Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: August 17, 2017
This is what Genesis should have started with and slotted into their opening vanguard: the G80 Sport, a pimped out version of the standard fare G80, which used to be called the Hyundai Genesis. What used to be a good looking sedan, is now a damn good looking sports sedan: quad pipes, copper accents on the grill and headlights, and some of the most beautiful center-lock-like wheels in the segment. The surge to the top starts with this.
The changes are more than skin-deep too, with a borrowed 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that used to only be available on the larger G90. It sits right between the naturally aspirated 3.8-litre V6 (311 hp) and 5.0-litre V8 (420 hp) still offered for the G80, and produces a respectable 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. The Sport also gets a stiffer suspension, adaptive dampers, larger brakes, and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system (no RWD in Canada).
Despite peak torque arriving at a low 1,350 rpm, hints of turbo lag muffles any instant source of power delivery. The new 8-speed transmission is good and keeps up with shifts, but feels catered towards a smooth transition rather than a quick dash to the finish line. The 3.3L is a smooth operator but therein lies the rub. It feels neither eager nor urgent. There is an abundance of power but the G80 Sport delivers it at a relaxed pace, which isn’t a bad thing but it is deceiving when the badge on the back says Sport. The 3.3L is incredibly powerful with more guts and vigour than the 3.8L, and has a meatier low- and mid-range thanks to the pair of turbochargers, but it ultimately lacks the linearity and buildup offered by the other two engines.
Ask me to summarize the G80 Sport in two words and I’d tell you this: quiet luxury, though I’m not sure that’s exactly what Genesis is aiming for. Like the previous G80 and G90 I’ve driven, the G80 Sport is still more luxury than sporty in terms of handling and driving dynamics - tires are especially a weak point. The G80 also understeers at the limit, but at slower pedestrian speeds it rides quite nicely: soft on the damping and absorbs enough of the bumps to offer a clean cut ride through even the roughest parts of town.
Turn-in with the G80 Sport is quite responsive and athletic. It is not as lithe or as agile as its competitors like the BMW 540i or Cadillac CTS, and weight is definitely a problem but it’s trying. The G80 just feels like there’s a small anchor dragging down on each of the wheels. The steering is also lacking in the feels department and doesn’t inspire much confidence. Accurately placing this mid-size boat is quite an endeavor.
The G80 Sport may not be the fastest or more exhilarating mid-size sedan to drive, but it’s suave and focused. Sport may be in its name, but comfort is the real game. Case in point is the pleasant exhaust note that isn’t disruptive to the drive or impactful in any manner, but it does mildly resonate into the cabin letting drivers know the heart's still beating.
The interior is what will undoubtedly attract most buyers - Genesis’ real obstacle is actually getting prospective shoppers into their cars to experience it, because it is a lovely place to spend time in. With materials and a layout worthy of the German premium, the G80 Sport keeps up in this regard. Glossy finishes, convincing plastics, and quality feeling buttons place this G80 on the forefront of modern luxury. More of those Sport-specific copper accents make their way in here as well: steering wheel and seat stitching, and analog clock backwash.
The rotary dial to control the infotainment is useful, the dedicated buttons for the heated steering wheel and seats are a godsend, and there are little “Genesis” touches that they’ve brought over from Hyundai that the Korean brands have always done right: hitting the wiper stalk shows the wiper speed and position, and the head-up display actively shows if there are any cars in your blind spot, and also on which side.
The one thing that bugs me, and I’m not sure why Genesis decided it was a good idea, is the replacement of the traditional PRND gear shifter with a design that operates like the outgoing ones in FCA products (Jeep and Maserati). Instead of dragging the lever down through the slots, this one works as a lever, whereby you push or pull it into gear, and it flings back into a neutral position. Furthermore, you select Park not through the lever but through a separate button hidden in front of the shifter. Not sure how many Genesis customers would appreciate this unintuitive mix-match of gear selection.
Nevertheless, the G80 Sport is a wonderful addition to the portfolio and injects emotion and sporting appeal to their new premium brand. All it needs now is more recognition, more exposure, and more halo cars to make the brand relevant enough for people to actually notice it, instead of asking me, “is that a new Bentley?” or “that’s a great looking car but what is it?” Little do they know that the G80 Sport ($62,000) is much cheaper than power-equivalent rivals like the Cadillac CTS V-Sport ($77,270), and the Mercedes-AMG E 43 ($79,900) as well.
I’ve gotten nothing but compliments driving the G80 Sport but no one has actually recognized it. It’s a problem that lies with every new automotive brand entering this daunting market, but even without brand cache or a rich heritage, the Genesis has the right ingredients to make it happen. With a silky smooth powertrain and an upscale interior, the G80 Sport is a giant step forward in that direction.
型号 Model: 2018 Genesis G80 Sport
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $62,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $62,000
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,010
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,990 / 1,890 / 1,480
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,120
引擎 Engine: 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 - 4,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 13.8 / 9.7 / 11.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.2
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Front P245/40R19; Rear P275/35R19