The Genesis brand is on a roll. October was its best sales month yet, up over 403 percent versus October 2020. And with 40,000 vehicles sold in the first 10 months of 2021, this year will set a new record for the luxury brand. The strength of the automaker’s recently-introduced SUVs are undoubtedly behind the sales surge, but Claudia Marquez, Chief Operating Officer of Genesis North America, insists luxury sedans like the 2022 G80 remain core to the brand’s product plan.
Almost as if to prove her point, the Genesis G80 will add a new “Sport” trim for 2022, following the model’s complete redesign last year. The G80’s base engine, a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder, offering 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, remains. But starting this year the G80’s larger 3.5-liter V6 (375 hp, 391 lb-ft) now defines the G80 Sport trim, which includes a long list of standard performance- and luxury-oriented equipment.
That list starts with all-wheel drive on every G80 Sport (rear-wheel drive remains the base G80’s standard drivetrain), along with an adaptive suspension and 19-inch wheels. Premium features include leather seating, ventilated front seats, a 21-speaker Lexicon audio system, and unique exterior treatments like a dark chrome grille and revised front and rear bumpers. New exterior colors, including Siberian Ice, Verbier White, and Cavendish Red (seen here) are joined by unique interior finishes like Anthracite Beige and Sevilla Red (also shown here).
A step up from the standard G80 Sport comes in the form of the G80 Sport Prestige, which adds 20-inch wheels, rear-wheel steering (with up to 2 degrees of rotation), launch control, more aggressive suspension tuning, remote-controlled parking (using your smartphone), Nappa leather seats, carbon fiber interior trim, a head-up display, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a “Sport+” driving mode. Drivers in warmer climates (or who only drive when it’s warm) can opt for a summer tire package with stickier tires and active noise control to counter the increased road noise these tires tend to produce.
We drove the new 2022 Genesis G80 Sport Prestige through the winding California hill country surrounding San Luis Obispo. Even before sliding behind the thick-rimmed, multifunction steering wheel, we were impressed by the G80’s stunning proportions and clean body lines. This is simply a beautiful luxury sedan, with the dark chrome grille, more aggressive rocker panels and 20-inch wheels merely enhancing the G80’s sleek body.
Inside we were greeted by slim air vents and minimalist center stack controls for the audio and climate system. The Nappa leather seats feature chevron quilting patterns with increased bolstering and 16-way power adjustments. The driver’s seat also features Genesis’ “Ergo Motion” technology, which subtlety shifts the seat’s cushions, over time, to reduce fatigue. This technology can also increase lateral bolstering to improve support when putting the G80 in “Sport” or “Sport+” mode.
We of course used both of those modes while driving the G80 Sport along California’s twisting byways. The luxury sedan’s powerful V6, all-wheel drive, limited-slip differential and rear-wheel steering proved an effective combination, masking the G80 Sport’s 4,500-pound curb weight with a broad torque band, responsive transmission, minimal body roll and confident braking. We started out using the paddle shifters but found the 8-speed automatic fully up to the task of picking the right gear.
Taking the G80 Sport out of “Sport” or “Sport+” mode quickly reminds you of the car’s primary purpose. Its on-road refinement and quiet cabin is highlighted by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 14.5-inch high-definition central display screen, and a multimedia control interface featuring premium materials and haptic feedback that works seamlessly after a short acclamation period.
While still a relatively young brand in the luxury space, Genesis is moving quickly with it’s recently-introduced SUVs and updated sedans, including this new G80 Sport. The exterior styling, interior material quality, advanced technology and capable performance hold up against the world’s oldest luxury nameplates, and at a price they can’t match. In the 2022 Genesis G80 Sport’s case, the starting price is $64,495, or $70,795 for a Sport Prestige version (both prices include the $1,045 destination charge). Adding the Summer Tire package, which includes the active noise cancelling technology, costs $500.
If you like the Genesis G80 Sport’s looks as much as we do you should visit a local dealer and take one for a drive. Trust us — this attractive luxury sedan offers more than a pretty face.