Updated: Apr 1, 2022
I have a mental picture---Lexus' board of directors sitting down to write a simple, heartfelt note to Mercedes-Benz' board. It reads:
Now we know how you felt 30 years ago.
Genesis, the luxury arm of South Korea's Hyundai, is landing blow after blow, using exactly Lexus' 1991 playbook: Market a range of vehicles that are as luxurious and appealing as the established luxury marque, with higher feature content and lower price.
I'm going to run out of superlatives quicker than other car brands will run out of excuses for not being able to do this themselves. Genesis is running the table on style, content and value for money.
Under the hood of the base model G80, known as the 2.5T Standard, is a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 300 horsepower and 311 pounds-per-foot of torque. There's an AWD model available, but ours was the RWD. You can also jump up to RWD and AWD versions of the G80 with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 375 horsepower and 391 pounds per foot of torque, but we haven't driven that one yet (note to Genesis PR: We're dying to). Focus back on our car. 300 horsepower. Eight speed automatic transmission. Sixty miles per hour happens from a standing start in 5.7 seconds. EPA fuel economy average 23 city/32 highway. And those braces in the engine bay? They're not for show. This car is rigid, tossable and a delight to drive on winding mountain roads.
Here's where I go into late-night TV pitchman mode: "So you've heard about the power, you've seen the photos. What would you pay? But wait!"
Let's just cut to the chase. The base price for the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Standard with rear-wheel drive is...
The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are 19-inch alloy wheels, 12-way power heated front seats with four-way power lumbar, dual-zone climate control and a 12-speaker premium audio system.
Now, I can hear you saying "Okay, Mike---but what about those extra-cost options? You know, the ones that add up to the price of a Honda Civic? This sucker's gonna top out at sixty grand, easy." Are you ready?
One extra-cost option. Just one. The Porto Red paint is $400. So, with $1,025 destination charges, the as-tested price of the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T Standard is (I'll spare you the drumroll)---$49,125.
I had the car for a week and I still can't believe it's less than $50K all in. This car screams 65 or 70. I had people guess higher than that. And it's not just looks---it backs it up with power, road manners and amenities.