The 2022 Genesis G80 Sport First Drive: Putting Luxury Performance Brands on Notice

Genesis G80 Sport Featured Image

Genesis packs this high horsepower sedan with passion-driven details, and we love it.

We’ve seen this trend forming and we really like it: Auto makers focusing on what people really want in their cars and not so much on what they don’t. The drive experience that makes us smile, the comfort touches that make us happy. When it comes to luxury sedans, that means performance as well as pampering: high horsepower, fast acceleration, tight cornering and a luscious interior that gives you the feeling of flying in a cloud, which is the idea behind the 2022 Genesis G80 Sport.

This model carries the name ‘Sport’ to designate that there’s nothing ‘base’ about this model. The G80 Sport model, which has a starting price of $63,000 and can be had for a hair under $70,000 fully loaded, features the more popular V6 375 horsepower engine. The ambition ramps up from there, adding power, options and true sport features that make driving this mid-size sedan a joy. 

A Girls Guide To Cars | The 2022 Genesis G80 Sport First Drive: Putting Luxury Performance Brands On Notice - A View Of The Profile Of The Genesis G80 Sport

A view of the profile of the Genesis G80 Sport of the profile of the Genesis G80 Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

“Sport” Puts This Genesis in the Game with German Luxury Sport Sedans

Not that Genesis wasn’t already competitive, offering more horsepower and luxury features for the price than many of its competitors. However, in dubbing the G80 models “Sport,” the brand puts this model squarely in competition with the BWM 540i, the Audi A6 55 TFSI and the Mercedes-Benz E 450, all of which feature more sport specs and larger engines than their base models. 

To take on competition, the G80 Sport added sportier tuning and some truly track-worthy details. They include: 

  • Rear wheel steering, which allows the rear wheels to turn up to 2 degrees for a tighter grip on curvy roads; 
  • Sport+ Mode, which tones down traction control letting the driver take more control of the car (this is where drifting happens)
  • Sport tuning through an electronically controlled suspension that actually reads the road conditions, such as hills and curves, to optimize performance 
  • Launch control, which allows the driver to rev the engine and release the brake for a drag-strip style launch (on closed roads, of course!)
  • Monobloc Genesis branded brakes, which can be seen through the wheels
  • Summer tire option for optimal road grip in the right conditions (a.k.a. warm weather)
  • Reduced cabin noise and for models with the summer tire option, an active noise canceling system
The View From The Driver'S Seat In The Genesis G80 Sport

The view from the driver’s seat in the Genesis G80 Sport. The center console is anchored by the infotainment dial, the dial gear selector and drive mode buttons. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Sportier Look and Feel Continues Inside the G80 Sport, Too

For luxury sedan buyers, there’s a lot more to “Sport” than just engine power. On the outside, Genesis added a 20” sport wheel option—the same wheels you’ll find on the sport trim of the Genesis GV70 SUV—as well as sporty features like metal pedals, aluminum trim details and two new colors for 2022: Siberian Ice and New Cavendish Red. 

Inside, however, the G80 Sport lives up to the luxury promise of the Genesis brand. We’ve already gushed about how much we love the media control dial and the gear selector. But consider that leather is a standard feature in the G80 Sport—Nappa leather in the loftier Prestige trim—as are the advanced safety features, massaging seats and panoramic sun roof. Features like head up display, 20” wheels and smart park assist  —including the remote feature that you can operate with the key fob— are included standard on the Prestige trim. 

But it’s the Nappa leather and microsuede headliner that really got me. It’s indulgent. It’s opulent. It’s more comfortable than you can imagine. And it smells like heaven. You want to focus the rear view mirror on the seats and keep your hands on the ceiling because it’s that beautiful (well, at least in the cream-colored Anthracite interior we test drove). 

The Genesis G80 Sport Monitors Your Attention, Both With This Graph (Center) And The Attention Minder Indicator That Lets You Know That Traffic Is Moving

The Genesis G80 Sport monitors your attention, both with this graph (center) and the attention minder indicator that lets you know that traffic is moving Photo: Scotty Reiss

Driver Assist and Safety Features that are a Step Beyond — Thankfully

On my test drive I found myself on a busy highway with a steep grade and trucks merging slowly into my lane. I noticed because the car told me. I was using adaptive cruise control and suddenly, could feel the car slowing, the steering wheel tugging a bit to the left and then quickly, a warning light flashed on the driver’s information screen. It was the safety system kicking in to warn me that a large object was headed toward my lane and I was grateful; I saw at the truck and was never in danger, but the Genesis is a bit more pragmatic than I am; it wanted to move out of the truck’s way sooner than I did.

And that’s just one of the features at work in the G80 Sport. Genesis has always been a leader of ‘more luxury for the money’ and they get it right here, too: driver assist and safety features are not only standard, but enhanced, with even more features in the Prestige trim. The technology uses cameras to warn you of vehicles leaving their lane for yours, notifies you of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles in your way and enhances adaptive cruise and lane departure assist. Steering assist helps you get out of the way of errant mergers, and blind spot monitoring displays a video image of the lane beside you when you tap the turn signal. The Prestige trim adds lane change assist and rear park collision avoidance so you won’t bend your bumpers. And as I found out, I really like all this technology. 

I Really Love The Panoramic Sun Roof In The Genesis G80 Sport

I really love the panoramic sun roof in the Genesis G80 Sport Photo: Scotty Reiss

Ample Rear Seat Luxuries

Rear seat passengers won’t feel overly spoiled but they won’t feel forgotten, either; there are plenty of reasons to feel happy in the rear seat. It starts with the legroom, which is roomy, and the leather seats. The comfort continues with USB ports in the center arm rest (which folds out of the way if you need a fifth seat). In our Prestige test model, the rear seats were heated, activated by buttons on the center arm rest control panel, which also had an electronic rear sun shade control, nice for keeping the  harsh afternoon rays from spoiling your nap. Passengers can also control their climate settings and put up or down the sun shades on the rear door windows. All pretty nice.

On This Day, The Genesis G80 Sport Took Us To The Beach

On this day, the Genesis G80 Sport took us to the beach Photo: Scotty Reiss

SUVs: The Gateway to Luxury Sedans?

Genesis has reported record sales each of the most recent months and is on track for a great year. Not a surprise given how much world class luxury the brand delivers for the price, the planned growth of this emerging brand and the introduction of its first two SUVs in the last year. But what was surprising is that sedan sales — the G70, G80 and G90—are also up. Customers are drawn in by the SUVs but often gravitate to the sedans for the sporty drive experience, the features and simply, the commitment to luxury. And we’re not surprised. Genesis puts all its passion into everything it does, eliciting a drive experience that makes you smile and comfort that makes you happy. Isn’t that the point? 

The Elegant And Lovely Media Selector Touchpad And Dial, Flanked By The Gear Selector Dial

The elegant and lovely media selector touchpad and dial, flanked by the gear selector dial Photo: Scotty Reiss

Disclosure: I was Genesis’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss