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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

Genesis G80: Gas or Electric, the Ultimate question

In 2016, Genesis was branded as the upscale brand for the Hyundai group and the first generation G80 was born. Genesis launched the second generation in 2021 to continue building its luxury credentials worldwide, and they’ve done a great job. The biggest twist has rarely been seen before: you can have the same car with a gasoline or electric engine. Let’s look at how both vehicles fare in different weather and especially how they can suit potential buyers.

Opting for the Genesis G80 gives you a great-looking exterior, regardless of what’s under the hood. We cannot compliment the Korean automaker’s design enough. The pentagonal grille and dual LED light bars on each side emphasize the bolder look and the grille, which had a chrome finish on both vehicle versions. At first glance, it may not look different, but if you look closely, you will find that the holes inside the pentagon are filled in on the electric version and open on the gasoline variant. That and the wheels, which are more aerodynamic on the electric, are the only giveaways when looking very closely. In the back, the shapes are so similar. The taillights, the trunk shape, and even the tiny bits of chrome on the sides of the bumper are all identical. The design of these two sedans is among the bests available in every segment, and both cars display such a strong presence on the road; it gives the impression of a much more expensive vehicle, and we expect buyers to get their fair share of ‘is that a Bentley?’ on the road.

The quality of materials found inside the G80s is high. You will find fine wood, leather and aluminum everywhere you look and touch. The gas-powered version had a dark brown interior with white touches on the seats. In the electric model, Genesis opted for a light interior with white seats, light grey touches on the dashboard and blue accents on the doors and dashboard. The steering wheel is interesting, with its added spokes to better suit drivers. It’s a small detail, but that can make a big difference in the overall experience. The dashboard is in 3D and fully-digital, a feature that looks weird when you step in the vehicle for the first time but which you get used to quickly. The information on the screen is precise and customizable; unfortunately, you cannot get the map displayed on the gauge cluster, but you get the instructions from the built-in GPS on your heads-up display. There is also a driver attention warning that monitors the movement of your eyes and helps determine if you need to rest or aren’t paying attention to the road ahead. Overall, a great layout in the driver’s vicinity isn’t compromised if you opt for any version of the Genesis G80.

Genesis G80 EV back seats
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

At roughly 5m in length (197 in), the occupants will find enough room to make themselves very comfortable. The doors in the back open wide enough to let anyone get in without any hassle. We start with the rear seats since it is one of its best attributes. The amount of features available isn’t out of this world, but the sheer comfort is unmatched in this segment. The middle seat is also usable, just in case. A nice feature on both versions is the ability for the rear passenger to move the front passenger seat for added legroom, something usually found on much more expensive vehicles. The battery doesn’t impact the trunk space on the electric version, so you don’t have to compromise regardless of the powertrain. Finally, in front, both occupants can travel in silence with the excellent soundproofing of the vehicle. They’ll also arrive there relaxed as the car can determine the optimal seat position with the Smart Posture Care option on the G80.

G80 EV infotainment
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

A quick word on the multimedia system: you will find the same 14.5 HD screen in all versions of this luxury midsize sedan and many other vehicles of the Korean automaker. A multi-function screen with a fast and excellent display but doesn’t allow connecting Apple Carplay or Android Auto wirelessly. If you find it far from your hands, you can use the beautiful knob on the center console to navigate the different menus and options. Right there, you will also find the volume and the tune button. Under the multimedia knob, you will find the Shift-by-Wire knob, which you will mistake for one another for a few hours, but you get the hang of it rather quickly. We also liked the Lexicon premium audio sound system, a great sound system in this car.

It’s finally time to talk about one of the most distinctive aspects of the Genesis G80: the possibility of buying the exact vehicle in a gasoline or electric configuration. Many automakers are adding electric versions to their lineup, but this vehicle is among the first to share the same body. Starting with the fuel version, you can get the G80 with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a twin-turbo six-cylinder like our test model. Figures are 300hp and 311 lb-ft of torque on the base engine and 375hp and 391 lb-ft of torque on the larger powertrain. Then, the electrified G80 is powered by two 136kW motors on each axle coupled to an 87.6kWh battery pack that delivers 365hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The gas-powered engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the electric version has a 454 km (282 mi) range and can charge from 10% to 80% on a 350kW DC fast charger. Hence, both versions are pretty compelling, depending on your preferences.

Genesis G80 interior
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti Interior G80 3.5T

Even though the powertrains couldn’t be more different, the driving experience is similar. In both cases, the vehicle is tuned to be more comfortable than exciting. We were fortunate enough to drive these two vehicles in the harshest conditions, be it rainstorms or snowstorms, and the feeling of confidence behind the wheel was high thanks to their all-wheel drive configurations. Now, for the particularities of each model, the gas-powered Genesis G80 shifts smoothly through the gears, especially in comfort mode. The Sport mode will make the steering tighter and improve the stability in curves, but remember that it isn’t a performance sedan. The G80 uses the rear wheels to move the car so that you may encounter some understeer, but the safety features will quickly kick in to provide the safest and most comfortable drive. As for the electrified G80, since it has an impressive torque figure, the acceleration is more lively, especially in Sport mode. The system propels you to 100kph in about 4.1 seconds, a feat you would never expect looking at it from the outside. That said, it is the extra quietness that buyers will appreciate compared to the gasoline version (and the ecofriendliness, of course!). Nevertheless, choosing a G80 gives you a luxury-focused drive; the electronically controlled suspensions perform incredibly well.

Genesis hit the nail by proposing the G80 with an electric version sold alongside the gas version to please as many people as possible. Our only criticism about the electric version is that the charger is located on the front grille, which can be challenging depending on the charging location. Be ready to open the wallet also, the G80 with the six-cylinder starts at $76,000, and the electrified G80 starts at $105,150. That said, if you are in the market for a distinguished design, the G80 is worth the bucks.

Genesis G80 3.5T
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Genesis has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Genesis Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.

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