Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt First drive: Genesis G80
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First drive: Genesis G80

Date: 07 September 2021   |   Author: Guy Bird

Executive saloon aims to trump Audi's A6 and BMW's 5 Series.
Standard equipment:
Ten airbags, forward collision alert with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, speed limit and lane keep assist, blind spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, driver attention warning, 14.5in colour screen system with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, satnav and DAB radio, Bluetooth, 20in alloys, nappa leather seats, sunroof, Lexicon audio
Petrol: 304hp 2.5
Diesel: 210hp 2.2
Equipment grades:
Premium, Luxury
8-speed automatic

Genesis - Hyundai's premium answer to Toyota's Lexus - is playing the long game when it comes to expectation management.

At the brand's UK launch earlier this summer, there was no detail on sales targets of any kind (least of all for fleet or business), but great emphasis placed on pleasing drivers through a different kind of owner/manufacturer relationship.

At the heart of this strategy is the allocation of a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA) to every customer in order to reduce the pain points sometimes associated with carmakers, whether that is arranging a service or perhaps helping with 'over the air' software updates (both are free with Genesis for five years).

Those GPAs are being recruited by an agency with non-automotive retail experience for the likes of Samsung, with no hard-sell tactics. There is just one physical space for now - at Westfield Shopping Centre, west London - but if you can't get there to test drive, Genesis will arrange a trailer to drop off and collect one straight to your door. That sounds like service.

The 'long game' relates to roll out too. Right now, the Genesis UK product offering comprises one large SUV (GV80) and executive saloon (G80), with only big petrol or diesel engines under their bonnets. None of these options fall below the top 37% BIK company car tax bracket, but in the case of the G80 at least, an all-electric version is on its way within 12 months. A more diverse line-up should quickly follow, including a smaller G70
Shooting Brake - launched at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July - and an all-electric crossover GV60 unveiling later this year that shares the EV-only platform of sister products from Kia (EV6) and Hyundai (Ioniq 5).  

Of the two models available now, arguably the G80 suits the design language of the brand best, with its 'four-dash' front and rear lamp signatures, and elegant fastback-proportions (although the G80 still has a regular saloon boot opening).

Inside, on the Luxury trim version, items like real ash wood and nappa leather are standard, and the cabin ambience clearly references posher, more established brands such as Bentley - which comes as no surprise because several ex-Bentley men are in charge of Genesis's design team. The car is no doubt a luxurious place to sit, but it doesn't feel original. 

To drive, it is a similar story. Only the top-of-the-range £47,950 petrol 304hp G80 2.5T AWD Luxury version was available (with underwhelming figures of 31.2mpg and 205g/km of CO2), and while it can be quick, cossetting and dynamic in steering feel - up to a point - the memory of driving it doesn't live long.

There is a big and fairly intuitive centre screen - the G80 sports a 14.5in colour satnav system with Apple Carplay, Android Auto link-ups plus DAB radio and Bluetooth - but it's not top of its class. There is also a cheaper 210hp 2.2 RWD option too (30.5mg and 210g/km CO2), kicking off the range in Premium trim at £37,460. But, as the figures illustrate, this diesel has no better economy, emissions or tax either.

On a positive note for company car drivers, Genesis UK's management team includes a head of sales in Jonny Miller with considerable leasing and contract hire experience. He does want to talk to businesses when more fleet-friendly vehicles - like the Audi A4-rivalling G70 and electric G80 - arrive.

With such a lack of sales push so far, Business Car asks the ex-Polestar and Volvo man what success would look like for Genesis in three years' time, if the metric is not to be measured in units sold? After a pause and a smile, he replies: "The acknowledgement of the brand in the premium and luxury space with delighted customers." Miller knows enough about residual values not to wreck them for Genesis by chasing sales at any cost, and it sounds like he'd rather nurture fewer happy customers than manage many more miserable ones. 

Hopefully, its parent Hyundai Group is patient (has deep pockets) and realises that too. But for now, and in summary, Genesis is a brand to watch for the cars it has coming, rather than the ones it can offer the UK today.

Genesis G80 2.5T AWD Luxury 

P11D: £46,590

On sale: Summer 2021

Fuel consumption: 31.2mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 205g/km (37%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £287/£579

Luggage capacity: 424 litres

Engine size/power: 2,497cc/304hp


  • Personal service
  • High spec
  • Quality
  • High BIK tax
  • Lack of brand identity