2018 Genesis G80 Sport first drive review: it's not all in the name Page 2


Like the standard G80, the Sport features five-link, fully independent suspension at all four corners, although an exclusive continuous damper control system allows more flexibility from the dampers. Not that it matters, because this suspension simply isn't tuned to meet the Sport expectation.

Softly sprung, the G80 Sport lacks the pinned-down handling character of a more traditional German performance sedan. While not as floaty as the overplush G90, the G80 Sport has trouble on undulating roads, where the soft springs run up against overly firm dampers—the result is a body that's constantly pitching up and down.

The bigger issue, one I can't really figure out, is the laggy handling character of the rear-drive G80 Sport I tested. It lacks steering feel, a common issue across the Genesis range, so it's already hard to predict what the front tires are doing. Turn in, and half a second later, the rear suspension responds suddenly. The odd sensation is like driving a car with a quad-exhaust-tipped pendulum attached to the back. Pair that with a tendency to rotate a little too quickly and tires that struggle with the V-6's low-end power, and it's difficult to predict just how a rear-drive G80 Sport will behave in a corner.

The all-wheel-drive model I drove later in the day behaved much more predictably. It leans into corners easily and progressively. It feels big for tight lanes on winding roads, but handles predictably and with a lot more confidence. Pair that with a cushy ride, and all-wheel drive feels like the way to go.

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

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2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Enlarge Photo
2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Enlarge Photo

Part of the Sport's mile-quaffing ability comes from its cabin. The "sport" seats are about as sporty as the suspension, but they're twice as comfortable. The broad and supremely relaxing chairs get soft leather upholstery that you can just sink into. There isn't a huge amount of support, but then the suspension won't let the G80 Sport go around a bend fast enough for that to matter.

The rest of the cabin is broadly good. There's a lot of leather, all of it stitched with copper threads. The real carbon fiber trim on the dash is a sign of how seriously Genesis is taking this car.

Much of the switchgear, especially the infotainment controls, feels too cheap for this price point. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi have elevated the game here, and while Genesis is on par in other areas, the quality of the G80 Sport's switches and buttons doesn't stack up. And it bears repeating that a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes E-Class offers more legroom for backseat passengers.


 
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