New 2021 Genesis G80 review

Nick Francis

24 Jan 2022

1/8
Genesis has begun its assault on the UK premium car segment with this, the G80 executive saloon. Question is, would you have one over the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5 Series?

YesAuto Score:

75/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Premium interior 

+ Comfortable driving experience 

+ First class customer service 


CONS:

- Divisive styling

- Some rivals more fun to drive

- Small boot 



Verdict: The G80 is a promising opening shot from Genesis: it’s comfortable, refined and has an interior that is on a par in terms of luxury with the German cars it is going up against. Its potential let-down is the styling, but an excellent customer service plan from Genesis might be enough to make new customers overlook this. 



2022 Genesis G80: walking around it 


There’s no denying that a big luxury saloon is something of a status symbol, and the G80 certainly looks the part. There’s an air of class to it with a strong silhouette and domineering grille that’s a staple of this class. It has that traditional three-box stance, but chamfered edges and a slightly hunched rear gives it a more elegant character than the angular offerings from Audi and BMW


Something that really makes this Genesis stand out is its unique double-bar headlights that wrap around the car. They’re a curiosity in the day, but look particularly distinctive at night. This signature leads around past the wheel arch, incorporating the indicators. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the G80 does a good job of differentiating itself from what is a rather predictable formula.


If you like an air of exclusivity, the Genesis G80 is unusual enough on UK roads to turn heads. We were frequently asked about the car by passersby, something that may enhance the expense of choosing something that’s not made in Germany. 




2022 Genesis G80: sitting inside it 


While those who like the clinical precision of an Audi interior might not like the G80’s flair and focus on opulent aesthetics, Genesis has done a great job with the cabin. The build quality is excellent and just about every surface is wrapped in expensive leather. 


Customers can choose from an extensive range of real wood trim themes, and the switchgear feels study and kid-proof. Build quality is excellent and the front seats offer a view of thoughtfully deployed premium materials and enticingly-tactile switchgear. Most importantly, the designers have obviously thought hard about the layout: everything you need to use often is within easy reach, except the infotainment touchscreen, but there’s a rotary dial to help with that which works well.


You can fit three people in the back without a problem, although legroom for whoever is in the middle might be a bit tight due to the large transmission tunnel.

 


2022 Genesis G80: using the tech


Perched on top of the leather-clad dashboard is a highly impressive 14.5-inch infotainment system. It is easily navigated using the rotary dial. Response time is very quick and the graphics are great, although there is a mind-boggling amount of information in there. The built-in sat nav overlays directions on real-time footage from the camera on the front of the car, which is helpful and shows just how seriously Genesis is taking tech. 


The digital driver display uses 3D graphics, but it’s a bit of a gimmick. Even so, the information is presented clearly and the screen is highly configurable in terms of what you want it to show.


Having just two trims lines keeps things simple: Premium and Luxury. Upgrading to Luxury for an extra £5,000 adds things like a Comfort Seat Pack, powered tailgate, heated steering wheel and the 20-inch wheels.


If you option the Lexicon sound system you won’t be disappointed. Not only is the audio quality superb, but it also comes with a noise-cancelling system that works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones. You can, of course, choose to beef up the sound of the engine in the cabin, but it seems a bit pointless on this kind of car.



2022 Genesis G80: getting stuff in it 


This is a big car, therefore space is not at a premium. The front of the cabin is bright and airy and in all models the seats are 12-way electronically adjustable, so you won’t struggle to find a comfortable driving position. 


In the back both leg and headroom are generous. Three people will fit comfortably but whoever is in the middle will be slightly hampered by the transmission tunnel. The BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6 do have more overall room in the back, but not by much. 


Storage inside the car is only average. The door bins are quite small, as is the glovebox, but there are a few other useful cubbies dotted around to help hide away the clutter. Remember to take your rubbish out with you or the car will soon become messy.


Boot space is not on a par with the competition, unfortunately. At 424-litres it is smaller than the 5 Series, E-Class, Volvo S90 and Audi A6. This is something to keep in mind if you take long trips with the family and need to pack a lot of stuff. But at least you will have an excuse if one of your friends asks for help moving house. 



2022 Genesis G80: driving it 


We’ll say this upfront: if it’s handling excellence and a driving experience that makes you feel like you haven’t yet given up your youth, you’re far better off with something like the BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF.


But that is entirely deliberate on the part of Genesis, which says it has prioritised calm and comfortable dynamics over anything else. Even in Sport Mode, the damping is on the soft side, but that’s no bad thing because the G80 soaks up the notchy ground and keeps things zen inside the car. 


The 20-inch wheels let it down slightly, they have a tendency to crash over speed bumps, but sticking to the 19s solves this problem.


The well-judged ride, coupled with the noise cancellation system, means the G80 can give the Mercedes-Benz E-Class a good run for its money in the comfort steaks. Although the G80’s engines are not on a par with Mercedes’.


An electrified version will be coming later because that’s the way of the world, but for now, the engine line-up comprises of a 300bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit, which is all-wheel drive only, and a 2.2-litre diesel, which uses a rear-wheel drive setup.


As you would imagine the petrol is the faster of the two, doing 0-62mph in a spritely 6-seconds, while the diesel does it in 8-seconds. According to WLTP data, the petrol returns 31.2mpg and the diesel 45mpg.


The petrol engine doesn’t like being worked too hard, it can be slow to engage when you bury your foot and then power arrives quite suddenly, but when the car is driven in a more progressive manner it feels strong and capable. The diesel’s power is delivered in a smoother arc, but it is noticeably slower overall. 


Both of the engines are paired with the same eight-speed automatic gearbox and come with adaptive dampers as standard. You won’t have too many complaints from the gearbox, although occasionally it can be caught-out, especially when you want it to drop a couple of cogs for a quick overtake. 


Steering is light but not flabby, and as long as you’re not asking it to take a corner at 70mph there isn’t too much in the way of body roll. In terms of hitting its mission statement, Genesis has done a fine job with the G80.




2022 Genesis G80: paying for it 


Genesis has made a compelling alternative to large saloons from the German Big Three. If you want something comfortable and premium, with a customer service experience to match, the G80’s starting price tag of £37,460 makes it something to seriously think about.


If you’re looking for a PCP finance deal, you’ll pay around £600 a month with a 20% deposit.


For a full in-depth rundown on the Genesis G80's prices, specs and YesAuto deals, click here.



2022 Genesis G80: comparing it 


It was never going to be easy for Genesis to exist is such a highly competitive class, but the new marque has done a great job with the G80. As a refined and classy alternative choice to the status quo, it’s certainly worth considering.


The BMW 5 Series remains king of the hill in this class as it combines keen handling with a plush interior. It actually lacks some of the G80’s tech such as a huge infotainment screen, but it’s hard to beat as an allrounder.


Audi’s A6 feature the best interior within this class, but some might find its design predictable and a little sterile. In that regards, the Genesis is a refreshing change.


A Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with all of the prestige it three-pointed-star carries, but next to the Genesis it’s not quite as good value. Costly option packs soon add up, although the E-Class’ ride is better overall. 


Compare these cars with the G80 using YesAuto's car comparison tool here.


Q: Can I buy a Genesis in the UK?

A: You can indeed. The Genesis G80 went on sale in the UK in mid-2021. 


Q: Does the Genesis G80 have remote start?

A: You can remotely start and move a G80 out of space via its key – perfect for getting in and out of spaces that are too tight to open a door. It’s called Smart Park Assist.


Q: Does the Genesis G80 have massaging seats?

A: That depends upon your G80’s specification. Cars featuring the orthopedically designed Nappa leather seats have a massage function. They are also heated and cooled. 


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Nick Francis

24 Jan 2022