Genesis has emerged over the last five years as one of the most intriguing, if not impressive, brands in the always-high-bar luxury class. The South Korean manufacturer, the luxury group for Hyundai, has made a point of delivering big on style, comfort and value pricing.
In a U.S. market smitten with SUVs, those of us that still find our mouths watering over a gorgeous luxury sedan may be the minority these days, but one thing we can agree on is electric vehicles (EVs) are not simply coming – they have arrived. And the all-new 2023 Genesis G80 EV deserves all the attention it has been getting.
I recently tested the Genesis G80 sedan, which sits above the smaller entry-level G70 sedan and below the top-end luxo-cruiser G90. I have been a fan of the Genesis brand for one reason: They announced their entry into a supremely competitive luxury class, knowing they would have to deliver on every aspect of the vehicle’s experience, and did it with value pricing that has been made Americans include South Korea in a legit producer of luxury cars (no small task, for sure).
What makes the all-new 2023 Genesis Electrified G80, and its $80,920 starting price, distinct is its willingness to take on (and beat) the top luxury EVs in its segment like the Tesla Model 3, BMW i4, and Polestar 2. In fact, it chooses to focus its luxury wrath on a segment just above it that includes a who’s who of luxury and performance, including BMW i7, Mercedes-Benz EQS and the Tesla Model S.
The Electrified G80 is not a hybrid, there is no gas-powered engine, it operates off a battery and two electric motors. That means you must start to work on the number one reason consumer say they are nervous about EVs – range anxiety. This G80 offers 282 miles of range on a full charge. That’s about three hours of driving on the highway to empty – though you never want to get to “no charge available” status.
The 282 range is just 18 miles below the range of the higher-priced Mercedes EQE and 75 miles less than the higher-priced Tesla Model 3 Long-Range model. Efficiency is rated at 105 City and 89 Highway (97 Combined MPGe).
Propelling the G80 are two Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous motors offering up a 365 Horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque experience. That big torque makes the G80 stand up to attention from a dead stop and accelerate like a rocket. The lack of any exhaust note or engine rumble only makes it feel like it’s going even faster.
The exterior design of the G80 is athletic, lean, and refined. It all starts with the huge front grille which, of course, is a faux element because there is no engine. This grille is bold and masks the charging port. Thin horizontal headlight wraps around the edges and follow the creased character line running all the way to the rear deck.
My tester had exclusive 19-inch rims and an exhaustless rear bumper, which are both EV-only design cues, and the only tip-off the G80 may be an EV.
The Genesis Road Preview system is impressive as it scans the road ahead for irregularities, firming up or softening each individual damper to keep everything comfortable. Add to that the immensely quiet cabin setting and you have a respite from the world around you.
For a midsize luxury sedan, the Electrified G80 cabin feels right-sized. While the battery pack elevates the cabin floor and impinges on headroom for both the front and rear rows, it is nothing too annoying when you are surrounded by such a posh environment and high-quality materials. I loved the microfiber suede headliner and leatherette dashboard. Everything feels upscale and luxury-quality, including even the soft-touch plastics on the door panels and console. Seating is firm and offers plenty of power setting flexibility.
The 14.5-inch center infotainment screen is situated high on the dash for easy visibility. The Genesis Electrified touchscreen was sitting too far away for my preferences as a driver. I had no choice but to use the rotary control on the console. The operation was intuitive for the most part, a couple of relatively clunky maneuvers were easily ironed out the longer I had it.
The G80 Electrified comes standard with adaptive cruise control, lane centering and lane keep assistance, blind spot monitoring, high- and low-speed automatic emergency braking. I found the Genesis G80 kept its distance from traffic and other obstacles making highway travel a breeze.
In the end, everyone must first determine if an EV is for them. Are they ready to embrace range anxiety and take in all the benefits an EV has to offer? From a price standpoint, the G80 EV hits well above the belt in its segment and is better than average for the range offered.
• John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing, and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations, and vehicles.