What is it?
Hyundai-owned Genesis might have only started introducing its first cars to Europe towards the end of last year, but it certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to metal already.Even with five models already on offer, and competing in all the key premium segments, Genesis isn’t stopping there, and is now introducing the new ‘Electrified G80’.
It’s a bit of an odd name, but it does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives the regular G80 saloon, which is already offered with conventional petrol and diesel engines, an electric makeover. But is it good enough to rival the well-established German premium brands?
Genesis is slightly jumping the gun with the Electrified G80, as Audi and BMW are yet to offer models in this mid-size saloon segment, and Mercedes has only just entered it with its EQE. After the GV60 – a bespoke EV – it’s only the second electric Genesis too.
The obvious ‘new’ part is what’s under the bonnet, but Genesis has made a few tweaks to make sure it’s just different enough from the regular G80, which itself is likely to be a rare sight on UK roads. We’ll explore more about the design changes later, while inside the South Korean firm has introduced a range of new ‘eco’ materials to help fulfil the EV brief.
What’s under the bonnet?
The Electrified G80 actually uses a setup we’re yet to see from either Hyundai or Kia, and which combines two electric motors together for a combined 364bhp and 700Nm of torque. That makes it noticeably the most powerful G80 to date, and it’s able to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 155mph.
Unlike entry-level EQE models, power is sent to all four wheels too.It also packs a pretty hefty 87kWh battery, unlocking a claimed electric range of up to 323 miles. The G80 also features an 800-volt architecture, giving it some particularly speedy charging times. It can be charged at up to 240kW, meaning a 10 to 80 per cent top-up can take as little as 21 minutes.
What’s it like to drive?
Despite the extra heft of the battery, the Electrified G80 drives well. Sure, it’s not particularly sporty – though nor was that Genesis’ intent – but it handles well for a car of its size on some quite challenging hilly passes, feeling flat, and helped by the low positioning of the battery.
The pace of the G80 is impressive too. Sure, it’s got that immediacy to get going like all EVs have, but it’s particularly keen to get up to speed, and has no trouble accelerating away, even on the motorway. Thanks to active noise cancelling, it’s a quiet and refined way to travel too, while its clever road-scanning suspension does a decent job of ironing out bumps in the road, though it can feel unsettled over deeper ruts and imperfections in the road.
How does it look?
Genesis could have chased Audi and BMW with its design, but a bit like Lexus, is forging its own path in terms of styling. The G80 gets plenty of heads turning on the road, with a seriously high-end Bentley-like appearance. It won’t suit everyone, but we reckon it’s a classy and refreshing change to the norm, with a particular design highlight being the striking LED lights, with distinctive side indicators.
Design changes for this Electrified model include a closed-off front grille with a new pattern (and hiding the invisible charging flap), along with slightly redesigned bumpers and a new set of 19-inch alloy wheels. A further option is to have a solar panel for a roof, which Genesis claims could add up to 700 miles of range per year, though likely slightly less in Blighty.
What’s it like inside?
Inside, the GV80 offers a good balance of quality and technology, with a 14.5-inch touchscreen neatly integrated into the dashboard, though its positioning can make it a bit awkward to use ‘touch’ lower down. The semi-digitised climate settings are a neat feature, as are the rotary controls.
The only slight issue we have is that quite a bit of this is shared with Hyundais, and it doesn’t feel quite as modern or high-tech as a Mercedes EQE.It’s a bit disappointing in the rear, too, with space relatively tight for passengers in the back for an executive car of this size. The large battery also puts quite a significant dent into the boot space on offer, quite drastically reducing its practicality.
What’s the spec like?
The Electrified G80 comes to the UK in just a single trim known as Luxury Line. Priced from £65,000, it seems pretty expensive when you consider the regular G80 starts from less than £40,000. That said, it works out more than £10,000 cheaper than a Mercedes EQE.You do get plenty of standard equipment included though, including heated leather seats, an impressive array of safety features – such as blind spot collision assistance and adaptive cruise control – and keyless entry.
A plethora of optional extras are on offer, though, bundled into packages. The £4,460 Comfort and Executive pack, for example, brings massaging and ventilated front seats, touchscreens in the back and soft-closing doors, while the solar roof – as nice as it is – is unlikely to see a quick return on the £1,360 you’ll stump up for it in the process.
Fully-laden, our test car came in at £80,000, a price that throws it straight into the luxury segment, and it just can’t quite compete at that level. One advantage, though, is that you do get a five-year care plan from Genesis, including servicing and a warranty for that time, along with your own ‘personal assistant’, should anything need to be arranged.
The Genesis Electrified G80 undoubtedly helps this South Korean firm down the trajectory it’s after, with its distinctive and interesting styling really appealing to those that are tired of the usual German offerings. It drives well too, offering plenty of power and refinement, and feels like just the tool for the job if you’re wanting to undertake longer journeys thanks to its generous range and rapid charging times.
But daring to be different is rather pricey in this case, with the G80 not quite offering the level of quality or roominess it needs to when these sorts of bucks are on the table. But, price-aside, this is the pick of the G80 range, and by some.