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Genesis Electrified G80 2023 prototype drive review

John Law

The Electrified G80 sedan will join other electric Genesis vehicles later this year, and our initial drive suggests this is one to get excited about

Good points

  • Opulent cabin
  • Refined power delivery
  • Poised chassis
  • Ride comfort

Needs work

  • Back seat loses cooled seats
  • Rear legroom compromised
  • Could be expensive to buy

Ahead of the new flagship Electrified G80 sedan’s Australian release in the third quarter of the year, the Korean luxury brand hosted a prototype drive and first look at a private test loop that simulates the tricky cambers and unsighted turns of the Old Pacific Highway, north of Sydney.

The G80’s Electrified GV70 sibling will launch into a fairly competitive segment, with rivals such as the BMW iX3, Tesla Model Y, Audi E-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC. But the Electrified G80’s niche is more sparsely populated at the moment, with only the Tesla Model S (not currently on sale in Australia) and forthcoming Mercedes-Benz EQE being its direct rivals.

Genesis is yet to confirm final pricing for the Electrified G80, but it is anticipated the single Electrified G80 specification will cost between $140-150K before on-road costs – similar to a BMW M550i or Mercedes-AMG E53.

Like the Electrified GV70 (but unlike the purely electric GV60), the G80 sedan uses the same longitudinal architecture as its combustion-engined cousins, though with an 87.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack stashed under the floor for a generous WLTP range of over 500km.

According to Genesis, the decision to use a larger battery in the Electrified G80 than the GV70 reflects the longer range customers expect from a large luxury sedan. The G80 is also impressively aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of 0.23 thanks in part to optimised 19-inch alloy wheels and a slippery front bumper section with blanked-off grille.

The Electrified G80 can also be recognised by a special colour (pictured here) called ‘Matira Blue’ which is deeply pearlescent and subtly shifts hues in different lighting conditions.

Underpinning the pair of electric motors that develop a maximum of 272kW/700Nm is the same 800-volt electrical system found in the Kia EV6. This allows for ultra-rapid DC fast-charging, meaning the G80 should recoup 10-80 percent (for around 400km of range) in under 25 minutes at 350kW charging stations.

Inside, the Electrified G80 retains the regular car’s opulent leather package (normally part of a $13,000 luxury pack) though it has been tanned using a more eco-friendly process. The seats get electric adjustment, heating and ventilation, and this prototype featured a full 3D 12.3-inch digital driver’s display ahead of a four-spoke ‘rugby ball’ steering wheel.

A powerful Lexicon stereo with a whopping 21 speakers is included as standard, though there are some spec changes for the Electrified G80. The rear seats unfortunately lose both their electric adjustability and ventilation (but retain heating and individual 9.3-inch infotainment screens) so chauffeur customers will still likely prefer the more adjustable back seat of the twin-turbo-petrol 3.5T.

Another sore point for the Electrified G80 is its boot, which shrinks fairly significantly with electric gubbins robbing 70 litres of space (to 354 litres in total) and no ability to fold the rear seat down.

With 272kW of power and 700Nm of torque on offer in its sportiest mode, the Electrified G80 isn’t a whole lot quicker than the 279kW/530Nm 3.5T on paper – beating it in the 0-100km/h sprint by 0.2sec (4.9 seconds). But the instant nature of electric power delivery and huge torque makes it feel nippier on the road, despite it weighing 302kg more (at 2325kg).

Like the Electrified GV70, the G80 also delivers its power in a more gentle way than some rivals (in keeping with Genesis’s luxury pitch) which, when backed up by road-preview adaptive dampers with switchable modes, make for a serene-but-rapid driving experience. The test loop we used wasn’t ultra bumpy, but it certainly wasn’t a bitupave-smooth racetrack, and the G80 dispatched the sharper bumps well, while keeping occupants level over corrugations.

When editor Tom Baker reviewed the G80 at its launch in May 2021, he noted that while it was a comfortable machine, the combustion-engined G80 in Luxury trim lacked body control. Despite growing porkier, that wasn’t the case with the electric car which stayed remarkably flat during cornering and felt tied-down over large compressions.

The Electrified G80’s cornering prowess is no doubt improved by Genesis’s local ride and handling evaluation program, where Aussie engineers are able to test different parts from other global suspension tunes to subtly tweak the car’s dynamics and chassis balance to better suit our tastes.

Along with testing the front seat of the G80, given this car’s focus not only on private buyers but as a car for chauffeurs and professional drivers, I chose to have a few laps around the facility perched in the back seat – not something you always get to experience.

The Electrified G80’s rear seat ride was almost better than the front, which is something that can often be compromised when trying to make a car handle better with stiffer rear springs and roll bars. But the Electrified G80 struck a nice balance. It was a shame that the floor seemed raised – likely due to the batteries beneath – and at six-foot two, my headroom was a little compromised.

With a three-strong electric range gearing up to launch later this year, Genesis is certainly a luxury brand to watch. And while some may scoff at converting ICE platforms to EVs, apart from some rear legroom issues, our initial preview drive suggests the brand has carried it off well with the Electrified G80. But only time will tell whether its prowess on a private test track translates into the real world.

Key specs (as tested)

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