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First Drive

First Drive: Genesis G80

The story: New premium brand Genesis has a BMW 5-Series/Audi A6 rival in the form of the G80 saloon, with petrol and diesel power for now, and an electric addition to follow.
Key rival:Audi A6
On sale:Now

Fledgling brand Genesis has launched in the UK with a pair of SUVs and a pair of saloons, the larger of which is the G80 that we drive here.

The G80 comes with either rear-driven 206hp diesel power or a 300hp petrol engine linked to a four-wheel-drive system, although there is an electric G80 coming in the next few months.

Both current powertrains come in Premium or Luxury trim levels, and with a haggle-free price that’s below that of BMW 5-Series or Audi A6 rivals.

The G80 is low and head-turningly elegant, even more so as it’s a new car that other road users aren’t yet familiar with, and that’s helped by the long parallel daytime running lights that are matched by the long and thin side indicator strips.

First Drive - November 2021 - Genesis G80 - Image 5On the inside, the low-slung saloon suffers from a bit of a lack of headroom, front and back, but the cabin is otherwise on the classy side with plenty of soft-touch materials on show.

The huge 15.4-inch touchscreen for the infotainment looks good, although isn’t the easiest to use, thanks to a combination of some usability flaws, and the positioning of a screen that’s both slightly too far from the driver and at a sloping angle that makes it awkward to input nav directions, for example. You have to reach over the top of the dash to get to the screen. There is a rotary controller that would usually be easier to use, but that’s also not been designed to be the most user-friendly because it’s flush to the centre console and therefore unnecessarily hard to twist.

The 206hp diesel isn’t the punchiest, but refinement levels are exceptional, and it’s fair to say this is a car built for going long distances in a straight line, with road, engine and wind noise kept to an absolute minimum. The big steering wheel also gives the car a luxury-barge feel, whereas the smaller wheel in a BMW makes it feel more agile and focused on driver enjoyment.


First Drive: Genesis G70



The verdict

Classy, well priced and well kitted, as well as exceptionally refined and understatedly good looking. The Genesis G80 has plenty going for it, allowing for the online-only and haggle-free buying process that could be a complication.