It's no secret that four-door sedans don't get much love these days. The world is mad for crossover SUVs.
Sales of passenger cars last year were down significantly: down 38 percent for large and subcompact cars, and down 29 and 22 percent, respectively, for compacts and midsizers. And it can't all be blamed on market contraction due to Covid. Overall, the U.S. auto market in 2020 was down just 14 percent.
With such numbers, it's no surprise some manufacturers are scaling back sedan offerings. Heck, Ford and Lincoln don't even offer a four-door sedan in 2021.
So it's notable that Genesis, Hyundai's new luxury marque, offers not one, but three luxury sedans: G70, G80 and G90. Small, medium and large. And, for now, they share their showroom with just one Genesis-badged 2021 SUV, the GV80. (An all-new GV70 SUV, which probably will be a 2022 model, arrives later in calendar-year 2021.)
Among the sedans, this second-generation G80 is all-new for 2021 -- a bold statement that Genesis is not walking away from the sedan segment anytime soon.
Based on a new platform shared with the equally new GV80 SUV, the 2021 G80 sedan can be had in two models distinguishable mainly by their engines.
The 2.5T is powered by a 300-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. The 3.5T is motivated by a 370-hp, twin-turbo V-6. Both are rear-drivers, both offer all-wheel drive as an option, and both are managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission controlled by a console-mounted knob.
We drove an all-wheel drive 3.5T wrapped in G80's opulent Prestige trim.
On the road, this one is a contender. With its four-corner grip and lively torque input of 391 lb.-ft. from its twice-blown six, we greeted 60 mph in a blink over 5 seconds while, in mixed city/hwy motoring, realizing 19 mpg on, of course, premium gas.
Drive modes include Comfort, Sport, Eco and Custom, each of which can be tailored to driver preferences -- including how much the seat side-bolsters hug!
Meanwhile, the V-6 exhaust note is symphonic under duress, civil in routine driving. At speed, the cabin is hushed, the ride plush and the handling pleasing. When it comes to luxury, this guy is the real deal.
So it's not surprising G80 looks awfully proud of itself. Large mesh fills a huge shield of a grille flanked by techy, two-stack headlights. In profile, there's a fast-back look, thanks to a long hood, set-back cabin and blacked-out B- and C-pillars. It all rides on 20-inch Pirellis. Out back, the taillights parrot the stacked look of the headlights.
Inside, nothing's done on the cheap. Wood appliqués grace doors, dash and console while, overhead, a full-lid moon roof was present in our Prestige. Also, our car boasted creamy-leather heated and vented seats that offered power-adjustable side bolsters. In back, outboard seats were heated and shades were provided for side and rear windows. There's even a power-forward button on the side of the front-passenger seat back, so that chauffeur-driven big-wig can easily reach it and enjoy more leg room.
Not that that's an issue. Space is excellent front and rear in this opulent cabin.
The all-important infotainment stuff is displayed on a huge 14.5-inch screen controllable with touch, voice, hard buttons and, most intriguingly, a bowl-like field on the floor console. Though much like the oft-vexing finger-slide pads, this bowl works better in our judgment because its tactile feedback provides better finger-position info than a flat surface. Plus, there's the added help of a perimeter control ring that, when turned or pressed, moves the screen cursor. You can even write with your finger to input navi address or radio frequencies. Other controls include finger rolling barrels on wheel and floor console for radio volume.
That said, there is a learning curve.
Finally, G80 starts at under 50 grand, which seems to indicate that Hyundai, with its new luxury brand, is following the example Toyota laid down more than 30 years ago when introducing Lexus: offer loads of value and luxury, and then price it below expectations.
Look out Audi, Mercedes and BMW. Uh, and Lexus.