When you’re driving the 2021 Genesis G80, you might just forget you’re in a car, not seated in the dining room of the Four Seasons.
Genesis has had to work hard to get its name in the luxury car game—after all, it can be pretty tough to compete with big names like Porsche or Mercedes-Benz—but now that it’s here, the South Korean company is making waves. And with that has come the 2021 Genesis G80, the automaker’s midsize sedan that’s going to make you fall head-over-heels in love.
Seriously. This car is outfitted with tons of thoughtful details that will make you wonder why you even looked at that Mercedes. I had a chance to take the G80 out for a test drive at the Texas Auto Writers Association Spring Roundup, and it easily ranked as one of my favorite vehicles of the day. Here’s why.
7. Luxury Interior
I had the pleasure of living in Austin, Texas while I was going to college, and the Genesis G80 reminds me of the top-tier hotels in the best parts of town. There’s warm, tan leather and seats that feel like they’re cradling you. Slightly darker, almost matte-look wooden accents provide an air of refinement. The raw metal is smooth to the touch, but it lends that chic, modern feel you’d get from a high-end hotel. It’s like sitting in the lap of luxury.
From the driver’s seat, too, everything is within reach in a way that makes you feel joyfully in command. As a shorter person, some cars make me reach to turn knobs; the G80 has everything comfortably at the tips of my fingers. That’s the kind of luxury that doesn’t come in look but in feel; the less I need to crane my body, the better.
And there’s even plenty of leg room for the rear seat passengers. It’s a sedan, so you’ll only have so much, but shorter adults could easily hop in the back. And even if you feel like you’re in close quarters, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most comfortable back seats I’ve experienced!
6. Blinker Cameras
One of the niftiest features on the Genesis G80 is the blinker camera. When you turn your blinker on, one of the circular gauges on the dashboard will change to a blind-spot camera that corresponds with the direction in which you’re turning. It lends you that extra confidence you need to ensure you won’t be colliding with anyone when you merge or make a challenging left.
POV: It’s nighttime and you’re unlocking your G80 pic.twitter.com/KRkzgI5I6q
— Alanis King (@alanisnking) April 27, 2021
5. Puddle Lamps
While puddle lamps are becoming more prominent on cars, the Genesis G80’s puddle lamp shows up when you unlock the car at night (as opposed to when you open the door) and the Genesis logo sweeps out along the ground in an obscenely crisp resolution that makes it look almost as if it’s been painted. It’s beautiful.
You couldn’t ask for more from a little detail like this one. And the resolution of the image is phenomenal. This was something I didn’t have the opportunity to see during my brief test drive, but it’s something I’ve fallen in love with as my great friend Alanis King at Business Insider tools the car around for the week.
4. Premier Audio
There’s nothing worse than a shoddy stereo system on a car—but thankfully, you won’t have to worry about any of that with the Genesis G80. Its highest trims come equipped with a 21-speaker Lexicon stereo system that makes you sound as if you’re totally immersed in the music.
3. Top-of-the-Line Infotainment System
While most every car has an infotainment system these days, no one is doing it like Genesis. The G80’s 12.3-inch touchscreen has such a crisp resolution that you’d be mistaken for thinking you’re looking at a 4k television. And while looks are only part of what makes these systems shine, you’ll also delight in how responsive this screen is. There’s no lag or annoying load time; you press a button, and it moves, as simple as that.
And the G80 also has a nifty little feature that I loved: nature sounds. Instead of traditional radio or bluetooth, you can select a more natural sound, like a crackling fireplace or birds chirping in a forest. It’s a small touch, but it adds to that luxury feel. It’s like relaxing in a spa rather than driving a car.
It also comes with optional 3D-style graphics that make it appear as if words are popping off the screen. It can take some getting used to, but it really adds to the sensation of depth that you get behind the wheel. It opens up a lot of space that you may not have even felt existed, just with one simple feature.
2. Command Center Controls
Genesis went out of its way to provide a unique and comfortable experience in its command center. In place of a traditional shifter, the G80 features a glass-and-metal rotary knob that you turn to select reverse, neutral, or drive; simply press the ‘P’ in the middle to park. To the right are several buttons you can select to change the drive mode.
Above the shift dial is a multidirectional touchpad that controls the infotainment system. You use it like you would a laptop touchpad, and it also has the benefit of being surrounded by a dial that you can rotate. Just above are ‘back,’ ‘home,’ and ‘menu’ buttons, and above that are scrolling buttons for volume and radio tuning.
This is what I mean when I say the layout really lends itself to at-your-fingertips controls. You can rest your elbow on the center console and make tons of changes, ranging from turning down the volume to selecting Sport mode to parking the car—all without lifting your arm.
1. Ample Power, No Matter the Engine
You can get your 2021 Genesis G80 with one of two engines, with the larger engine representing the higher-level and more expensive configurations. But no matter which you choose, you can count on your ride being equipped with as much power as you need to feel comfortable merging into traffic and turning heads.
- 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine: 300 horsepower
- 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6: 375 horsepower
And Overall, Great Bang for Your Buck
While the Genesis G80 does come with a fairly heft price tag, it’s actually a bit low when you compare it to other luxury brands like Porsche or Audi—and Genesis doesn’t make any compromises to keep the price down. Its lowest trim starts at just over $48,000, and its highest tops out at just over $66,000. Its competitors simply can’t compete with that price: the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series sedans both start at over $54,000.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the options you can choose from.
- 2.5T: $48,745
- 2.5T Advanced: $53,325
- 2.5T Prestige: $57,625
- 3.5T: $60,145
- 3.5T Prestige: $66,125
The 2.5 in the name refers to the 2.5-liter engine, while the 3.5 refers to the 3.5-liter option. The names that follow the engine designation refer to the packages that are added, which include the luxury features.
We drove the 3.5T Prestige, which means we experienced the three-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, soft-close doors, 21-speaker audio system, head-up display, digital gauge cluster, and rear automatic braking additions. Even with all the add-ons, you’re still rivaling other high-end luxury manufacturers when it comes to the price tag. What more could you want?
And if you want a little something to listen to behind the wheel of your new ride, we’ve got you covered.