2018 Genesis G80 Sport Review
Something New - Something Polar Ice Blue
by Courtney Caldwell
The traditional Greek name for the first and best-known book of the Bible, meaning origin of new beginnings.
And that’s what this day had… New Beginnings!
There aren’t enough adjectives to describe this young handsome couple, Johnathan and Yumin, on their wedding day, or the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport by which they’re standing. But, I'll try!
After arriving on RTM’s doorstep, I took the 2018 Polar Ice Blue Genesis G80 Sport out for a spin to do a few pre-wedding errands. Everywhere I stopped, people stopped and stared. Some even surrounded the vehicle before I could exit. “What is that? It’s gorgeous!” as they curiously inspected the vehicle's logo. “It’s the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport,” I replied while at the same time wondering if I should have stayed in the car and locked the doors. So many people, like the Walking Dead, approaching the car all at once, not with nefarious intent of course but rather with smiles and wonder spread across each face. It was as if the G80 was a magnet for carbon-based units, drawing people in, turning their normal day into something unique declaring ‘I can't wait to tell my friends about the gorgeous car I saw today.'
For bride and groom, Johnathan and Yumin, it was most certainly a unique day. Deer-in-headlight eyes and nerves aside, they both glided effortlessly through the day, just as the G80 did on the 90-mile road trip north.
The drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, CA was about two hours; long enough to get a good feel for how the luxury laden Genesis behaved. It felt like being at the helm of a spaceship gliding through the air, Sirius XM blasting the new Beatles station, the AC at a comfortable notch, while at the same time using the seat warmers to soothe my lower lumbar after lifting luggage.
There was a heat wave hitting Los Angeles this particular week but inside the G80, one would never know. It provided a sense of living in your own little world, swaddled in premium leather sporty seats and a cockpit that was out of this world. In fact, I told the Genesis PR folks that they’d have to organize a manhunt to get the G80 back from me. Their reply? “We will track you down!” No doubt with their far reaching 'stolen vehicle recovery' technology feature. Car thieves beware.
With several options for fuel consumption, I chose eco which never affected power when pushing the pedal to the metal to escape a gaggle of groupies eyeing the car as it hovered along past them without much effort. Looking in the rearview mirror, I noticed looky-loos angling to get closer; that two-hands-on-the-wheel-pulling-themselves-forward glare of curiosity, squinting to read the Genesis name and logo. Their eyes saying, ‘whaaat?’ Their lips were saying 'wow."
The only thing I wanted to see in the rearview mirror was the loving affection of newlyweds Johnathan and Yumin as they were chauffeured to the reception in the spacious back seat of the luxurious Genesis. With room to spare, their wedding night could have easily started there.
Johnathan, a six-footer, had plenty of head and leg room. No ducking or slouching for these two love birds, although there was a little smooching. The G80 Sport provides a generous amount of interior space for a 'sport' vehicle. In addition, the four-door sport sedan also offered an ample amount of trunk space large enough for at least two bodies... er, I mean, two golf bags. And something we've hounded automakers for years to provide... plenty of 'covered' interior pocket space to hide all your goodies like a wallet, sunglasses, laptop or tablet, purse, lunch, or whatever else you may want to conceal from a nosey public with prying eyes peering into your privacy.
Although cruise controls are not a new feature in cars, the G80 Sport cruise control stood out. Once set in moving traffic, it not only kept a steady pace but it also provided an option for staying four car lengths behind the car ahead, the perfect distance needed to allow for a safe or sudden stop should the car in front slow down or stop short. When traffic slows, so does the Genesis, which then auto-accelerates to keep up with the flow. One still needs to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. It's not self-driving. Yet! Though Genesis has big plans for the future.
Launched in 2015, the Genesis brand brings new values and standards to the global luxury car market. The brand creates a new definition of luxury, one that provides a new platform for future mobility centered on people. By anticipating human needs at every touch point, Genesis models embody four key aspects: Human-focused innovation, refined and balanced performance, athletic elegance in design and hassle-free customer experience.
Like all Genesis models, the 2018 G80 Sport RTM tested came equipped with the most comprehensive array of standard safety technology in the midsize luxury vehicle class including advanced safety innovations such as Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention Alert (for sleepy-heads and texters), Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning.
Anyone who knows Road & Travel Magazine's 30-year history knows that personal safety, whether traveling by land, air or sea, is RTM's number one priority. So, suffice it to say, the Genesis G80 Sport met every safety feature requirement for a safe and comfortable ride to and from Santa Barbara. With Johnathan's mother Janice in the co-pilot seat, the G80 received both 'parent' and 'grandparent' 5-star safety approval nods noting it indeed was more than safe to chauffeur my eldest grandson and his beautiful new bride with confidence and class.
One of my personal favorites was the multi-view camera which provided a view of not only what’s behind the car when backing up, but also a mind-blowing 360 overview so the driver can see how close objects or walls are on each side of it. This must-see-to-believe feature was a lifesaver when I found myself trapped in a very narrow alley on day one. The top view perspective shown in the navigation panel provided a harrowing but safe escape for me and the Genesis, both emerging unscathed. At first, I thought there were satellite eyes on the car... a scary prospect! Turns out, the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport multi-view feature overlays a vehicle graphic onto the video screen using software programming to stitch all four camera angles together creating a 360 degree image. I just love technology.
When hitting clusters of traffic, the G80’s get-away response was purposeful and powerful as one would expect with a rear wheel drive, V6 GDI Twin-Turbo Engine with 365 HP. This car had gregarious get-up-n-go, giving me goose bumps when hitting the gas.
With the four car lengths in front feature activated, there was plenty of room for a trespasser to edge in as if one car length would advance the determined driver to his destination any sooner. No match for Genesis, the G80 slowed itself down allowing the inpatient interloper to have his way without causing harm to those in our orbit. Had he scooted ahead unnoticed, the blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert sounded off with a clear and present danger warning.
Driving for some is just a matter of getting from point A to point B. Driving for me is a passion. It's all about how a car behaves and the emotions it ignites during the driving experience. I love the rush of discovering a vehicle's power, performance and personality. Driving the G80 Sport felt like driving the Mohammad Ali of cars… ducking and weaving, dodging and dancing… “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. You can't hit what your eyes don't see,” Ali once said. It was such visceral adrenaline-packed, emotional experience. A knock-out. I've never said wow so much in my life. Really. Never.
Once in Santa Barbara, we were engulfed in crowded territory. Traffic and pedestrians everywhere. It was the same weekend as UC Santa Barbara’s 2017 graduation, Father’s Day, and June is the busiest wedding month of the year, not to mention Santa Barbara is one of the most popular summer travel destinations in America. Strewn with spanish style homes as far as the eye could see, a sea of red roofs and green lush palm trees against a voluminous west coast mountain range; flourishing flowers from the first rains in five years. It looked like an exotic movie set, which was indeed the perfect wedding destination for Johnathan and Yumin's union.
For movie producers scouting a local location and a hot car with an athletic body and powerful performance for the next James Bond movie, both Santa Barbara and the G80 Sport would easily fit the bill sans a built-in shoulder rocket. Not to worry though. With South Korea’s advancements in vehicle technology, there's always room for new gadgets, guns and grenade launchers. And while you're at it, cast Johnathan as your new James Bond and Yumin as the next Bond Girl! OK, I digress. Back to earth…
Santa Barbara Courthouse
Photo by Jay Sinclair
Courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara
The beautifully sculpted and historic Santa Barbara courthouse, where Johnathan and Yumin were united reminded me of an old European monastery from the 1700s, where bells chimed every half hour, with long quiet hallways and cathedral ceilings covered in murals were once home to the silence of the monks.
According to the Visit Santa Barbara website, Spanish settlers gave the city its distinct architectural style in the form of Old Mission Santa Barbara and what is now the County Courthouse — a style that was carried forward by local visionaries after a massive earthquake destroyed much of the area’s infrastructure in 1925. It was much more magnificent for a wedding than any ecclesiastical venue I’ve ever seen, except perhaps, the Vatican.
The ceremony was small and quaint, family members only from each side; Yumin’s mom making the long trek from South Korea. What a beautiful mixture and melding of cultures that even a language barrier could not deter from shared joy. As I fought back tears watching my first-born grandson recite his wedding vows, I couldn’t help but think how similar their marriage was to the Genesis G80 Sport, a modern experience breaking through convention. Like the G80, their union was a meaningful balance between love and respect, a blending of traditions and new beginnings.
“Respect for our owners means connecting with them on every level. This process starts the minute the car leaves the South Korean plant and continues with education consumers on every feature inside their new car,” said Erwin Raphael, General Manager of the Genesis in the U.S.
Every G model offers Genesis Connected Services, providing advanced telematics with seamless connectivity directly into the vehicle with technology like Destination Search powered by Google®, Car Finder, and Enhanced Roadside Assistance. In addition, Amazon Alexa compatibility allows customers to send remote voice commands such as Remote Door Lock/Unlock and Remote Start with Climate Control directly to the vehicle through Genesis Connected Services and an Alexa-enabled device. Genesis Connected Services can also be accessed from the controls located on the center stack, rearview mirror, or the web through MyGenesisUSA.com or Genesis owners' smartphone app available on smartwatches.
The future is here!
An important ally to the U.S., South Korea is amongst America's top ten trading partners. The U.S. not only imports Genesis and Hyundai cars from South Korea, it also imports Kia, LG Electronics, ships (yes ships), clothing and much, much more. Conversely, America is the chief exporter to South Korea shipping more than $25B in food and goods each year. Suffice it to say, these two trading partners and allies provide millions of jobs, business opportunities and products to, from and for each other every year.
Beautiful and long-lasting unions are formed through strong partnerships and friendships based on trust, honor and respect. Whether it’s the unity of two mutually friendly countries or two beautiful people, it’s all about supporting each other, being there for better or worse, lifting one up when the other is down, having each other’s back during the good times or bad. It’s about being strong and united in the face of adversity and remembering that even though we may look different on the outside, that on the inside, we’re all the same; connected... just like Genesis keeps us connected through countless services. These folks understand the value of connection, which is why they excel at anticipating human needs.
Something new, something blue. What more accurately articulates new beginnings than Genesis and a wedding? Blending culture and tradition gives birth to a barrage of brilliant minds from every corner and continent, including the brainiacs behind the beautifully sculpted G80 Sport. New age intellects inspired by age old roots; addressing the instinctive desire for human connectivity. After all, isn't that why we throw the bouquet in so many cultures around the world? Humanity... on a mission for happiness, harmony and hope.
Our fully-loaded 2018 Genesis G80 Sport test vehicle had an MSP of $56,225. It averaged 24 MPG, which was mostly highway driving. In fact, the entire round trip including errands used just below a half tank.
Only dime I dropped was on a detailed carwash the morning of the wedding. Even the detail guy took his time hand drying the G80 Sport. "Please hurry, man. I have a wedding to get to," urging him to move it along." He stopped, leaned down and looked me square in the eye through my open window and calmly said, "Be patient Señorita, this car is too beautiful to rush."
In a word, WOW!
For more information: Genesis G80 Sport