Genesis is readying a major update for its G80 mid-size sedan, as evidenced by the recent sighting of camouflaged prototypes.
The proportions are similar to those of the current G80, which is really just a rebadge of the second-generation Hyundai Genesis introduced for 2015, but the biggest tell that this is an update rather than a full redesign is the common design for the side glass and in particular the C-pillar accent.
There are of course differences. The face receives a major restyling with inspiration coming from the Essentia coupe concept Genesis unveiled at the 2018 New York auto show. Borrowed from the concept is the triangular-shaped grille and flat, dual-bar headlights.
Moving rearward, we see the side mirrors have moved to the doors instead of at the base of the A-pillars like on the current G80. And at the rear, the the trunk lid now sports a Kammback-like design with a repeat of the flat lights motif. This too has been inspired by the Essentia concept.
The current G80 comes with a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 and 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8 in regular form and a 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 in G80 Sport trim. It's possible the V-8 gets replaced by a plug-in hybrid setup as part of Genesis' plan to transition to an electrified brand. It's something Genesis design boss Luc Donckerwolke hinted at in 2017.
The interior should also be in for a major revamp. Look for a digital instrument cluster and large infotainment screen, as well as the latest in electronic driver aids.
Genesis isn't quite at the dynamic level of German brands in the premium sector but its cars were rated top in quality in the most recent market surveys and the brand's design appears to be on the up thanks to the efforts of Donckerwolke, a former Bentley and Lamborghini designer, and his team.
We expect the updated G80 on sale in late 2019 or early the following year, with pricing likely starting close to the $43,000 base price of the 2018 G80. The car's arrival should coincide with that of a new GV80 mid-size SUV that's also testing in the wild. And further down the pipeline is a small SUV, a coupe, and an EV.