Genesis is one of the newest and most interesting car makers.
The South Korean manufacturer is owned by Hyundai. Instead of offering mid-range cars like Hyundai does, Genesis make luxury models designed to take on BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
The company launched last summer, with four products. The G70 is a BMW 3 Series sized saloon, while its big brother the G80 is pitched at the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.
I spent a fortnight over the festive period with the Genesis G80 luxury saloon. It’s a great looking car with a slippery, almost coupe-like profile and a classy front end that’s drawn comparisons with Bentley and Aston Martin.
Prices start around £37,000 and top out at just below £50,000, putting it in the same ballpark as a 5 Series or Audi A6.
Lap of luxury
Whereas those two are pitched as sports saloons the Genesis is very much a luxury saloon, with an emphasis on comfort and refinement. It comes with double glazed front windows as standard, which help make the cabin whisper quiet.
Buyers have the option of a 2.2 litre diesel with 207bhp or a 2.5 litre, 300bhp turbocharged petrol engine and either rear or four-wheel drive. Both come with eight speed automatic gearboxes.
My test model was the 2.5 litre petrol with four-wheel drive. It costs £47,950 – though my car came loaded to the gunnels with optional extras that brought the price up to an eye watering £61,340.
It wanted for nothing, however. The seats were beautiful quilted nappa leather. Speed and other info was beamed onto the windscreen via the head-up display.
The cabin is beautifully laid out. There’s a huge 14.5 inch touchscreen that can also be operated using a rotary dial on the dash. This gives the best of both worlds, as you can use the rotary while driving without taking your eyes off the road.
That 300bhp petrol engine makes the G80 very fast – 0-62mph takes just six seconds and top speed is 155mph.
Genesis G80 is height of comfort
The Genesis G80 is exceptionally luxurious. Ride quality and refinement are both excellent. I drove to Edinburgh on a miserable day when rain was bouncing off the road. The four-wheel drive came into its own, giving excellent traction, while the cabin was a warm and peaceful cocoon.
The rear seats have plenty of leg and head room and there’s a capacious 424 litre boot.
Genesis offers a lot of extras that other luxury car makers don’t. They come with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty. Five years of servicing and roadside assistance are also included in the purchase price. And when your car needs serviced someone from Genesis will pick it up from your home and drop off a courtesy car for you to use. If I was a Mercedes owner I’d wonder why I had to schlep to the garage every time my car needs some work doing.
The luxury car market is a very tough nut to crack. Buyers are conservative and tend to stick with the same badges – mainly Merc, Audi and BMW. Nissan tried to break through with their Infiniti brand but had to give up after a couple of years. To date, Lexus is the only brand to have enjoyed much success.
I’m really rooting for Genesis. I’ve driven all four of the cars in their range and enjoyed every one of them. With all Genesis models from 2025 onwards destined to be fully electric there’s lots to look forward to as well.
Can the Genesis G80 tempt buyers away from the luxury German marques? Only time will tell, but it certainly deserves to.
0-62mph: 6.0 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
CO2 emissions: 205g/km