2021 Genesis G80 debuts with unprecedented styling and genuine luxury

Genesis officially unveiled the all-new G80 midsize luxury sedan last Sunday. And from the looks of it, the new G80 is poised to take the thunder away from the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and even the Audi A7. This isn't our first time to lay eyes on the second-gen Genesis G80, but it looks as good as we remember with its GV80-inspired styling cues.

The first-gen Genesis G80 was a solid, bang-for-the-buck midsize sedan. But it lacked a couple of things to make it worthy of attention when compared directly to an equivalent BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi. Sure, it had all the bells and whistles of a luxury car, but it doesn't feel as sharp or agile as a 5-Series. Coupled with fidgety suspension, the previous G80 had an identity crisis.

Apparently, the brand new Genesis G80 is riding on an all-new, rear-wheel-drive, and aluminum-intensive platform. It's also wider, longer, and lower than the outgoing model, although it still has the same 118.5-inch wheelbase as the previous model. This also makes it marginally larger than an equivalent E-Class or 5-Series.

And even though the new G80 is a larger car, it's 243 pounds lighter than the old model courtesy of its aluminum frame. The G80 is also accompanied by a myriad of powertrain options. Base models receive a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline four-banger generating 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. It replaces the previous naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 motor, but the four-cylinder engine is lighter and produces more torque.

The bigger engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with 375-horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. Mind you, the previous G80 5.0 came with a burly 5.0-liter V8 producing 420-horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. And as the numbers suggest, the blown V6 might be down on power, but it's churning out more torque to improve agility and acceleration.

European and Asian markets have access to an optional inline four-cylinder 2.2-liter turbodiesel mill. It churns out 210-horsepower and more torque from the get-go. Sadly, this engine won't make it to America, but we're more than happy with the new G80's pair of turbocharged engines. As usual, rear-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is optional across the board. Both engine options are connected to a slick 8-speed automatic gearbox.

In terms of styling, the new Genesis G80 combines the attributes of elegance, sportiness, and luxury in a coupe-like profile. The sloping rear glass and the tapered trunk lid has all the elements of an Audi A7, making it easy to mistake the new G80 as a hatchback or liftback. But no! It's a proper sedan with four doors and a trunk, and it's a nice-looking one, too.

That magnificent Genesis crest grille dominates the front coupled with those trademarked quad-headlamp design. If the new G80 looks familiar, it bears a striking semblance to the GV80 SUV. But with unique side marker lighting elements and LED taillights, the G80 is as fresh as morning dew. It's bold, reckless, understated, and yet well-sorted at the same time. In short, it won't shrink in the background when driven side-by-side to an E-Class or 5-Series.

But for us, the biggest triumph is G80's cosseting interior. It combines an old-school visual with a modern feel. The four-spoke tiller has a two-spoke design, while the cabin has a 3D digital instrument cluster and a large 12.3-inch display screen. And oh, you'll still find traditional HVAC buttons in the Genesis G80, and that's a good thing. The seats and touchpoints are covered in premium leather, open-pore wood, and aluminum.

The Genesis G80 is also home to a bewildering array of safety tech including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot collision avoidance as standard. The car also receives a 'highway driving assist' feature that allows the vehicle to change lanes automatically by engaging the turn signals. There's also adaptive cruise control with machine learning that adapts and 'learns' your driving habits.

The 2021 Genesis G80 will go on sale in Korea on March 30th. Meanwhile, the first U.S. deliveries are expected to arrive in the second half of this year. Genesis has yet to announce pricing, but we reckon it'll remain a budget alternative to an equivalent German starting at $50,000 to $70,000.