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Genesis G80: Luxury sedan makes a push for new frontiers

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The 2018 Genesis G80 delivers an unprecedented combination of refined performance, impressive technology and segment-leading safety features. While the ‘hook’ for someone considering the Genesis G80 is definitely the value offered by the price, one must also consider the performance aspect delivered by the award-winning powerplants.

Genesis, the new luxury brand from Hyundai, is still the new kid on the block when it comes to luxury marquees. The 2018 G80 steps to the forefront as the entry-level into the new brand. This big four-door Genesis G80 is a stunner and I had the chance to test the 5.0 Ultimate model, which tops the lineup in posh performance.

When it comes the the new Genesis brand, be prepared to be dazzled by its advanced performance and handling, and its array of modern safety, connectivity and convenience features.

New Brand

Though it’s a youngster in the marketplace, the Genesis sedan began as the top-of-the line Hyundai, then dropped to the second spot when the company introduced its flagship Equus in 2009 as a competitor to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Audi A8.

Only recently did Hyundai establish a separate luxury brand, much as Toyota had done with Lexus, Honda with Acura, and Nissan with Infiniti.

It chose Genesis as the luxury brand name and the former Hyundai Genesis model became the Genesis G80. It is one of two models in the lineup, slotted below the G90. There are three versions: two with V6 engines and rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and the tested V8 model, which comes only with rear-wheel drive. An all-new Sport trim features a 3.3-L turbo V6.

Under the Hood

With a powerful V8 engine under the hood, this an award-winning 5.0-L Tau V8 engine producing 420 horsepower and 383 lb. ft. of torque. The V8 is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that offers enhanced shift logic and speed, better acceleration, sport-mode mapping, shifting smoothness and transmission efficiency.

Ultimate Competition

It’s fair to say that the G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate has some serious competition, though few compete directly with the G80. The BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class are way more expensive, and others like the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus have lower prices and come with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The closest competitor is the Chrysler 300, which is about the same size and priced a bit lower than the G80.

What You Get

The G80 starts at about $43,395. For the Ultimate V8 the starting price is $56,500, including the destination charge. The Ultimate comes lavishly equipped and the interior cabin space is decked out in lush materials and outstanding craftsmanship.

Look for genuine wood (including matte finishes) and aluminum trim, perforated leather upholstery with built-in heating and cooling, full safety equipment including lane departure mitigation and automatic emergency braking, and a 9.2-inch touch screen to control navigation, audio and infotainment functions.

Safety Notes

I found the G80’s blind-spot warning to be especially effective. These warnings typically flash when a vehicle enters the blind spot. With Genesis, an icon of the car in the blind spot also shows in the head-up display along with the car’s speed and the speed limit. So, even if the mirrors are adjusted correctly, the driver becomes aware of the “blind spot” vehicle without checking the mirrors.

There is plenty to relish while driving a G80. It is a wonderful long-distance cruiser that is appropriately quiet, delivering reasonable fuel economy along with 0-to-60 mph acceleration of slightly more than five seconds.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication