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Sporting Credentials, but no Athlete: 2018 Genesis G80 SPORT

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Being a middle child is not easy, you get less attention, the hand-me-downs and have to figure most things out for yourself. In Genesis case, that’s what they’ve done with the G80. After being launched into its own brand in 2017, the once Hyundai, now Genesis nameplate is growing and attempting to earn its wings. The ever so competitive luxury car segment is not an easy piece to start cracking into, yet here they are. Originally offered with a 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V-6 and the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8, the Genesis was doing just fine on its own – now they went and added a third that sits right in the middle of these two power plants, called it the “SPORT” and hopes it attracts some leery consumers in the Genesis showroom.

Swallowing miles like a Circle K Big Gulp:

There is something to be said when Genesis decided to launch a “SPORT” edition of a car that never really carried a sporty bone in its chassis. Even with having a 5.0-liter V-8 option, it was more glory than guts. The G80 SPORT gets the hand-me-down, 3.3-twin turbocharged V-6 out of there new full-sized G90’s luxury sedan with its electronically controlled shift-by-wire 8-speed automatic transmission. If one word had to be used to describe how the G80 SPORT uses its 365-horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque at 1300 rpms, it would be “gulp.” Because really, that’s what this thing does to the speedometer – just eats the miles per hour – 60, 80, 100 mph, “gulp” all in one setting, at least that was our excuse to the police officer as he handed out the ticket. It’s incredible how well the turbo here works considering the G80’s 4700lb pudgy waist, taking just over 5.0 seconds to 60 mph. While All-Wheel Drive is an available $2500 option, even Genesis realize that its rear-wheel drive platform will win over at least 60-percent of its consumers.

Mated to a silky smooth 8-speed automatic, the G80 SPORT expresses a more feminine side than an aggressive one. Since torque comes in at the low end of the rev counter, the G80’s power band remains consistent to 5,000 rpms, providing no loss of power. With a Sport Mode engaged things get a little spicier that can crisp up the responsiveness of throttle inputs and gear management. Since the transmission is shift-by-wire, it’s all computably controlled and not actually connected to anything making the shifts seem receptive and agile. Manual shifting is available through the steering wheel paddle shifters, but really the transmission does a stand up job on its own.

Even with a sport inspired assertiveness, the G80 SPORT continues to offer very little personality behind the wheel. The cushioned sport suspension is great at providing a solid, comfortable ride and generating certain solitude within the cabin. The electrically managed steering is numb and not very engaging, though the thick wheel and copper stitch felt good in our hands. Disengaging the traction control however can allow for a bit of wee fun – the G80 SPORT knows how to cut loose during a footloose song sliding around the road making us look as if we’re professional drivers.

It’s All in the Details:

There is no question of a doubt that the G80 SPORT is a handsome thing. And we love all of the details that are incorporated into this version with the copper wheel caps, copper headlight housings, honey comb grille, 19-inch wheels, quad-tipped exhaust, and aggressive front facial expression – it’s a style that never gets tiring to stare at. The interior continues the same format with “sport” inspired seats, copper stitching in the white and black leather upholstery, copper trimming in the clock and a new electronic gear select lever. The G80 SPORT accentually comes in one format with all the bells and whistles wrapped in one $55,250 price tag. Featuring standard equipment like its vista view panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, adaptive LED front lighting system, power rear window shade and manual side window shades, a large 9.2-inch high definition touch screen infotainment that supports CarPlay and Android Connectivity, Navigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning and Lane Keep Assistance – shew, I think we got it all.

As such, its handsome charm also features a comfortable setting with highly bolstered, supportive front seats and commodious rear comfort. Materials used throughout are of a high richness and consistency throughout. All the buttons have a premium, tactile presence to them. And ultimately, upholds an elegant, simple stature that’s pleasing and not overdone.

Since the G80 SPORT’s performance sits right dab in the middle, you would guess correctly that it’s fuel economy comes in at the middle of the pack with an EPA rating of 17 MPG between the 3.8’s 19 MPG and the 5.0’s 16 MPG. However, in our real world testing and our extremely heavy foot, we managed to still see a staggering 23 MPG combined with mostly highway driving.

After launching into their own brand earlier this 2017 year, Genesis is off to a good, healthy start. The new twin turbo V-6 pairs exceptionally well with the G80 and its overall personality. However, while it carries sporty credentials, it’s no athlete – we hope when they launch the new baby G70, it’s engineered to be as athletic as some of its rivals, but for now, at nearly half the price of its competitors, you can’t go wrong with here.

Vehicle Specifications:
2018 Genesis G80 SPORT: $55,250
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $56,225
Performance Specs:
3.3-liter Twin Turbo V-6 – 365-Horsepower, 8-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±5.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 17/25/20(City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 23 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±500 Miles


  1. The pictures here have a really nice luxurious vibe about them. But it sounds like this car also packs a performance punch to go along with that “arrest me red” paint job.

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