Hyundai Genesis G80


Debut: 2014
Maker: Hyundai
Predecessor: Genesis Mk1 (2008)


 Published on 30 Jul 2014
All rights reserved. 


Note: the Genesis is renamed to Genesis G80 from 2016.

6 years ago, Hyundai Genesis entered the global executive car market with high hope. It was properly styled and engineered, made with up-to-date components and technologies, and cost Hyundai US$600 million to develop. Its biggest selling point was that it offered 5-Series level of space and contents at 3-Series prices, so it must be a huge success? Of course not. As we always know, it has never been easy for a brand without prestige image to break into the luxury car market – Lexus knows how hard that to be. The Genesis just lacked the styling, build quality and dynamic edges seen on German, British and even Japanese premium cars to impress executive car buyers, who are generally more demanding than buyers of cheaper cars. Great value for money alone is not sufficient. It needs to feel expensive and special to drive. Otherwise, it can only be seen as supermarket cut-price items like Cadillac, Lincoln or Acura (or Infiniti perhaps).

Now given a second chance, how does the Version 2.0 react? First, it has the exterior styling upgraded massively. While the “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” design theme is more about marketing language, the end product has a far more distinctive character than the old. Its shape is so much sleeker and crisper. Its LED daytime running lights add an extra sense of style. Its huge front grille is controversial though – it would be polite to say it is a reminiscent of Audi’s single-frame grille, or if you take a harsher view, its arbitary shape might just happen on any Chinese luxury pretenders. Anyway, it still makes the new Genesis special, and you can easily recognize it from 100 yards away!



The outgoing Genesis already established a solid basis of FR powertrain. What the new car really needs to work on is refinement. To do this, Hyundai benchmarked it against the current BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-class, and designed a body shell that comprises of 51.5 percent of high-strength steel so that its torsion rigidity is lifted by 40 percent and exceeds its German rivals. A lot of sealing adhesives and sound insulation are applied throughout the body to cut noise and vibration. It works! In most circumstances on the road, the new car is quiet and refined. Maybe no more than its best rivals but it is certainly up there. The all-multi-link suspensions, adapted from the old car, now pair with electronic continuous adaptive dampers and soak up undulations on regular roads effectively, resulting in a smooth ride, especially when cruising on highway.

Nevertheless, Hyundai forgot to benchmark its kerb weight against BMW and Mercedes. Built on the existing platform that underpins the heavyweight Equus and Kia K9 / Quoris, the Genesis contains nearly no aluminum in its monocoque structure (except the front suspension towers), while its engineering has almost no concern for weight reduction – at least not heard in its press release. Consequently, a V6 model tips the scale at 1900 kg whereas V8 can easily exceed 2 tons. That’s 200 kilos heavier than the equivalent 5-Series and E-class! What does that mean? Slower acceleration and less agility in corners.



Admittedly, the carried-over, all-naturally aspirated engines don’t help. You have the choice of 3.3 GDI or 3.8 GDI Lambda V6 with 282 hp and 315 hp respectively, or 5.0 Tau V8 with 420 hp. All are slightly detuned for the sake of better low-end torque. The Hyundai V6s are no match to the turbo/supercharged sixes of its European rivals, not only for performance and flexibility but also refinement and sound quality when approaching redline. Meanwhile, the V8 is fast as long as you don’t see it as a performance choice, unlike 550i or E500. It is smooth and quiet though. However, what really kills is their lack of consideration for fuel economy, something should kill their chances for success in European market.

Slightly better is Hyundai’s inhouse-built 8-speed automatic transmission. While it is not as responsive as ZF unit, its operation is mostly smooth.

We hoped Hyundai could improve its driver appeal massively in this generation. At first our prayers seemed to be listened. The new car has a Sport mode to play with, which can sharpen the dampers, steering and gearshift. Its electrical power steering has variable ratio, and it takes only 2.5 turns from lock to lock. The car was extensively tested at Nurburgring during development. Hyundai also said it hired Lotus Engineering to tune the chassis for European version. Sounds great, but in reality you can’t feel the Lotus work in any way. This car still biases strongly towards comfort. It rolls a lot in sudden change of direction, and the neutral attitude shifts to terminal understeer if you push hard (4WD version understeers even more). Switch to Sport mode only stiffens the suspension by a tiny bit, not enough to transform the handling. The steering might be quick, but you can never overcome its numbness. Strangely, the superb ride found on highway does not survive on rougher surfaces, as its suspension crashes over potholes and big bumps. This mean it is not as good a back-road eater as a highway cruiser.



Enough words on the dynamic side. In terms of showroom appeal, the Genesis is actually quite strong. Not only the new exterior styling turns head, the interior is also a nice place to sit. Benefited by a body shell slightly larger than class norm, its cabin offers more space than most rivals. While the dashboard design is conservative, it is well built. Aside from some cheap plastics at the dash top, all materials are rich while switches are nicely damped. The leather seats look expensive and feel comfortable. The trims on roof and doors are nicely made. The high-definition infotainment display and i-Drive-style rotary controller are classy. There is also a lot of standard equipment for the price it asked.

In the end, the Hyundai executive car still takes superior value for money to lure buyers. Dynamically, it is still too weak to compete with its European rivals. In terms of comfort and refinement, it cannot match Lexus or Mercedes. There is still a long way to go before it can be seen as a world-class player.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Genesis 3.3
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4990 / 1890 / 1480 mm
3010 mm
V6, 60-degree
3342 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
VIM
DI
282 hp
256 lbft
8-speed automatic
All: multi-link
-
245/45WR18

1900 kg
149 mph (limited)
7.2 (est)
-
Genesis 3.8 (AWD)
2014
Front-engined, RWD (4WD)
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4990 / 1890 / 1480 mm
3010 mm
V6, 60-degree
3778 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
VIM
DI
315 hp
293 lbft
8-speed automatic
All: multi-link
-
245/45WR18

1930 kg
149 mph (limited)
6.2 (c) / 5.9* (6.6*)
14.4* (16.2*)
Genesis 5.0
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4990 / 1890 / 1480 mm
3010 mm
V8, 90-degree
5038 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
VIM
DI
420 hp
383 lbft
8-speed automatic
All: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 245/40WR19
R: 275/35WR19
2040 kg
149 mph (limited)
5.0*
12.3*




Performance tested by: *C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
G80 3.3T Sport (AWD)
2017
Front-engined, RWD (4WD)
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4990 / 1890 / 1480 mm
3010 mm
V6, 60-degree
3342 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
365 hp
376 lbft
8-speed automatic
All: multi-link
Adaptive dampers
F: 245/40WR19
R: 275/35WR19
2041 kg (2112 kg)
149 mph (limited)
4.9* / 5.0*
12.1* / 12.5*


















































Performance tested by: *C&D




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