Genesis’ new look migrates to G80 sedan

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Genesis pulled the wraps on a redesigned G80 sedan that the brand hopes will help spur a new era of sales growth with its fresh design language and host of new technologies.

Hyundai Motor Group’s premium marque presented the latest iteration in an online unveiling from Seoul on March 30. The third-generation G80 went on sale in the domestic South Korean market that same day and hits other markets in the second half of the year, starting with the U.S.

The new G80 gets a new platform, new powertrains, new safety technology and a new look that draws on the crest grille and “two lines” lighting signature that debuted in the GV80 crossover.

“The all-new G80 is the centerpiece of our lineup perfectly weighing athletic and elegant characteristics. This represents the clearest interpretation yet of the Genesis brand identity,” Genesis global design chief Sang Yup Lee said in a news release.

The four-door sedan sports a fastback silhouette, massive shield grille and distinctive hashmark lighting in the front, sides and rear. The tail is tapered with a sloping deck and a muscular rear fender that is sculpted by a so-called parabolic line running down the length of the vehicle.

The G80 adopts the brand’s new Athletic Elegance design language that debuted in the GV80, the brand’s first crossover. The new entries could put Genesis on more shopping lists. While its quality and satisfaction scores are industry-leading, the brand is still a big unknown to many.

Global brand boss William Lee said in December he expected a big sales bump from the addition of the new vehicles this year and next, though that optimism will no doubt be tempered by the market down turn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the vehicles are launching at an inopportune time, building brand awareness be key to a long-term expansion.

Genesis said its new brand-exclusive third-generation rear-wheel-drive platform lowers the body and center of gravity, delivering a wider cabin and better stability. Use of aluminum for about 19 percent of the body helped shed 275 pounds, improving performance and fuel economy.

The G80 shares two gasoline engines that were newly developed for the GV80. A 2.5-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder makes 304 hp, while a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 is rated 380 hp.

The G80 also is the first Hyundai Motor Group vehicle to get a new 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel.

Genesis enhanced the G80’s engine growl with active sound design, which comes standard on the gasoline engines. But Genesis improved cabin quietude by using acoustic glass for the windshield and doors and by upgrading door sealing and engine compartment sound insulation.

The G80 also comes with an assortment of active and passive safety systems.

They include a smart cruise control function with machine learning that helps the car learn the driving habits of its driver and tailor its responses accordingly. Also on tap is a pre-active safety seat that adjusts a passenger’s seat to a safer position just before a collision. A pre-collision emergency braking system and blind-spot monitor are other features packed into the G80.

Genesis also enables remote smart parking assist in the G80, a feature that allows a driver to remotely move the car forward and reverse into tight parking spaces via the key fob.

Inside, a “deconstructed” dashboard evokes an open, expansive feel.

A wide-screen 14.5-inch infotainment screen juts from the middle, while a slim air conditioning vent stretches the width of the cabin and slimmed-down A-pillars improve visibility.

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