- Great back seat
- Luxe features without the price
- Cool interior details
- Engine refinement issues
- Subpar ride/handling
- Quicker/more efficient competition
We really wanted to love the 2021 Genesis G80, but the midsize luxury sedan segment requires a delicate touch the redesigned model just doesn’t deliver. Genesis has nailed certain aspects while leaving us cold in others.
The most basic compliment we can pay the G80 is thanking Genesis for continuing to offer a sedan in this price range. While Genesis was putting final touches on the 2021 G80, the Acura RLX, Lexus GS, and Lincoln Continental were discontinued, leaving the luxury sedan world three cars the poorer.
View Other 2021 Car Of The Year Contenders And Finalists Here
You don’t get a prize just for showing up, though. Genesis attempts to earn its place among more established midsize luxury sedans with a bolder swagger outside and rich detailing inside. As with the GV80 SUV, the G80 gives off a high-tech, high-luxury first impression. From beveled-edge silver trim to the gearshift disc and the generously apportioned wood trim, there’s no mistaking the G80 for anything but a luxury car.
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The rear seat impresses, too, and not just for the way the outboard seats cradle passengers.
“The back seat is capacious, with a padded, fold-up armrest that also has room for your stuff, seat heater controls, and cupholders,” editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin said. “Plus, there’s a pass-through for long, skinny items. Truly magnificent, smart rear-seat design.”
We also appreciate the G80 2.5T’s rise in fuel economy compared to the last-gen’s standard 3.8-liter V-6. Look to the 2021 G80’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, and you’ll find an engine that propels the luxury sedan to 60 mph in a respectable 5.2 seconds. Luxury sedans don’t really need to accelerate more swiftly, but it’s worth noting the equivalent Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class are quicker and more efficient.
With a better ride and more refined engines, we might be writing a different story. Judges took issue with both the 300-hp turbo-four and the 375-hp twin-turbo V-6, finding they lacked the smoothness and refinement of others in the class. What really kept the G80 from moving forward was the car’s subpar body control and suspension roughness.
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“Driving it back to back with the E-Class, the G80’s Comfort mode feels like the Sport mode in the E-Class,” MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina said. “The ride is less settled and stiffer.” Yet the firmer suspension doesn’t result in handling on par with its German rivals.
“It feels as if it’s up on its tiptoes,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said. “Even going in a straight line at about 40-45 mph, you can feel the G80 dipping on its springs. If you’re going to enter the E-Class/5 Series segment, at bare minimum you’ve got to have the same levels of chassis sophistication. This vehicle simply doesn’t.”
If it sounds like we’re being a little hard on the G80, we are. Because just look at what the luxury brand has already accomplished. Numerous Car and now SUV of the Year finalists, one winner, and a comparison test-winning executive sedan back in 2017.
So please iterate on this, Genesis. Oh, and while we have your attention, consider raising the nearly flat infotainment rotary controller. Additionally accessible via touchscreen, the system operates on a standard 14.5-inch display.
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“The infotainment screen is sharp and clear,” associate road test editor Erick Ayapana said. “I somewhat got the hang of the rotary control knob, which feels high quality, but still prefer BMW’s iDrive.”
The G80 will prove alluring to the luxury customer who wonders why some midsize luxury sedans don’t feel midsize from the back seat. They might be impressed by the car’s interior, too, or the features-per-dollar value. Just like the GV80, the G80 is recommendable to the right buyer. With better ride quality and body control, it might one day cause the top players in the segment to sweat a little more.
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