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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Svelte new Genesis G80 touches down as forbidden fruit for South Africa

Interior design and layout mirrors that of the GV80 with tech on offer consisting of a 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment.

Hyundai’s upscale Genesis division has backed-up the launch of the GV80 SUV earlier this year with the unveiling of the G80 sedan.

Aimed at the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the latest G80 represents a first for the marque’s mid-size sedan as, unlike its predecessor, which until a mid-life facelift in 2016 had been marketed as the second generation Hyundai Genesis, it now becomes a Genesis bespoke model similar to its SUV sibling.

Adopting the marque’s latest design language, dubbed ‘Athletic Elegance’ that premiered on the GV80, the coupe-styled G80 rides on a Genesis only lightweight platform with the inclusion of aluminium in 19% of the body resulting in a weight drop of 125 kg compared to the previous model.

Measuring 4 995 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 3 010 mm, height of 1 465 mm and width of 1 925 mm, the interior design and layout mirrors that of the GV80 with tech on offer consisting of a 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Augmented Reality navigation, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with driver’s eye recognition and over-the-air updates for the mentioned navigation system.

Equipped with acoustic glass and more sound insulating materials within the engine compartment and around the wheels to reduce noise, vibration and harshness levels, additional features include a rear seat entertainment system with dual screens, an automatic dual air-purification system, front as well as rear heated and ventilated seats, ambient lighting and a Lexicon sound system with Quantum Logic Surround Sound technology.

In terms of safety, the G80 boasts Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Pre-Active Safety Seat that pulls the seat back to avoid the driver or passenger slumping forward in an accident and Adaptive Cruise Control or Smart Cruise Control in Genesis speak that features an artificial intelligence system called Machine Learning which learns and adopts the various driving habits of the driver.

Along with its exterior, the G80 is new underneath the bonnet where the previous normally aspirated 3.3-litre V6, the 3.8-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8, as well as the twin-turbocharged version of the former, have all been dropped in favour of an all turbocharged line-up.

Serving as the new entry-level engine, the 2.5-litre four-cylinder offers up 224kW/422Nm while the flagship twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 delivers 279kW/530Nm. In its home market, the G80 will come with an updated version of the venerable 2.2 CRDI turbodiesel tuned to produce 155kW/441Nm. As before, drive is routed to the rear wheels with all-wheel-drive optional on some derivatives depending on the trim level.

Already on sale in South Korea with other markets following in the second quarter of this year, the G80, like the Genesis brand itself, is unlikely to come to South Africa anytime soon despite being offered in Australia and therefore with right-hand-drive.

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