If I showed you this car and told you we had the all-new, just released mid-size Bentley, you might believe me…for a few seconds. The Genesis G80 is clearly not a Bentley, but there is a certain Britishness to its design and refinement. It radiates an aura of expensive. That initial visage continues when you move inside and enjoy a drive. That’s what we did with the 2021 Genesis G80 Prestige.
Bentley would probably prescribe a larger grille, but the giant assemblage of mesh on the G80 tells lesser cars to move away when you’re stretching down the left lane or fist-bumping the valet. Quad LED headlamps in thin apertures paint on its face, but sides are dressed with 20” alloys, dual strakes of fender accents, strong shoulderlines, and fastback roof that ends in a concave rear valance. Thin taillamps leave an elegant impression. It all looks beautiful parked next to the curb.
As Genesis’ middle limo, the G80 is chicly aristocratic where one’s butt parks. Prestige editions confer delights like thick Nappa leather seats, real sculpted planes of matte wood across the dash and console, sueded headliner, and panoramic sunroof. Tri-zone automatic climate control and 21-speaker Lexicon audio add comforts – as do heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. Toss your phone on the wireless charging pad and gaze hood-long to the head-up display. Given power door closures and a power trunklid, you’ll barely flex a muscle.
But you may want to when you see the knurled aluminum knobs for gear selector and infotainment. Two rollers control volume and tuning. It works beautifully too, proving infotainment controls can be art pieces and function intuitively. Comprehensive crash avoidance systems include forward collision alert with auto brake, lane keep assist, rear cross path detection, and blind spot warning. Adaptive cruise, rear seat monitor, and around-view cameras add convenience. Hyundai’s safe exit assist system employs the blind spot sensors for alerting passengers to traffic as they step out.
Step back in. As in a Bentley the powertrain is smooth and powerful, just with fewer cylinders. Our car’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 whooshes away with 375 horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. It gets to the road through an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive to enhance traction in all conditions. Stomp the carpet to see 0-60 mph in a scant 5.7 seconds. Press gently to see 18/26-MPG city/highway.
On the road, the car’s feel is between a Jaguar and Lexus and sometimes a Mercedes. It’s serene and smooth like a Lexus with the slight chassis float and sharp steering of a Jaguar. It’s all enhanced by an electronically controlled suspension and ability to configure the drive modes for Comfort, Smart, Eco, Sport, and Custom. Very cool, the gauge design has unique graphics and colors for each mode. As in the G90, steering seems to drift a bit, but the car is otherwise a dream to drive.
Is the Genesis G80 a Bentley? Of course not, even with Prestige trim, but you wouldn’t exactly be roughing it if stepping in from a Flying Spur. Best of all, it’s considerably more affordable. The G80’s base price starts under $48,000, coming to $68,150 comfortably optioned. Competitors include the Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CT5 and Jaguar XF.
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