2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport

The thing about the 2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport: The head of a valet service at a restaurant on New Year’s Eve said to me as his associate handed me back the key fob (a hefty object, speaking to the fact that this is a substantial vehicle), “We don’t see many of these.” A couple days later, a locksmith in downtown Plymouth, who was making some keys for autofieldblog HQ (yes, there are still independent locksmiths that make keys for doors) looked out his window and said to me, “What’s that?” Neither of these probably make the people at Genesis all that happy, but in both cases the tone of voice indicated admiration, if not full-on interest.

The thing about the 2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.3T Sport: The head of a valet service at a restaurant on New Year’s Eve said to me as his associate handed me back the key fob (a hefty object, speaking to the fact that this is a substantial vehicle), “We don’t see many of these.” A couple days later, a locksmith in downtown Plymouth, who was making some keys for autofieldblog HQ (yes, there are still independent locksmiths that make keys for doors) looked out his window and said to me, “What’s that?” Neither of these probably make the people at Genesis all that happy, but in both cases the tone of voice indicated admiration, if not full-on interest. And they both bring up a point that is probably going to become more important in the luxury segment of the market, and that’s that someone who is looking for a sport sedan may want some exclusivity, and let’s face it: it is hard to think of a car in that category and not realize that there are German-branded vehicles in this space of every size and in such quantities that the sort of exclusivity that one might be interested in having by spending more money than one might for a Chevy or a Ford is pretty much nonexistent when it comes to those marques.

For the time being, at least, Genesis vehicles (there are the G90, G80 and soon the G70) are still out there in limited numbers (for 2017 the brand delivered 20,612 vehicles, which, to put this into context, is lower than the number of Audi A4s during the same time frame, 34,434 vehicles, and many fewer than the BMW 3 Series, which had sales of 59,449 units in 2017 and that was off 15.6 percent from 2016).

GENESIS DEBUTS 2018 G80 SPORT TRIM WITH 3.3-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE STYLING

But given the execution of the G80—inside, outside and under the hood—there is all the likelihood in the world that this is going to be something that many people—valets as well as key makers and more—are going to see and own.

First of all, there is the presence of the car. It looks solid—perhaps because of a high(ish) beltline—and stylish—with a swept back look that indicates this is a sports sedan, not a senior sedan. The Sport model (there are non-Sport variants of the G80) features a dark chrome, hexagonal crosshatched grille above a honeycomb front air dam. There is a theme of dark colors—smoked lamp housings fore and aft, black side mirrors, satin window surrounds—that is, in some cases, accented by copper, as on the grille, the outer diameters of the 19-inch alloy wheels, and within the headlamp structure.

GENESIS DEBUTS 2018 G80 SPORT TRIM WITH 3.3-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE STYLING

The powertrain is a 3.3-liter direct-injected, twin-turbo V6 that produces 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque which is mated to an eight-speed automatic that offers paddle shifting and as it uses shift-by-wire technology, the word responsive comes to mind.

The interior of the car is exceedingly well executed. The seats are said to be made with “premium leather” surfaces, and this leather looks and feels like what I imagine is used to make high-end handbags. There is contrasting stitching (i.e., rich brown leather with copper-colored threads). Somehow there is a hint of copper that can be seen within the perforated holes in the seating surfaces. The driver’s seat is 16-way adjustable and the front passenger’s 12-way; both are heated and ventilated. The headliner is black microfiber suede.

As befitting a sports sedan the pedals are metal.

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The interior trim is based on carbon fiber and aluminum. This is executed in a sophisticated manner; we are not in the territory of boy racers here, with flashy metallics and carbon fiber showing off its weave.

There is a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system. A high-definition 9.2-inch touch screen for the navigation system and infotainment controls. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board.

The safety suite includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist and lane-departure warning, driver attention alert, high-beam assist, and smart cruise control that will go to 0 mph and back again in stop-and-go traffic.

Consider this: Everything mentioned here—and there is more—is standard. The window sticker on the door has an MSRP of $57,750. Add the freight and handling of $975, and you’re looking at a price of $58,725. There’s nothing extra for the panoramic sunroof. The full color heads-up display is in there. The all-wheel-drive system. The paint. All things that are boxes that need to be checked for many of the competitive vehicles, with all of those checks adding to the fee.

But this is not a car that’s interesting because of a value argument. It is interesting because it represents the leading edge of automotive luxury for a new generation.

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