It’s time for German manufacturers to think again because Genesis is more competitive than ever. The brand is not only competing in the luxury segment but pulling ahead when it comes to EVs. Genesis has been adding more electric models in their lineup, but not all of them are electric platforms from the ground up. This week’s tester, the Electrified G80 is the greatest example that you don’t need to have gimmicky design elements and weird looks in your electric vehicle.
One of the most surprising design elements is how Genesis kept the Electrified G80 very similar to the internal combustion engine version. It is almost impossible to differentiate if it has an electric or gas engine, except the grille design where it also has the charging port. There is no extra EV badging, no special treatment, and no gimmicks. You won’t be able to find anything unnecessary, and that’s something we rarely see in the EV world.
So it is obvious that the Electrified G80 is actually a stealth EV, and it also means that it still offers the elegant G80 silhouette with signature features like the split 2-piece headlights. There is the right amount of chrome, sharp angles, and a little bit of oversized front grille for a more upscale look. It definitely has a timeless design that will age well. The 20-spoke 19″ wheels are the right fit for the exterior design. There are some small design elements that make the G80 look more elegant, including the chrome line that goes around the exterior, as well as extra chrome pieces located in the front fenders.
The G80 has its own unique silhouette, and I personally think it is one of the most distinctive side profiles mainly due to the sloping roof that goes all the way to the trunk. There aren’t many sharp lines going around the G80, but you will see some details that were found in German entries, similar to the Hofmeister kink near the base of the rearmost pillar. Although it is technically a sedan, it looks like a 4-door coupe from the side and rear end.
The interior design is just as elegant and distinctive as the exterior. The technology is still the centrepiece of the G80 while offering physical controls for the features that you use every day. So unlike some German entries where they put 5 different screens, this is still a great interior space while you can still use muscle memory without looking down. There are several different high-quality materials used in the right places, including leather, wood, and chrome pieces all around the interior. This is one of the few luxury vehicles that does not have glossy black plastic trims in this segment, which is proof that it can be done the right way.
There are two problems with the interior design. The first one is the infotainment screen location. In typical Genesis fashion, the 14.5″ screen has a great resolution, and the latest software works smoothly. The problem is that it is too far from the driver. Although it has a touchscreen feature, Genesis discourages you to use while driving it, which means you have to lean forward to use the touchscreen. Of course, you can use the rotary knob to control the main screen, but it takes more time and effort.
This is where you feel there is a bigger problem. If you look at the center console, you will see giant 2 chrome rotary knobs. Although the rotary shifter knob is much more convenient than a button layout, when you have 2 knobs really close to each other, you may accidentally use the shifter knob to go through the infotainment menu if you are not careful enough. Although both rotary knobs look different, this may happen when you aren’t looking at them. Genesis should have used different-sized rotary knobs for the shifter and infotainment controls. There are no other issues in the interior, other than the 3D feature in the 12.3″ digital cluster, which works already great in 2D mode and I found the 3D feature quite unnecessary and much harder to read.
Speaking of the digital cluster, it falls behind when it comes to the customizable options, but it is very clear and easy to use. You will have no issues finding the right information. It just does not look as fancy as some German offerings that allow the driver to place Google Maps or other features similar to that. However, it comes with the latest tech that you would find in modern Genesis, Hyundai and KIA products including the Blind View Monitor and Highway Driving Assist, which are still one of the biggest selling points.
As expected from a luxury sedan, the front seats have tons of adjustability for all body types, and at 6’1″ I was totally comfortable in the front seats. The Electrified G80 has the battery pack located underneath, therefore the seating position is quite high even at the lowest position. So if you are a very tall adult, you may have some headroom issues. The rear seats are quite comfortable and have lots of creature comfort, like the heated seats, HVAC controls, and sun shaders all around the rear windows. The Electrified G80 is still a 5-seater, but you can use the middle row as a big center armrest. The headroom is also not impressive in the rear, due to the sloped roofline design.
Like the interior space, the trunk space is compromised as Genesis converted the gas-powered platform to an EV. A huge bump reduces the cargo space significantly because Genesis had to put the rear motor behind the rear seats. There is an access port in the middle of the rear seats, which makes it slightly more usable for tall items. The cargo space is not impressive to begin with even in the gas-powered G80, it is down from 13.1 cubic feet (371 L) to 10.7 cubic feet (302 L) with the EV version.
Like the gas-powered G80, there is something under the hood. There is obviously no storage compartment like you would find in most dedicated EV platforms, because Genesis had to place the electric motor that sends power to the front wheels. The dual 136kW Electric motor sends power to all four wheels. Both motors generate approximately 365 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, which allows the G80 to hit 60 mph in just a little over four seconds.
Both electric motors are powered by the 87.2-kWh battery pack that is good for approximately 250 miles (400 kilometres) of range. Depending on your driving habits, and weather conditions, your mileage may vary. The Electrified G80 can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in less than 25 minutes when it is hooked up to a 350-kW DC (Level 3) fast charger. For home applications, a Level 2 charger is still a must-have, charging the G80 in less than 9 hours.
Before driving the Electrified G80, I was quite skeptical about it. One of the main reasons was G80 is a gas-engine platform, and the compromises would ruin the driving experience. However, Genesis did a fantastic job when it comes to converting a gas platform to a fully EV with minimal changes, and those changes are not noticeable behind the steering wheel. The only difference you would feel behind the wheel is the smoother, and dead silent EV drivetrain with no gear hunting, which is a huge plus for a luxury sedan platform like the G80.
The Electrified G80 still carries over the traditional driving dynamics of a luxury sedan, without the compromises of an internal combustion engine. The electric motors are still tuned prioritizing sending power to the rear wheels more than the front, the rear-wheel steering system allows to turn in tight areas, the suspension tune allows great road manners, and the car isolates you from the road imperfections exceptionally well, making the Electrified G80 more refined than the gas-only G80. The only downside is that it feels significantly heavier and less responsive, especially during the initial turn-in which many people won’t feel the difference.
The new Genesis Electrified G80 feels more like an experiment that went really well. You will still have to live with range anxiety if you are taking long trips, like any other EV. With the starting price of $105,000 CAD, it is not easy to recommend the Electrified G80 to the mainstream buyer, especially if you are looking for an EV to save money on gas. However, if your budget and lifestyle can adapt to an expensive electric vehicle, there is no reason to choose the gas-powered version despite the small compromises in the interior. Until we see more dedicated luxury EV platforms, the Electrified G80 is a great car to live with every day in this transition period for the right type of audience.
|Permanent-magnet synchronous AC (both axles) – dual 136kW
|87.2 kWh – Liquid-cooled lithium-ion polymer
|5047 lbs – 2289 kg
|250 mi – 400 km
|Price (as tested)