2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Rear-Wheel Drive Review
Price & Specs9
Performance & Economy8
Ride & Handling8
Interior & Practicality9
Running Costs & Warranty9.5
What we like:
  • Excellent value for money with a long equipment list
  • Quality interior that can be had in a variety of colours
  • Handsome styling that looks unlike any other sedan
What we don't like:
  • Some items from $13 Luxury Pack should be standard
  • The ride needs a bit more fine tuning
  • Short 10,000km service intervals
8.7DiscoverAuto Rating

Genesis might still be an unfamiliar badge to most Aussies, but the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T is another fine example of the Korean brand’s disruption of the luxury car market. The 2021 Genesis G80 looks intriguing, is loaded with tech and offers some brilliant engineering.

Genesis G80 Front

It’s upmarket, classy and suave, like a mashup of a few luxury marques such as Bentley and Aston Martin. But will buyers of plush, traditional luxury sedans buy it? Let’s find out.

Price & Specs: 9.0/10

The 2021 Genesis G80 is offered in a single sedan bodystyle and spec with three drivetrain options. Pricing for the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD tested here, without any options starts at $84,900 plus on-road costs. The 3.5T V6 AWD starts at $99,900 and if you want diesel power, the 2.2D RWD G80 starts at $87,900.

Genesis G80 rear

Equivalent German models offering similar performance to the G80 2.5T RWD include cars such as the Audi A6 45 TFSI from $96,900. The Audi includes much of the same equipment seen in the Genesis G80 such as 19-inch alloy wheels, and a leather-appointed cabin but adds an AWD system over the base G80 2.5T.

Standard equipment on the Genesis G80 is extensive, with striking (you’ll love them or hate them) 19-inch alloy wheels, full-LED lighting, leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, keyless entry and start with remote start, an electric steering column, a 14.5-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, inbuilt navigation with live traffic reporting, digital radio, a 12.0-inch heads-up display, a panoramic dual-pane sunroof, a 21-speaker Lexicon sound system, dual-zone climate control, 12-way electrically adjustable front seats with heating and cooling and wireless charging are all standard kit.

Safety kit is strong as well with 10 airbags – including a front centre unit that will allow the G80 a five-star ANCAP safety rating, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and car detection, turning/junction assist, lane keep assist with lane follow assist, leading vehicle departure alert, blind-spot monitoring with a blind-spot camera in the dials, rear cross-traffic alert, rear occupant alert, safe exit assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, a 360-degree parking camera with a 3D surround view, front and rear parking sensors, auto high beam and traffic sign recognition.

There’s just one option pack available: the expensive but extensive $13,000 Luxury Package. This includes a 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster, a rear zone for the climate control, Nappa leather upholstery in several colour options, Matrix headlights with adaptive high beam functionality, soft-close doors, suede-finished roof and pillar trims, an 18-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with massaging functionality, electrically adjustable outboard rear seats, two rear 9.2-inch touchscreens, a power rear sun-blind, driver attention monitoring, rear auto barking, a heated steering wheel and auto parking with remote functionality from the key.

We do have a few criticisms of the value equation. Rear auto braking, driver attention monitoring, the heated steering wheel, the 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and tri-zone climate control should be standard. This would make the Luxury Package less expensive and easier to swallow for prospective buyers, if they actually need it. Having said this, the base Genesis G80 remains excellent value, especially compared to the likes of a German Audi A6.

Genesis offers a wide range of colours for the G80. ‘Uyuni White’, ‘Savile Silver’, ‘Valencia Gold’, ‘Makalu Grey’, ‘Vik Black’, ‘Havana Red’, ‘Hallasan Green’ and ‘Tasman Blue’ are no-cost metallic options. ‘Capri Blue’, ‘Verbier White’ and ‘Makalu Grey’ are matte options and add $2,000 to the price. The interior is also available in a multitude of colours – black, brown, beige, blue and for the Luxury Package, another beige option.

Performance & Economy: 8.0/10

The 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine pumping out 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Genesis claims a 0-100km/h time of just six seconds dead. In the real world, the engine is supremely smooth and quiet. It whisks the large G80 with ease, with plenty of torque down low to use around town. Plant your foot down harder and the engine responds with gusto, only really making its presence felt around the redline.

Having power sent to the rear wheels also means the G80 rarely struggles for grip, with a lovely sensation of being pushed, rather than pulled through corners. The eight-speed torque converter automatic is brilliantly smart and always has the perfect gear for the job. Paddle shifters can be found behind the steering wheel if you prefer taking matters into your own hands – though it’s never fully manual.

Fuel economy is perhaps the G80’s downfall. It’s not a light car at 1,869kg tare and doesn’t use many expensive materials such as aluminium or magnesium in its body. As a result, German rivals do use less fuel. Genesis claims 8.6L/100km on a combined cycle, and we struggled to get consumption below 11L/100km – those wanting more efficiency could look at the new 2.2-litre diesel G80, which is rated at 6.6L/100km combined. There’s also a fully electric G80 launching locally in 2022.

If you’re looking for even more speed, the more powerful 3.5T is exclusively available with AWD and cuts the G80’s sprint time to 100km/h to just 5.1 seconds.

Ride & Handling: 8.0/10

The 2021 Genesis G80’s driving experience is rather exceptional, placing it right up there with other luxury cars. It’s quiet, refined and polished on the road, even if the way it goes around corners is a far cry from the best sports sedans.

The steering remains light no matter the driving mode, meaning it doesn’t offer the same sense of connection as a BMW 5 Series, for example. On Victoria’s stunning Great Ocean Road, the G80 showed a bit of body roll through corners, giving a slightly unnerving feel with steep drops into the ocean below only centimetres away. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres offer solid grip, even in the wet. The G80 holds its line well when hurried along, even getting its tail out should you happen to get a little too eager on the throttle mid-corner.

Where the G80 really excels is in its job of being a luxury sedan. It rides beautifully, gliding over small bumps and larger imperfections. Be it speed bumps, train tracks or even a gravel road, the G80’s ride comfort is truly exceptional. When hurried along, this does make the car feel numb and perhaps underdamped. The next challenge for Genesis will be to make the G80 handle a little more sharply, whilst maintaining a smooth, controlled ride – perhaps the incoming G80 Sport will change that.

Genesis has worked hard on keeping the cabin hushed too at speed. There are triple door seals and acoustic glass for the windscreen and doors, while sound insulation has been expertly applied to keep road noise away. Even the engine barely makes itself heard, such is the lack of noise inside.

Interior & Practicality: 9.0/10

Genesis has put a lot of effort into the G80’s interior. It feels beautifully crafted, authentically designed and opulent. From the lush carpets, the sumptuous leather and the soft-touch surfaces everywhere, this is a lovely place to spend time in. The design isn’t the most interesting, or striking but it is a world away from anything Hyundai has ever produced and look upmarket.

The doors feel vault-like in their solidity, and feature soft, squidgy plastic right to their base. The dashboard, switchgear and centre console look truly special too, whilst the real open-pore wood trim elevates the premium feel even further. The switch gear feels solid and weighty. We didn’t hear a single rattle from the entire interior, with every piece feeling well put together.

The large centre console area houses a metal and tempered glass rotary dial for the 14.5-inch infotainment screen and comes in super handy when you don’t want to use the touchscreen when driving, keeping your eyes on the road. The screen itself is beautiful. It’s large, bright and has wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The user interface is super intuitive and the menus load quickly. Below the screen is a strip of real wood trim and some shortcut hard buttons for various infotainment screens making it easy to navigate the infotainment.

The climate controls use a touch-capacitive black glass panel with haptic feedback which is simple to use but attracts quite a lot of fingerprints very easily.

After sliding into the beautifully crafted and comfortable front seats, you’ll see that practicality is well taken care of with large door bins, a big centre console bin, large cup holders and even a wireless phone charger ahead of the gear selector. The rear seat’s door bins are smaller, but still reasonable, and occupants also have a huge rear centre armrest. Space in the rear is plentiful, with tons of legroom in particular. Some taller adults might struggle with the sedan body style robbing headroom.

The boot of the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T is well shaped but not particularly large, at only 424-litres of space. The Audi A6 offers more than 100L more at 530L. Sadly, the G80’s rear seats don’t fold, meaning the central ski-hatch is the only aperture you can use to carry longer items. Don’t go looking for a spare tyre under the boot floor, either as Genesis give you a tyre-repair kit only.

Service & Warranty: 9.5/10

Genesis offers an impeccable customer care aftersales package. The 2021 Genesis G80 comes with five years or 50,000km of free scheduled servicing (intervals are a short 12 months/10,000km or a longer 15,000km if you choose the diesel). This includes a concierge service where it will pick up your G80 for scheduled servicing and leave you with a Genesis courtesy vehicle. A five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and five years of roadside assistance is also standard.

An Audi A6 only comes with a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and will cost you $3,190 to service over 5 years when you purchase Audi’s Genuine Car Service Plan. Check-mate for Genesis.

Genesis dealerships remain limited, but more are popping up around the country. Experience centres, such as the one at Melbourne Central are a brilliant environment where prospective buyers can experience new Genesis models in a retail environment.

2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Review DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.7/10

There’s no denying it, the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T is a truly compelling luxury sedan and Genesis deserves to be called a true premium brand. South Korea has created a worthy rival to the traditional luxury marques from Germany and Japan. Our role here at DiscoverAuto is to prop up the good and call out the bad and the Genesis G80 deserves our praise on account of its distinctive and upscale interior and exterior, along with its impeccable ownership credentials. It’s great value too and offers a luxurious driving experience.

The idea of bringing a traditional large luxury sedan to market was an incredibly bold move by a brand in its infancy. But it allowed Genesis to prove that it has what it takes to rival the best in the market, offering true opulence in the luxury arena for less money. We can’t wait to see what Genesis has in store over the coming years.

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