2021 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD: Core Brand Confidence


Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

So Automotive Rhythms got our hands on the 2021 Genesis G80 3.5T AWD early and connected with a few people of importance in Washington, DC, such as Film Creator and Director Maggy François, who felt right at home with the Korean luxury sports sedan when I took her for a spin. The reimagined G80 is set for automotive outliers ready for the unexpected. It’s dynamic, intelligent, and forward-thinking for mobile people like Maggy, whose team produces over 50 films a year. “I’m always on the move meeting networks, producers, and talent, so I prefer a sophisticated ride that keeps me composed and on point while rolling up in style,” she confidently stated.

Genesis is still fresh and new to many, but behind the scenes the automaker is building its brand methodically as Lexus did when it first entered the US. With a family of diverse vehicles from the G90 to G70, and the recent GV80 luxury SUV – introduced to the world during this past Super Bowl – Genesis is appealing to luxury-focused customers’ needs. On one spectrum, the Genesis House in NY will entice the influential crowd from its curated marketing initiatives. Simultaneously, dealer amenities like at-home pickup and delivery for vehicle service will focus on busy business minds. It’s been interesting watching Genesis evolve from what began as the luxury counterpart to parent company Hyundai.


For the at-home launch due to the pandemic, Genesis dropped off both the 2.5T and the 3.5T for back-to-back evaluations. I relished the moment and focused on the G80 3.5T due to its bigger and smoother V6 engine and defining 5-star 20” rims wrapped in staggered Pirelli P Zero performance tires (275/35R20 rear and 245/40R20 front). The 2.5T’s inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine whined a bit too much, but the 3.5T’s Twin-Turbo V6 T-GDI (375-horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque) always supplied the juice when needed. An 8-speed AT (Shift-by-Wire) with Paddle-Shifters and Drive Mode Select works proficiently in tandem with the motors. However, the barbwire looking rims on the 2.5T have to go immediately.

Starting at $47,700 for a G80 2.5T and $59,100 for the G80 3.5T, both models can be had with all-wheel drive (AWD), which is my preference regardless of weather conditions. The G80 AWD was more planted during aggressive steering and hard cornering. Of course, broader tires play a role with increased traction, braking, and cornering capabilities. Pricing increases as you move up the packaging options such as STANDARD, ADVANCED, and PRESTIGE for the 2.5T and STANDARD and PRESTIGE for the 3.5T.


“The core of our brand lies within the G80,” said William Lee, Executive Vice President and Global Head of the Genesis Brand. “This segment represents where we started, and we’re pleased that our newest offering achieves a perfect balance of discerning luxury and inspiring performance for our customers.”

Visually, the G80 is gallant and confident. The vehicle attracts attention immediately as you try to figure out what premium brand it represents. The elongated body is enhanced by stylish rims, a pompous Crest grille, quad-LED headlights laid in a parallel flow that mirror the side gills, dual Crest-shaped exhaust tips, and a large moonroof that expands almost the entirety of the roof when open. The only design flaw is the too-short rear that cascades downward too steeply.


Inside, the G80’s ambiance is pure and advanced. Dubbed “Executive Oasis” the cabin reminds me of modern-day Asian living, which allows advanced technology and spiritual awareness to co-exists in the same ecology. It begins with an Ergo motion driver’s seat featuring power side bolsters, cushion extensions, Nappa leather, a microfiber suede headliner and pillars, a sporty steering wheel, dark matte-finished wood trim, and knurled finished knobs and tabs. Soft-closing power doors, heated steering wheel and rear seats, Heads-up display, video turn signals indications, and the expansive 14.5” infotainment system that sits atop the dash augments entertainment and convenience capabilities. The electric gearing is actuated through a rotary dial, and another thinner dial is utilized to control the multi-media features. But the scrollers for volume and tuning took time adjusting to. Moreover, my wife loved the purple glow at night from this area.

Cameras are omnipresent around the vehicle, a two or tri-zone digitized climate control touchscreen is pretty cool, the 12.3” 3D Digital Instrument Cluster adds depth and creativity to the offerings, and the 21-Speaker Lexicon Premium Audio system is stellar, mostly when set to “On Stage” mode. The triangular metal grilles are stylish and QuantumLogic Surround elevates the listening experience to another level. With acoustics emanating from 18 locations inside the G80 and a powerful 14-channel amplifier, I literally created mini-concerts at every site I journeyed to.


Advanced safety features are typical and expected in this category, and from the G80 include a Blind–Spot View Monitor, Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (Rear), Highway Driving Assist II, and Forward Attention Warning to name a few. You can also park your vehicle standing outside (Remote Smart Parking Assist,) something I first witnessed on the new Hyundai Sonata.

The 20201 Genesis G80 is ready for primetime, so exceed your expectations when it comes to drivetime. Genesis certainly has.


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