Yes, Genesis is a British band, but it’s also a new car brand to the UK. The posh arm of Hyundai has now launched two models: the Genesis G80 and the GV80. It is the G80 saloon that I’m reviewing here.
Genesis wants its motors to be seen as credible – and I wager they will be. It will just take a lot of time – and when the time is right, the Genesis G80 will indeed be seen as a real alternative to the likes of BMW’s 5 Series.
I got behind the wheel of the turbo infused 2.5-litre, 304PS saloon. It houses an eight-speed automatic cog changer which you operate via a rotary dial. Add all-wheel-drive traction to the recipe, and 62mph arrives in a mere 6.0 seconds. 155mph is the Korean machine’s maximum speed.
The petrol-powered unit starts up aggressively, but it soon chills once you’re on the move.
The G80’s handling is fulfilling rather than fun, which is what you need from a premium saloon. The vehicle is big, and it’s only when you enter bends too enthusiastically that you become cognisant of its weightiness.
When it comes to the luxury side of things, Genesis is up there with the best. The G80’s interior materials are all top quality, and I particularly like the Nappa leather seats. Any metal you see in the car is real – and the same goes for the wood trim. There is no fake stuff here. This is a motor with a cabin equal to, if not better than, the 5 Series’.
Genesis’ switchgear is easy to operate, and the G80’s seats are supportive and set high, so you and your passengers get a clear view out. Any saloon that gives you an authoritative driving position is good in my book. The elevated seating makes you feel confident, and it’s safer.
Space-wise, despite a slightly coupe-like look, the Genesis G80 is a thoroughbred saloon – and comes with a 424-litre boot. That is not as spacious as the BMW 5’s trunk, but it’s plenty for an executive express that sits five-up.
As for running costs, the G80 does up to 31.2mpg, while emitting 205g/km CO2. The claimed figures are fair, as, on my test circuit around Buckinghamshire, I got 28mpg. I wasn’t exactly light-footed for a lot of the journey, either.
There is no questioning the high quality of the Korean automaker’s cars. Everything in the G80 feels well-made, and the finish of the saloon – inside and out is striking. That’s no great shocker, though, as Hyundai is seen as a reliable name here in Britain. So, despite the fact Genesis won’t want direct comparisons made with that marque, the Hyundai Motor Group is its parent company. Therefore, take a chill pill – I’d eat my office hat if the G80 turns out to be a pig.
Besides, the five-year plan that comes with all Genesis cars is enough to relax you. The G80 has a warranty for that period as well as half a decade’s worth of roadside assistance and servicing.
What is more, you won’t need to visit a dealer to purchase a G80 or get it maintained. You can’t anyway; Genesis doesn’t have a dealer network. Instead, the automaker has got a bunch of “Genesis Studios” located within shopping malls. And this is the most remarkable bit – you get a special Genesis Personal Assistant to sort your needs out – from test driving before you purchase, to servicing. The G80 saloon really does have “premium” embossed all over it.
Unsurprisingly, Genesis’ G80 achieved the ultimate five-star score from Euro NCAP. So, if you’re hunting for a safe, high-class saloon, this car needs to be on your shopping list.
In summary, the G80 is a top introduction to the Genesis brand. The company will have a challenge tempting motorists from the usual German suspects, but I feel the Koreans will do it. Success won’t come overnight, though. The premium car market has always been a tough nut to crack on this side of the globe.
Tim Barnes-Clay qualified as a journalist in 1994 and is a member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers. He initially trained in broadcast journalism and has worked as a reporter and news reader at various radio stations in East Anglia and the Midlands. He has also been a motoring journalist for the Mirror Group’s L!ve TV cable network and a presenter, reporter and producer at ITV Central in Birmingham. Tim is now an automotive writer, focusing on car reviews. He has media accreditation with all motor manufacturers’ press offices, and this enables him to test drive the latest cars. He also attends new vehicle press launches at home and abroad.
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