2021 Genesis G80 arrives with 375bhp turbo V6 option

Hyundai offshoot’s new luxury flagship is lighter and packs more technology than its predecessor

Hyundai’s luxury arm Genesis has revealed the new third-generation version of its flagship G80 saloon, which is claimed to offer significant performance and technology upgrades over its predecessor. 

Sitting atop an all-new, bespoke rear-wheel-drive platform, the Lexus ES rival retains the long wheelbase, short overhangs and rakish, coupé-style roofline of the previous model, but bears the results of a subtle styling overhaul influenced by the brand’s GV80 SUV. 

At the front, a large, shield-shaped grille is flanked by a pair of distinctive split-cluster headlights, while the previous car’s small air intakes, positioned under each headlight, have made way for an extended lower grille that spans the width of the car. 

The brand claims the new car’s window line, which slopes more obviously towards the rear of the car than that of the outgoing G80, is inspired by iconic classic cars. A full-length chrome strip is said to strengthen ‘forward visual motion’, in the same way as various styling cues featured on parent company Hyundai’s new Prophecy concept. 

Larger 20in alloy wheels, dual shield-shaped exhaust tips and a prominent rear spoiler indicate the car’s performance potential, which is delivered by a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines or a 2.2-litre diesel four-cylinder, which can each be specified with rear- or all-wheel-drive. 

The most potent option, a 3.5-litre turbo V6, sends 375bhp and 391lb ft – significantly more than the outgoing car’s 3.8-litre unit – to the wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic gearbox which is standard to all models. The mid-range 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder produces 296bhp and 311lb ft, while the diesel option puts out 207bhp and 325lb ft.  

Inside, the new G80 offers improved rear legroom and headroom, courtesy of a lowered rear bench which also allows for a more heavily raked roofline. The dashboard is dominated by a 14.5in infotainment touchscreen; Genesis says minimal use of physical buttons and switches improves the interior’s appearance and enhances ease-of-use.

The G80’s new platform, aside from allowing for improved interior space, also lowers the body and centre of gravity for improved driving stability. It also weighs 125kg less than its predecessor, with aluminium used for around 19% of the body components. 

Safety functions featured as standard to all models include motorway driving assist, intelligent cruise control, collision avoidance assist, blind spot monitor and pre-active safety seats which automatically pull the passengers’ seat back forwards in the event of an accident to minimise injury.

There’s an emphasis on user-friendly technology, too; alongside remote parking, smartphone connectivity and handwriting recognition, the G80 offers ambient interior lighting, a pair of rear-mounted infotainment touchscreens, automated air filtering technology and a posture-correcting drivers seat.

In the South Korean market, the G80 will feature an in-car payment device which will also allow drivers to pay for things like tolls and fuel without leaving the vehicle. 

Launching initially in the brand’s home market of South Korea, the new G80 will arrive in other global markets, including North America and Russia, in the second half of this year. Genesis boss Manfred Fitzgerald previously told Autocar that the brand was plotting a UK launch in 2020, though this is likely to be pushed back as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

When Genesis does arrive in the UK, it is unlikely to bring the G80, as demand for large luxury saloons is not as strong here as it is in the US and the Middle East. Hyundai managed to sell just 50 examples of the original Genesis saloon in the two years it was on sale here.

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