Genesis Electrified G80 review: an unconventional cruise missile

Genesis Electrified G80 review: an unconventional cruise missile

Genesis is on a delay roller. With a growing percentage of its upcoming portfolio powered by electric powertrains, the quirky Korean luxury brand looks set to continue expanding its presence in a luxury segment that has too long been dominated by too little choice.

Today, Genesis has electrified one of its first iconic models – the Electrified G80, an aptly named, battery-powered flavor of the G80 sedan which helped make the Genesis brand a real competitor and not just a curiosity. But is this emissions-free version standalone?

Genesis managed to put 87.2 kWh of batteries in the car.
Picture: Tim Stevens

Electrification by brute force

What does electrification mean for the G80? Well, a thorough overhaul of the existing car’s platform, for one thing. Genesis managed to squeeze 87.2kWh of batteries into the car, much of which goes under and behind the luxurious rear seats.

Unfortunately, compromises had to be made and a significant percentage of this pack sticks out in the trunk. Cargo space is therefore necessarily down, dropping from 13.1 cubic feet in the regular G80 to 10.7 here. That’s a big decrease in the form of a big bump, but unless you’re carrying luggage for a month-long European vacation, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Unfortunately, compromises had to be made and a significant percentage of this pack sticks out in the trunk.

Under the hood, where a 2.5 or 3.5 liter engine once stood, are all the inverters and chargers plus all the bright orange wiring required to connect the lot. Genesis interestingly chose to cover it all up with a plastic vanity shroud, giving everything a familiar internal combustion look. Either way, there’s no token storage to be found here. Sorry, frunk lovers.

So what powers the car? Two 136 kW electric motors, providing the equivalent of 182 horsepower each. With one motor per axle, all-wheel drive is standard. Genesis rates the electrified G80 at 365 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That’s comparable power and around 25% more torque than the quickest non-electrified G80, and you’ll feel it as soon as you step on the accelerator.

Well, assuming you’re not in Eco mode, anyway, which flattens the throttle curve considerably in pursuit of maximum range. Opt for Comfort mode and the G80 advances with each stroke of the accelerator. In sport he is really eager to go, charging into the tight corners harder than his 245/45 RE19 Michelin Primacy Tour A/S tires can grip.

It’s not a sports car, but it accelerates like a delicious electric car. Torque and throttle response are best at low speeds, exactly where you want them to go away from lights or around slower traffic on a two-lane road. It’s only at higher speeds, on the highway, where acceleration feels less immediate. Still, there’s plenty of power for motorway passing and all the high-speed driving you could want.

Genesis Electrified G80

There’s plenty of power for highway passing and all the high-speed driving you could want.
Picture: Tim Stevens

Quiet operation

The G80’s normal, non-electrified suspension is soft initially, but the extra 500 pounds of mass on the electrified means handling is necessarily compromised. The car wallows in corners and easily gets riled up over big bumps, with the rear in particular taking a long time to settle. Rougher surfaces send an unfortunate amount of road noise through the suspension, but on the highway, cruising, the G80 is a delight.

And that’s really how you should be driving this car. Pushing hard only compromises range, which is EPA-rated at 282 miles. In my tests, much of which was spent at highway speeds, I averaged 3.4 mph. Multiply that by the 87.2kWh battery and you get a theoretical range of 296 miles. That matches the roughly 290 miles of estimated range the car would show me on a dashboard after a full charge.

On the highway, cruising, the G80 is a delight.

All the more reason, then, to set the cruise control (which also helps maximize EV range) and let the Highway driving assistance do his thing. HDA does a great job of keeping the G80 centered in the lane at an appropriate distance from traffic ahead. It’s the older version of HDA, unable to handle automated lane changes or the like, but it’s still pretty good at anticipating and maintaining speed smoothly even in tight traffic. However, this leaves a generous gap between the car in front, which may mean being cut a little more than you would like.

During my time stuck in traffic, it didn’t really bother me, especially when the car’s Ergo Motion seats kicked in. It’s not a full massage as such, but drive long enough and the G80 will decide it’s time for you to get a little tweaked. The car will inflate and deflate the lumbar support to maximum while raising and lowering the seat cushion underneath. It’s nothing compared to the invigorating massages you can get in something like a Mercedes-Benz EQS, but this car costs $20,000 less.

The rear seats are rather more basic, non-adjustable but comfortable, with separate HVAC controls and sunshades on the sides and rear window. Rear-seat headroom is a bit limited, but tolerable, a necessary compromise to ease that sloping roofline.

Interior of the electrified Genesis G80

The overall interior design is clean and bright and works very well.
Picture: Tim Stevens

Distinctive design

When it comes to exterior design, it’s not hard to know where to start. This massive, chrome hatch of the G80’s schnoz is absolutely impossible to miss from the biggest of parking lots. That makes a hell of a statement and frankly, I think it’s a good statement – ​​a strong one at least.

Lighting is sandwiched in a pair of slots that seem too thin for the task at hand, a design cue echoed in the air vents just aft of the front wheels and again at the rear, where the brake lights are also cut in half. The rear of the electrified G80 is positively tame compared to the nose, and in fact, the entirety of the rest of the exterior is just as smooth, except for the massive 19-inch wheels that are so shiny that they blew the exposure on my Sony A7 III every time the sun broke through the clouds.

Back inside, my test car had the white interior, paired with the recycled “wrought wood” dashboard inserts that promise to be good for the environment while providing interesting visual enjoyment. The overall interior design is clean and bright and works very well. From the driver’s seat, materials are generally good, with carpeting extending to the sides of the transmission tunnel. Even the fabric headliner is nice to the touch, but dig around and you’ll find plenty of hard plastics within easy reach, including door sills and ceiling-mounted handles.

The distinct Genesis steering wheel, with four spokes creating two horizontal bars, looks odd but feels great and all the necessary controls are right under your thumbs. Cruise and driver assistance settings are on the right while the left handles volume, voice and media toggles. Paddles in the rear adjust the rate of regenerative braking. Unfortunately, there’s no one-pedal mode as such, but hold down the left paddle and the car will stop automatically.

Interior of the electrified Genesis G80

The infotainment experience leaves a lot to be desired.
Picture: Tim Stevens

Infotainment BYO

The interior design is excellent overall, but I’m less fond of the Genesis infotainment experience. A shiny, chrome and white rotary knob sits in the center console, which turns left or right and tilts in four directions to navigate through the many menus.

It is very good. The problem is that the car’s rotary shifter, which sits two inches away, is about the same size and also covered in shiny chrome. Although I’ve spent a lot of time in various Genesis cars over the years, I inevitably turn the infotainment knob when trying to shift into D.

Ahead of that is a Qi wireless charger, which also has NFC pairing if your phone is properly equipped. Two USB-A ports are also there for wired charging. There’s a 12-volt charger located in the center armrest, with two USB-A ports for rear passengers hidden in their armrest.

The infotainment experience is the same basic Hyundai experience we’ve seen for years, here with a sleek, Genesis-specific skin. This doesn’t change the functionality, however. Mapping is basic but functional, while voice recognition is borderline unusable for anything other than the simplest of tasks. Fortunately, you have the choice between Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but don’t forget your cable. It’s not wireless.

The overall equipment is complete; the options are effectively zero.

The overall equipment is complete; the options are effectively zero. The car you see here had only one option, Capri Blue paint for $575. In fact, beyond the interior color, paint is the only option, with the most expensive choice being the Verbier White matte, which looks stunning and is well worth the $1,500 cost.

That means the Genesis Electrified G80’s MSRP of $79,825 isn’t far off what you’ll likely spend. This car, with paint and a destination charge of $1,095, has a total of $81,495.

That’s a lot of car for that amount of money. Of course, it lacks a few premium niceties that you’ll find on a Mercedes-Benz EQS and has none of the commitment of a Porsche Taycan, but again, you’re going to spend a lot more to get into either one with this level of equipment.

More disappointingly, the electrified G80 lacks some of the more advanced tech features of the Genesis GV60, like biometric security and Highway Drive Assist 2, which adds automatic lane changing. But, there are still plenty of quirks about this car to ensure it stands out in any crowd. More importantly, when you’re tired of the crowds, the G80 will get you smoothly and comfortably where you want to go.

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