Genesis Electrified G80 review: an unconventional cruise missile

Genesis is on a late roll. With an increasing percentage of its upcoming portfolio driven by electric powertrains, the quirky Korean luxury brand looks set to continue expanding its presence in a luxury segment that has been dominated by too few choices for too long.

Now, Genesis has electrified one of its first signature models: the Electrified G80, an aptly named battery-powered flavor of the G80 sedan that helped establish the Genesis brand as a true contender and not a mere curiosity. But does this emission-free version stand on its own?

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What does electrification mean for the G80? Well, some complete reworking on the existing car platform, first. The Genesis managed to load 87.2 kWh worth of batteries into the car, much of it under and behind the plush rear seats.

Unfortunately, compromises had to be made, and a sizable percentage of that package sticks out in the trunk. Cargo space is necessarily down, then, from 13.1 cubic feet in the regular G80 to 10.7 here. That’s a big decrease in the form of a large hump, but unless you’re carrying luggage for a month-long European holiday it shouldn’t be a problem.

Unfortunately, compromises had to be made, and a sizable percentage of that package sticks out in the trunk.

Under the hood, where a 2.5 or 3.5 liter engine used to be, are all the inverters and chargers plus all the bright orange wires needed to hook up the lot. Genesis has interestingly chosen to cover all of this with a plastic casing, giving everything a familiar, internal combustion look. Regardless, no token vaults can be found here. Sorry, frunk lovers.

So what’s powering the machine, then? Two 136 kilowatt electric motors, providing the equivalent of 182 horsepower each. With one motor per axle, all-wheel drive is standard. Genesis rates the Electrified G80 at 365 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s comparable horsepower and about 25 percent more torque than the fastest of the non-electrified G80s, and you’ll feel it as soon as you dive into the throttle.

Well, assuming you’re not in Eco mode, anyway, which drastically flattens the throttle curve in pursuit of maximum range. Choose Comfort mode and the G80 thrusts forward with every tap on the accelerator. In Sport, it’s decidedly rare to go, charging out of tight corners harder than its 245/45 RE19 Michelin Primacy Tour A/S tires can grip.

This isn’t a sports car, but it accelerates like one in that delightful EV way. Torque and throttle response are best at low speeds, exactly where you want them to pull away from the stoplight or around slower traffic on a two-lane road. It’s only at higher speeds, on the highway, where acceleration feels less immediate. Still, there’s plenty of power for freeway overtaking and all the high-speed driving you could want.

G80 electrified Genesis

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The normal suspension of the non-electrified G80 is soft to start with, but the 500 pounds of extra mass on the electrified means that handling is necessarily compromised. The car wallows in corners and rolls over easily on big bumps, especially the rear takes a long time to settle. Rougher surfaces send an unfortunate amount of road noise through the suspension, but on the highway, when cruising, the G80 is a delight.

And that’s exactly how you should drive this car. Pushing hard only compromises the range, which is EPA rated at 282 miles. In my tests, much of which was spent at motorway speeds, I recorded an average consumption of 3.4km/kWh. Multiply that by the 87.2 kWh battery pack and you have a theoretical range of 296 miles. That’s in line with the 290-odd miles of estimated range the car would show me on a dash after a full charge.

On the highway, on a cruise, the G80 is a delight.

All the more reason, therefore, to set the cruise control (which also helps maximize the range of electric vehicles) and let the Highway Driving Assist do its thing. HDA does a great job of keeping the G80 centered in the lane at an adequate distance from traffic ahead. This is the older flavor of HDA, not capable of handling automated lane changes or the like, but still good enough at looking ahead and keeping speed smoothly even in tight traffic. However, it does leave a generous gap between the cars in front, which could mean you’re trimmed a bit more than you might like.

Back in my day stuck in traffic I wasn’t particularly bothered by it, especially when the car’s Ergo Motion seats kicked in. This isn’t a full-on massage as such, but drive long enough and the G80 will decide it’s time for you to get some tweaking. The car will fully inflate and deflate the lumbar support while also raising and lowering the seat cushion underneath. It’s nothing compared to the invigorating massages you can get in something like a Mercedes-Benz EQS, but then this car is $20,000 cheaper.

The rear seats are rather simpler, non-adjustable but comfortable, with separate HVAC controls and sun shades on the sides and rear glass. Rear-seat headroom is a bit limited, but tolerable, a necessary trade-off to ease that sloping roofline.

Genesis Electrified G80 Interior

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When it comes to exterior design, it’s not hard to know where to start. That massive chrome crosshatch of G80 schnoz is absolutely impossible to miss from the grandest of parking lots. It makes one hell of a statement and frankly I think it’s a good one, at least a strong one.

The lighting is fitted into a pair of slots that seem too thin for the task at hand, a design cue echoed in the fender vents just behind the front wheels and back again, where the brake lights they are likewise divided in two. The rear of the Electrified G80 is downright tame compared to the nose, and in fact the whole rest of the exterior is just as mild, with the exception of the huge 19in wheels which are so bright they knocked out the exposure on my Sony A7 III whenever the sun broke through the clouds.

Back inside, my test car had a white interior, paired with recycled “wrought wood” dashboard inserts that promise to be good for the environment while providing an interesting visual treatment. The overall interior design is clean and bright and works very well. From the driver’s seat, materials are generally good, with carpeting extending down the sides of the transmission tunnel. Even the fabric headlining feels nice to the touch, but if you look around you’ll find plenty of hard plastic to hand, including door recesses and ceiling-mounted handles.

Genesis’s distinct steering wheel, four spokes creating two horizontal bars, looks strange but feels good, and all the necessary controls are right under your thumbs. Cruise and driver assistance settings are on the right while the left handles volume, voice and media switches. The paddles on the back regulate the speed of the regenerative braking. Unfortunately there is no one-pedal mode as such, but hold down the left stick and the car will automatically stop.

Genesis Electrified G80 Interior

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The interior design overall is great, but I’m less enthusiastic about the Genesis infotainment experience. A shiny, chrome and white rotary knob sits in the center console, which rotates left or right and tilts in four directions to navigate through the many, many menus.

Everything is alright. Trouble is, the car’s rotary shifter, which sits two inches away, is roughly the same size and similarly clad in bright chrome. Despite spending a lot of time in various Genesis cars over the years, I inevitably turn the infotainment knob when trying to shift to D.

Up front is a Qi wireless charging pad, which also features NFC pairing if your phone is suitably equipped. There are also two USB-A ports for wired charging. There’s a 12-volt charger located in the center armrest, with two USB-A ports for rear passengers hidden in the armrest.

The infotainment experience is the same basic Hyundai experience we’ve seen for years, here with a sleek Genesis-specific skin. That doesn’t change the functionality, though. Mapping is basic but functional, while speech recognition is borderline unusable for anything but the simplest of tasks. Thankfully, you can choose between Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but don’t forget the cable. It’s not wireless.

The overall equipment is complete; the options are effectively null.

The overall equipment is complete; the options are effectively null. The car you see here had only one option, Capri Blue paint for $575. In fact, other than interior color, paint is the only option, with the most expensive choice being matte Verbier White, which looks stunning and is well worth the $1,500 cost.

That means the Genesis Electrified G80’s $79,825 MSRP isn’t far from what you’ll likely spend. This car, with paint and a $1,095 destination fee, ran a total of $81,495.

This is a great car for that amount of money. Sure, it lacks some premium niceties you’ll find on a Mercedes-Benz EQS and doesn’t have the commitment of a Porsche Taycan, but then again, you’ll spend a lot more to get into one of those with this level of equipment.

More disappointingly, the Electrified G80 lacks some of the more advanced tech features found on the Genesis GV60, like biometric security and Highway Drive Assist 2, which adds automatic lane changing. But there’s still plenty of quirkiness in this car to make sure it stands out in a crowd. More importantly, when you get tired of the crowds, the G80 will smoothly and comfortably take you wherever you want to go.

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