DETROIT — Somebody once told me that a luxury brand is defined by its sedans, not by its coupes, wagons or utility vehicles. By that rule, Genesis is doing just fine. The automaker has introduced four models of its G-line and all of them have been top-notch.
We had the G80 AWD 3.8 and after being in every car in the lineup some brand characteristics have begun to present themselves. The G80’s 3.8-liter direct injected V6 ran quiet and had ample oomph.
This engine was rated at 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined.
The shifting of the eight-speed automatic transmission was almost imperceptible. The car rode so smooth it was like it was floating down the street but it didn’t feel like a land yacht of days gone by. Needless to say a lot of time was spent on engineering a chassis that was stiff to reduce NVH and that kept the road noise outside of the passenger compartment as well.
The press material said Genesis used a rear multi-link suspension, with optimized 5-link geometry and increased suspension travel for a broader envelope of both dynamic performance and ride comfort.
Lateral suspension stiffness and overall ride comfort were top priorities in its dynamic development. The fully-independent, 5-link front and rear suspension designs have increased stiffness, with increased front and rear suspension travel, for greater wheel articulation and bump absorption over a variety of road surfaces.
My test vehicle had 19-inch alloy wheels that the automaker said resisted deflection forces for precise suspension response to changing road surfaces. Handling and road holding also benefited from a well-balanced 52/48 ratio of front-to-rear weight distribution.
The electric power steering was responsive and had a variable gear ratio that helped provide high-speed stability and direct feel at low and medium speeds. Most of that was in the press material but one of the small things that have always stood out to me about the Genesis brand is the doors. Not the way they’re designed but the way they open from inside the car. Every time I opened the door on the test G80 to get out the locking mechanism functioned so lightly that door actually felt like the latch didn’t catch. And it has been that way on every Genesis G-line car that I have ever test driven.
The car had a long dash to axle length, a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs. Even though it was all-wheel-drive, there was a rear-wheel bias. The single frame hexagonal grille is beginning to get some traction in the market as the face of Genesis. Standard were LED daytime running lights as well as taillights. But our test vehicle had LED headlights as well.
The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. Drive modes were Normal and Sport. The Sport setting gave a more agile feel by sending more available torque to the rear wheels. Further, to maximize efficiency, the system can direct more available torque to the rear wheels during highway cruising for reduced drivetrain frictional losses and noise. All modes were programmed in concert with Genesis’ Intelligent Drive Mode select.
That’s what Genesis said about its all-wheel-drive system. Unfortunately, the pavement here was dry for the test drive so there was no occasion to test it in snow or rain for that matter.
Option packages included wireless charging, heated rear seats, power driver’s seat extender, multi-view camera, a panoramic roof, a premium audio system, power trunk lid and of course the usual equipment: satellite radio, a navigation system, voice controls, auxiliary and USB as well as 12V jacks and shift by wire.
The G80 was a comparable luxury sedan and when Genesis starts bringing its sport utilities and crossovers on line, the brand will be a formidable competitor in the luxury market.
Our 2018 G80 AWD had a sticker of $55,325.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.