Genesis launches its G80 flagship luxury sedan
Hyundai's luxury brand Genesis is the latest car company to launch a new car online in this post-apocalyptic world, with its surprisingly pleasing lack of giant motor shows. We're delighted to say we didn't have to sit through a single minute of stage-managed light and laser shows, pounding music or awkward corporate speeches to bring you this news.
The entire luxury segment is pivoting hard to SUVs, presumably as the people with enough money to buy anything with a luxury tag on it get older, fatter, and less interested in lowering themselves into car seats. Genesis itself has just got into the act with the recent release of the GV80, but the company still clings to the hope that its big, fancy sedan can be seen as the face of the brand.
The new G80 does a pretty nice job of blending subtle curves with straight-line accents in search of a feeling of "athletic elegance." It doesn't fall far of the mark there, looking weighty and luxurious but with a few nods to performance. The colossal grille on the front should tick all the boxes for the Chinese market – lord knows, everyone else is getting fed up with them – and the rear end is sleek and well-proportioned.
There are a few engine options; the Big Daddy is a 3.5-liter V6 turbo making 380 horsepower, or you can go for a 2.5-liter, 304-horsepower turbo inline four or a 210-horsepower, 2.2-liter diesel inline four. But really, this car's all about its interior and driver assist technologies, so let's step into the twin-filter air purified cabin.
Lots of effort has been put forth to keep the G80 quiet on a fast road, including all kinds of acoustic sealing and noise insulation, right down to resonance-reducing wheel designs. Engine noise is brought back in a bit through the stereo, but this is only on the gasoline engines, because nobody in history has ever said "gee I wish I could hear that diesel a bit louder." In conjunction with a suspension system that pre-reads the road surface and warns the dampers what they need to do before they get there, this should all make for a pleasant and suitably lounge-like ride on the highway.
The driver gets a highly spiffy seat, which has seven different air cells that inflate and deflate to help you stretch your legs and back on a long drive, as well as automatically correcting your posture if it catches you slouching, like a luxury version of your old piano teacher's ruler.
And then you start driving the thing. Like the GV80, the G80 gets one of Continental's bizarre no-glasses-required 3D dashboards, which motion-track your eyes to deliver each its own image and make certain information jump out at you.
And then there's all the driver assist and safety gear, which includes everything you'd expect, including blind spot collision avoidance, auto emergency braking, and pre-active safety passenger seats that pull the seat back up if you're about to crash.
Of particular note is the active cruise control system, which is enhanced with machine learning capabilities that learn your particular style of driving and seek to emulate it in active cruise mode – an incentive, perhaps, to back off a little from cars in front while the computer's watching, lest it copy you, and scare you as much as you scare your passengers.
The G80 can park and un-park itself, parallel or perpendicularly, either with you in the car, or standing nearby. That means it's basically impossible for this thing to get stuck in a spot by other cars wedging you in. For those times when it's not pertinent to park itself, there's a Valet mode, which locks down the infotainment system so that cheeky attendants can't go through your black book and pinch all the movie stars' numbers you've got in there. We're onto you guys, those vests and bow ties aren't fooling anyone.
There are some other interesting little nuggets in there too, like a Genesis CarPay system for South Koreans, which lets you pay for things like fuel through your touch screen, and a two-way communication system between the car and various smart home standards, allowing you to start and pre-warm your car from the kitchen, or get the air con going in the lounge room when you're 10 minutes from home.
Prices have not yet been announced, but it's on sale now in South Korea, with other markets to follow before the end of the year.
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