 try to strike a balance between athleticism and elegance. On the body sides a character line sweeps from the headlights all the way to the base of the pronounced rear spoiler. The coupe-like roofline sweeps into a fastback tail with a steeply sloping trunk lid. In profile, the most prominent element is the illuminated side decor that echoes the design of the quad headlights and matching taillights.

A chrome strip runs from the base of the front wheel well to the rear wheel well and then continues from the back of the rear wheel well to the bumper. Substantial 20-inch 5-spoke chrome-finished wheels are an option, giving the G80 a sporty look.

Interior Features

Despite a high beltline and relatively small side windows, Genesis designers wanted a bright, airy interior for the G80. To help accomplish this, thin windshield pillars, a narrow set of air vents running across the dash to define different interior zones, and even a smaller rearview mirror all contribute to this feeling of openness. Genesis refers to this aesthetic as the “beauty of white space."

The minimalistic air extends across the low dash. Control buttons, knobs, and switches are kept to a minimum not only for design reasons but also to foster ease of use. The head-up display and the 14.5-inch infotainment display that seemingly springs out of the dashboard contribute to the cockpit's feeling of openness.

The 12.3-inch electronic instrument cluster mimics traditional round dials, offers information in a choice between two- or three-dimensional views, and it is easily visible through the 4-spoke steering wheel. The heating, ventilating and air conditioning controls are fairly conventional, while a Genesis Integrated Controller for the infotainment system is placed near the rotary-dial gearshift on the center console. It enables users to avoid complicated and time-consuming keyboard operations to set destinations and enter telephone numbers by simply writing the desired information on the handwriting recognition pad.

The leather seats have embossed squabs and they match the leatherette, soft-touch dashboard covering. Air cells within them offer active motion massage and automatic posture correction, and both the front and rear seats are available with heating and ventilation. Open-pore wood trim lends an exclusive ambiance to the cabin.

Optional Features

Genesis has not announced trim levels and options for the U.S.-spec G80, so we don't know for certain which features will be standard and which will be on the options list.

One interesting feature that is likely optional is the Remote Smart Parking Assistant (RSPA). Unlike similar technology in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata and 2021 Hyundai Elantra, this version of RSPA autonomously parks the G80 in both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces with the driver sitting in the car or standing outside of it and using the key fob. It is the same version of RSPA used in the Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell electric vehicle.

A Lexicon premium sound system that delivers a variety of listening modes including what Genesis calls "Quantum Logic Surround Audience Mode/Stage Mode" is also a likely candidate for the options list.

Under the Hood

For world markets, the 2021 Genesis G80 will offer three new engines, but only two of them will be available in the United States. The 2.2-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine that offers 210 horsepower won't be available here in the U.S.

Instead, the G80’s base engine is a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that will deliver 300 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 311 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,650 rpm to 4,000 rpm. As an upgrade, a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 brings a hearty 375 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 391 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,300 rpm to 4,500 rpm. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive an option.

With those impressive power numbers, the G80 promises to be competitive in its segment. However, we expect the new G80 will go about its business quietly, at least from the inside. Genesis engineers have taken several steps to quell noise, vibration, and harshness, including improved door sealing, enhanced engine-compartment sound insulation and sound-reducing wheel designs.

The adaptive suspension includes Road Preview, which uses information provided by a front-mounted camera to see the road ahead and adjust suspension settings to deal with upcoming bumps.

Safety

The all-new Genesis G80 is stuffed with standard active and passive safety systems, including some leading-edge pieces of technology.

A prime example of that is the sedan's Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning (SCC-ML). Going beyond adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, SCC-ML uses artificial intelligence to enable the system to "learn" the driving characteristics of its drivers.

The G80 is also equipped with Highway Driving Assist II that offers help and guidance in a number of situations including lane-change maneuvers and situations in which a vehicle merges into your lane immediately in front of you.

Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and active blind-spot assistance are also offered for the new G80. An array of 10 airbags includes a center airbag between the two front-seat occupants that helps prevent driver and passenger from coming into contact during a side-impact accident.

Technology

From the posture-correcting driver's seat to programmable engine sound under acceleration to a full-function infotainment experience, technology abounds in the G80.

Operated via the Genesis Integration Controller or the 14.5-inch touchscreen display, the infotainment system includes functions like Genesis Quick Guide information and valet mode. The latter enhances personal security by ensuring that personal information does not appear on the infotainment screen while the car is valet parked…or driven by your teenager. The navigation system is ready for over-the-air updates, and fully supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

A dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system offers independent content viewing for each seating location, and Genesis also installs an air purification system in the G80, which continually measures interior air quality. Through a smartphone app, owners can also remotely monitor the G80 and its surroundings.

Genesis is the source of the information in this article along with some speculation by our editorial team. It was accurate as of March 29, 2020, but specifications may have changed since that date.

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