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[Behind the Wheel] G80 sets identity of Genesis luxury sedan

Genesis’ all-new G80 (Hyundai Motor Group)
Genesis’ all-new G80 (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor’s luxury brand Genesis launched a revamped third-generation G80 on March 30, seven years after the previous version was launched in 2013. 

After releasing G70 in 2017 and the brand’s first sport utility vehicle GV80 earlier this year, Genesis has been diversifying its vehicle lineup to attract a wider range of customers. 

As the flagship model, the latest G80 represents and cements Genesis’ brand identity.

The Korea Herald had an opportunity to test drive the all-new G80 on March 31, driving around Yangjae-dong area in Seoul. 

When I arrived at the test driving venue, rows of G80 in multiple hues were waiting. 

According to Hyundai Motor, the all-new G80 comes in 16 different colors -- 14 glossy colors and two matt colors including white, black, wine, blue and red. I drove the bright blue G80. 

Soon after starting the car, the infotainment system notified on the screen that the air purification system was on. It automatically filters the interior air through sensors. 

The driving silence of the all-new G80 was impressive. Acceleration, slowing down and changing lanes all worked smoothly and were responsive under quiet conditions. 

The automaker said it has attached the centrifugal pendulum absorber to the all-new G80, a type of tuned mass damper which reduces the amplitude of a vibration when driving a combustion engine car. 

The car has been built on the automaker’s third-generation rear-wheel drive-based platform, which focuses on lowering the car body to place the center of the gravity as low as possible. By applying light materials such as aluminum, the G80’s weight has become lighter by 19 percent to 125 kilograms. This has allowed the large-sized sedan to record improved fuel efficiency at 10 kilometers per liter.

When I sped up on the five-lane road, the ergonomic Ergo Motion Seat, with seven air pouches that sets the ultimate seating position with comfort while driving, was activated. It was a feature usually found in sports cars or high-end sedans of foreign carmakers. 

Another joy of driving the all-new G80 came from the navigation. 

While majority Koreans are highly dependent on high-tech mobile app navigations such as T Map or Kakao Navi, the G80’s embedded navigation was easy to use, responsive and more intuitive than mobile app navigations. 

A 14.5-inch display was large enough -- but maybe too wide -- to look at while driving. The augmented reality-based navigation was realistic and showed the road situation specifically on the screen real-time, from bus lanes to even the vehicles moving besides the G80, through sensors. 

Driving assistance features were also noticeable. Without having to set additional setting, by activating the highway driving assistance mode, the G80 automatically calculates the distance between the car in front and the speed. 

When the reporter turned the HDA mode and the lane keeping assist mode on, acceleration, brake pedals and even the steering wheel while cornering were barely used. 

The all-new G80 that I test-drove was the gasoline 3.5-turbo full option version, which costs around 82 million won. The price begins from 52 million won without any options.

While the price of the all-new G80 is as high as the luxury sedans such as Mercedes-Benz’ E-Class and BMW’s 5 series, over 22,000 preorders were made on the first day of the launch, according to Hyundai Motor. This amounts to the figure of the annual sales of G80 in 2019. 

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

The Korea Herald ratings

Design: 4 stars
Fuel economy: 3 stars
Safety: 4 stars
Price: 4 stars

Overall: 15 stars
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