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2018 Genesis G80 Sport RWD

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 11/9/2017 GREG FINK

2018 Genesis G80 Sport
Like the 1976 Genesis album A Trick of the Tail, the British band’s first studio record fronted by Phil Collins, the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport signals a subtle but noteworthy change to the Korean luxury brand’s ethos. Charged with injecting a dose of dynamism and style into the G80 mid-size luxury sedan, the Sport aims to challenge the likes of the BMW 540i and the Cadillac CTS V-Sport.

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Like those cars, the G80 Sport employs a forced-induction six-cylinder engine. Displacing 3.3 liters, the twin-turbocharged V-6 is exclusive to the Sport trim and makes 365 horsepower; its output issent to the rear wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission. (All-wheel drive is a $2500 option.) With a base price of $56,225, the G80 Sport occupies the space between the entry-level $42,725 G80 3.8, with its 311-hp 3.8-liter V-6, and the $57,975 G80 5.0, which is motivated by a 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8.

Related Video: Testing the Spaciousness of the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport (Provided by The Drive)

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In Too Deep

Despite its 55-hp disadvantage compared with its V-8 counterpart, the G80 Sport bettered the previous, Hyundai-badged 5.0-liter version of the car in almost every acceleration test we conducted. The nearly lag-free twin-turbo V-6 helped hustle the Sport from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, from 5 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and through the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 105 mph—0.1 second ahead of the V-8 model in each measure. The G80 Sport’s passing times were equally impressive, with our test car sprinting from 30 to 50 mph in 2.7 seconds (0.1 second quicker than the V-8) and from 50 to 70 mph in 3.6 seconds (matching the V-8).

Credit the 376 lb-ft of torque that’s available at a low 1300 rpm and holds steady until 4500 revs. The V-8 doesn’t dole out its maximum of 383 lb-ft until 5000 rpm.

Nevertheless, the G80 Sport’s hefty, 4500-pound curb weight prevents this sedan from keeping pace with the BMW 540i and the Cadillac CTS V-Sport, which are each more than 400 pounds lighter. With less mass to push, the BMW needed just 4.7 seconds to get to 60 mph and 13.2 seconds to complete the quarter-mile; the similarly svelte Caddy hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and ran the quarter in 12.9.

2018 Genesis G80 Sport© Chris Doane Automotive 2018 Genesis G80 Sport

The prodigious poundage and all-season rubber—we’d expect a performance-tire option on a vehicle wearing a Sport badge—also hindered this G80’s lateral acceleration and braking. Fitted with a set of staggered-width 19-inch Continental ProContact TX tires (245/40 up front and 275/35 at the rear), the G80 Sport recorded a modest 0.84 g around our 300-foot skidpad and ate up 179 feet of tarmac on its way to a complete stop from 70 mph. That’s 0.02 g less and 12 feet longer than the 2015 V-8 model on all-season tires.

In spite of its middling skidpad performance, the Sport’s adaptive dampers noticeably improve the car’s ride-and-handling balance relative to its G80 kin. The suspension enhancements rein in body motions without sacrificing ride comfort, making the G80 Sport less floaty than its siblings. That said, this car lacks the nimble reflexes, communicative controls, and general driving engagement of the CTS V-Sport and the Jaguar XF S.

2018 Genesis G80 Sport© Chris Doane Automotive 2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Take a Look at Me Now

At least the G80 Sport looks the part, with aggressive front and rear fascias, a mesh grille, rocker-panel extensions, split-spoke 19-inch wheels, and tinted LED taillights that provide a more menacing mien than the G80 3.8 and 5.0. The Sport also features copper-colored accents around its grille, lower air intakes, wheel-center hubs, and within the housings of its standard LED headlights.

The copper color also is seen on the G80 Sport’s dashboard-mounted analog clock and the stitching on the gray or black leather applied to the heavily bolstered seats and the steering wheel. Other interior touches include a number of carbon-fiber trim pieces, a black microsuede headliner, and aluminum pedal covers.

The horizontally oriented dashboard is marked by large gauges and a big, centrally located touchscreen infotainment system with navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Users also can interact with the 9.2-inch touchscreen by twisting a rotary control knob located on the console. Additionally, the center stack features a handful of physical buttons and knobs for operating the audio and climate-control systems.

2018 Genesis G80 Sport© Chris Doane Automotive 2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Standard niceties include a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, and a proximity key with push-button start, as well as active-safety features such as automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring. (The only options on the G80 Sport are accessories such as wheel locks and floor mats.) Add this level of equipment to either a 540i or a CTS V-Sport and you can plan on dropping $70,020 for the Bimmer and $72,290 for the Caddy—$13,795 and $16,065 more than the G80 Sport.

The Genesis G80 Sport offers a formidable twin-turbocharged engine and stylish design details, but its performance and driving engagement still trail behind its competitors. So while it’s a solid step, it’s but one footfall on a longer journey, one that sees the Korean brand wielding more driver-centric vehicles in its battle to gain share from the more established luxury players. The next-generation G80, due in 2019, is the one that will tell us if Genesis is on the right path.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $56,225 (base price: $56,225)

ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 204 cu in, 3342 cc

Power: 365 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 118.5 in

Length: 196.5 in

Width: 74.4 in Height: 58.3 in

Passenger volume: 105 cu ft

Trunk volume: 15 cu ft

Curb weight: 4500 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 4.9 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 12.1 sec

Zero to 130 mph: 21.6 sec

Zero to 150 mph: 33.4 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.5 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.6 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 13.5 sec @ 105 mph

Top speed (governor limited, C/D est): 155 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 179 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.84 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY:

75-mph highway driving: 27 mpg

Highway range: 540 miles

EPA FUEL ECONOMY:

Combined/city/highway: 20/17/25 mpg

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