2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport Review

A sports sedan that actually makes good sense

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Significant power that's manageable, excellent ergonomics and infotainment, beautiful aesthetic copper and dark chrome tweaks set it apart from the base car, rife with amenities, ample interior space, very affordable in the sports sedan segment
Negatives: Steering needs more feedback, feels heavy in the turns, rear middle seat position isn't practical.
Bottom Line: Sports sedans don't have to have 500+ horsepower and trackability to be excellent, and that's where the G80 Sport comes in. It's not the fastest, the lightest or the most fun to drive, but that's where its strongest suit lies. It's plenty potent, supremely comfortable and well-appointed. It's the kind of vehicle that can be driven hard without killing you while also transporting friends and family in high levels of comfort, tech and safety. Add in the all-wheel drive, and you have a four-seasons sports sedan that won't let you down.
The new Genesis luxury brand has big plans, even if they stole their former Hyundai Genesis sedan and renamed it the G80. They also plan on building their "N" performance badged vehicles, but for now we're offered the G80 Sport, which is supposed to be the new brand's first performance-minded vehicle based on a car that's more focused on comfy luxury than anything that might race the pulse.

The G80 Sport gets more power than the base vehicle with performance tweaks, beautiful interior and exterior trim bits and pretty much all the standard tech you could want. We helmed the new Korean sports sedan for a week to see if it could get us more excited about the brand with which we've already been impressed. Read on for the full review.

Driving Experience



It's clear that the G80 Sport is meant to be more than just a good family sedan. The engine is bigger and more potent, the transmission gets rapid fire paddle shifters, and the suspension gets tauter and has adjustable dampers. There aren't many rear-wheel drive sedans anymore, but you can get your G80 Sport with this setup or even add high-traction HTRAC all-wheel drive.

Ride Quality: Though the G80 Sport has adjustable suspension and selectable drive modes, it manages to toe a good line between sporty and soft in Normal mode. Even Sport mode handles bumps very well.

Acceleration: There's mild turbo lag, but the G80 Sport spools up quickly and with authority. You never feel wanting for power. This is pretty much more than enough grunt for most folks, and passing is never a problem.

Braking: Strong brakes with progressive feel bring the G80 Sport to a stop well with no grabbiness or musihiness.

Steering: Though steering is on the light side with not much feedback, it's decently responsive, and you can't point it where you want it to go.

Handling: Sport mode manages the body roll very well, and the heavy car feels less so thanks to the adjustable dampers. You really notice the changes when the car gets performance-minded. Select Sport mode and the shocks tighten their grip, the float goes away, and body motions are arrested gently but firmly.




Though there's nothing revolutionary about the G80's infotainment system, it's just a great system that works well, looks good and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The controls make it virtually seamless to use both on screen and in the main control unit between the seats.

Infotainment System: The vivid and well-sized 9.2" display screen responds well to touch and has great visibililty even in bright sunlight. We found the menus intuitive and the features robust.

Controls: We're huge fans of the center console control knob that's just about the best in the business. Sure, it doesn't have a handwriting recognition pad like BMW and Audi, but the actuation and intuitiveness are fantastic.

Bluetooth Pairing: As with most Kias and Hyundais, the pairing is quick and easy, as was our experience in the G80 Sport. Our phones also re-paired every time we got back in the driver's seat.

Voice Call Quality: Good voice call quality with no transmission issues. Calls were consistently loud and clear.




We've been big fans of the current G80/former Genesis sedan because of its clean lines, long profile and non-derivative looks. Genesis takes the G80 further with unique copper highlights inside and out and incorporates a handsome "meanness" with dark trim pieces. We think it hasn't been overdone, and the execution makes the G80 Sport a headturner. The copper highlights do tend to conflict with the Sevilla Red paint on our test car, though.

Front: The darkened big mesh grille is a nice touch, replacing the shorter 6-bar grille from the base car. The larger lower intakes add some nice aggression, as well.

Rear: Not much has changed except for the addition of tasty quad ovular exhaust ports and a faux diffuser. The look is a tad more aggressive than the base car, and it's well done.

Profile: With the exception of a too-short front overhang, the rest of the profile is attractive. The long hood and sloping roofline look elegant, and the addition of darkened wheels and a black side mirror as sinister-good.

Cabin: The interior is even more fetching the exterior. We're huge fans of the contrast leather seats with copper stitching, real carbon fiber dash trim, and the clean lines throughout the car. We especially like the new shifter and updated center console controls that look and feel truly upscale. Oh, and don't discount the nice Alcantara suede headliner that's quite sumptuous.




The G80 Sport is one of the best-sized sport sedans out there and is evidenced by serious amounts of legroom and headroom for driver and passengers. It's also incredibly well-appointed and excellent ergonomically, making it a den of comfort for all involved.

Front Seats: Good bolstering and excellent levels of comfort. The extendable thigh bolster is great for long trips, and the leather is also quite good.

Rear Seats: Outboard positions have great shoulder and legroom, but the middle position is only good for short trips due to a high seat cushion and an upright seat back due to the armrest. The headroom isn't capacious, but a 6-footer can sit there without too much issue.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The G80 Sport is quiet and has superb fit and finish. It's almost too quiet for our likes. We'd love to hear more of that muscled turbo six.

Visibility: The seating position is good, and sightlines are clear. The rear parcel shelf is lowe enough so as not to impeded rearward visibility too much.

Climate: The G80 Sport's dual zone automatic climate control system works very well, coupled with excellent heated/ventilated seats.




Along with its comfort and roominess, the G80 Sport also gets very high marks in terms of safety. It crash tested at the top of its class, and it also comes stacked with a plethora of standard safety features that its competitors charge extra for.

IIHS Rating: The G80 nailed the crash tests, earning it a Top Safety Pick+, along with Superior Front Crash prevention tech, acceptable headlights and marginal LATCH ease of use.

NHTSA Rating: It garnered the top 5-Star mark in frontal, side and rollover crash testing.

Standard Tech: The list of standard features is longer than our arm. At no extra cost, you get automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver attention alert, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with stop/start, multi-view camera, rear and front parking sensors.

Optional Tech: None.




Genesis thought out the cabin very well, giving the G80 Sport solid storage options for daily gear, as well as good locations and aesthetics. The storage/cargo marks get dinged for the lack of split folding rear seat and only a pass-through area.

Storage Space: The front compartment below the center stack holds a wireless Qi-compatible phone charger and contains both an AUX and a USB port. The split center armrest is great for daily carry items, and even the rear seat armrest houses a storage compartment. Cupholders conceal with a retractable door, keeping debris conveniently out.

Cargo Room: 15 cubic feet of trunk space ranks below some competitors, and the lack of a split-folding seat back makes expansion impossible when it comes to bigger items. At least the trunk opening is wide, and the load floor is flat.

Fuel Economy



Hyundai's aren't exactly known for superb mileage, and they've been docked financially for making overblown claims. The downside now of telling the truth is that the numbers aren't great, and the G80 Sport qualifies in this regard. Couple it with the fact that it likes to be driven hard and fast, and the result is less than stellar gas mileage.

Observed: 18.6 mpg

Distance Driven: 187 miles

Driving Factors: We drove the G80 Sport in Sport mode 100% of the time, which hurt our combination city/highway driving over the course of a week. Eco mode nudges the throttle response and suspension into less exciting territory, but owners will get better results than we did if they stick to this mode most of the time.




The standard Lexicon 17-speaker audio system with Quantum Logic Surround & Clari-Fi is excellent and a pleasure to listen to. Good bass and clarity with no distortion makes this a huge plus for the model since it costs you nothing extra.

Final Thoughts

We came away seriously impressed by this sport-minded G80. Genesis essentially took a cushy big sedan and gave it some serious attitude, but the final product is a bit of a dilution on both sides. The car isn't a razor, but it also packs solid punch thanks to a potent engine. The suspension does more than most since it has to manage the car's big weight and size. What you get isn't a pure distillation of a sports sedan but a luxury sedan with a strong dose of sporty flavor. The G80 Sport is handsome, seriously comfortable and about as well made of a car as any other carmaker in this segment but for way less money. It's a car we would buy ourselves because it fits the bill in terms of comfort, class, build-quality and everyday performance. It's worth a look and well worth more than the asking price.

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