The 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 Is the Best EV You’ve Never Heard Of
Sometimes, I wonder if Tesla has become the Kleenex-ization and proprietary eponym of EVs. Sure, most consumers are familiar with the idea of an electric car, but if you were to walk up to any person on the street, they’d likely equate it with a Tesla and reflect on any number of Tesla tech, scandals, and other stuff that probably isn’t even related electric cars at all. Refreshingly, though, the 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 is a foil to those demands.
As deeply flawed as Elon Musk is, OEMs can’t help but emulate Tesla’s ethos when they make products. The yoke is a crap idea, yet Toyota and Lexus EVs have something similar. Every OEM wants a featureless blob-looking car that goes from zero to 60 mph in, like, two seconds, can semi-drive itself and is full of screens that the automaker convinces us that we need for some reason. The actual ability of the EV itself doesn’t appear to be all that relevant to a lot of folks.
Breaking from that mold, Genesis asks us: “Must EVs be weird and strange-looking to be good? Do we have to do things the Tesla way? Is there a place in the market for an EV with traditional car styling and a traditional car layout?”
After a week with the Electrified G80, the answer to all of those questions is crystal-clear. Genesis’ first electric sedan might just be the best EV you haven’t considered yet.
It’s just a shame that actually buying one will be tricky.
2023 Genesis Electrified G80 Review Specs
- Base price (as tested): $80,920 ($81,495 est.)
- Powertrain: 87.5-kWh lithium-ion battery | 1-speed automatic | all-wheel-drive
- Horsepower: 365
- Torque: 516 lb-ft
- Curb weight: 5,038 pounds
- Seating capacity: 5
- Cargo volume: 10.8 cubic feet
- EPA fuel economy: TBA
- Quick take: A genuinely nice-looking and nice-driving luxury car that just happens to be electric; it needs no gimmick to prove how good it is.
- Score: 9/10
Easy on the Eyes
The Genesis G80 is a large sedan, straddling the line between midsized and full-sized in the luxury segment. Its direct competitors include the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but unlike those two cars, Genesis now offers a fully electric option.
Dubbed “electrified,” the Electrified G80 isn’t a PHEV or hybrid, nope, it’s a full, honest-to-goodness pure electric car. This moniker isn’t without criticism; hell, I wrongly assumed the car was a PHEV. Oops. Likewise, I can’t help but wonder if the “Electrified” moniker, coupled with the Genesis’ incredibly understated appearance, could cause EV shoppers to overlook the Electrified G80.
Exterior-wise, there’s very little that visually signifies the Electrified G80 from the standard G80. The front fascia’s Dorito-shaped grille has been closed off and filled in with a diamond motif that seamlessly camouflages the charge port door on the right side of the grille. At the rear, Genesis said that the rear lower valance is unique to the Electrified G80, but the changes are so minimal, it’s really hard to determine how much different the rear is unless the two cars are side by side. Unique, 19-inch turbine-like wheels finish off the look, but once again, they look like wheels that could easily be optioned on the standard G80.
I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing, though. The Genesis G80 is a pretty vehicle to start with; the fastback design has good proportions. For the week I had the G80, I had multiple people come up and compliment me on my “pretty car,” including a guy in a BMW i4, awestruck by the Hallasan Green paint. The Electrified G80 is certainly antithetical to the Werther’s Original-shaped Mercedes EQS.
Inside, the dashboard and interior are about the same as the standard G80, with minimal changes. Meaning, all surfaces and touchpoints are high quality; a unique, foraged and open-pore wood trim adorns the dashboard and door cards. The leather surfaces use a material that Genesis calls “more sustainable (and) eco-friendly,” compared to normal leather. It is a joy to hold, and the leather grain on the wheel is supple, maybe a bit ashy. It slides through the hands with ease, without feeling slick, greasy, or annoying. Finally, Genesis’ traditional design and interface are its strengths in a world of screen-heavy EVs with pretty but borderline unusable interfaces. The infotainment puts setups from established brands to shame with its speed, quality, and ease of use.
The Electrified G80 trades its turbocharged four- or six-cylinder engines for two electric motors. Producing a claimed 182.5 horsepower each and fed by an 87.5-kWh battery, they’re mounted on either axle for a combined 365 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Cumulatively, the system should deliver a range of about 283 miles, according to EPA estimates.
Not a Bespoke Platform, But Does It Need It?
It seems like every OEM is rushing to create a new, ground-up platform completely optimized for electric vehicles. And, for the large part, they should. EVs are different from traditional ICE cars, and bespoke, modular EV platforms offer a lot of advantages, such as packaging and better cabin layouts. But, thinking as a consumer, does it always matter? When I go to a restaurant, I’m certainly not thinking about the granular methods that brought the meal together, so long as the food tastes good.
In a way, the Electrified G80, is kind of like that. It tastes good, metaphorically. So good, that there’s real no reason to care that the car isn’t on a “dedicated” EV platform. Sure, inside, the Genesis Electrified G80 does have a raised floor endemic to so many electric cars because beneath that is where they store their batteries. Under the hood sits one of the two electric motors that looks to be about the same size and shape as the gas-powered engines Genesis fitted in the non-EV G80, so the car has no frunk. In the trunk area, a large drive-motor-accommodating hump eats into the cargo room, and the folding seats have been replaced with a tiny ski passthrough.
Yet, those compromises don’t seem to affect the car all that much—in fact, they just enhance it. The raised floor lends itself to a more relaxed, car-like driving position rather than the upright SUV-style seating positions of some competitors. There’s plenty of space for both rows of seats, and the trunk is still plenty big even with the big hump in it. Sure, there’s no frunk, but Hyundai’s own purpose-built EV platform (E-GMP) cars have tiny, barely usable frunks. The Genesis Electrified G80 isn’t as compromised as one would think with its conversion to electric. Maybe that’s partially because Genesis insists the G80’s platform was designed to accommodate electrification from the jump, but I digress.
The Genesis Electrified G80 Is Urgent, Yet Smooth
On paper, the Genesis’ performance numbers and range seem a bit mediocre. It can’t crack 300 miles, and the power output is less than the gas-powered 3.5-liter turbo, even if it does have more torque.
And yet, cars can sometimes be more than spec sheets. The Electrified G80’s straight-line acceleration is swift, yet unhurried. EVs are often accused of uninteresting power delivery, which I don’t think is fair or particularly apt to anyone paying attention to the EV driving experience. The Genesis’ EV power delivery is smooth; it sort of rolls onto its full 516 lb-ft of torque, accelerating the car from zero to 60 mph in a silky four-ish seconds. By comparison, the power delivery in fast EVs like the Polestar 2 or Mustang Mach-E feels akin to a magnet-style roller coaster launch. Fun, but not quite the experience befitting a smooth luxury car.
I’ve said this before: Electric cars are a cheat code for a good ride, but not every manufacturer has the ability to consistently rein in the excess mass that motors and batteries bring, especially on a car that has multiple powertrain options. I’ve found that EV conversions may ride nice, but when the car is driven with any verve, those faults show through with a chassis that feels at its limit, with floaty suspension that can’t cope with all that extra weight.
The Genesis Electrified G80, though, feels like an EV where you can have your cake and eat it, too. At 5,038 pounds, it isn’t a particularly light car, but in curves, its taut chassis and well-composed suspension system make for a genuinely entertaining drive. No doubt, the car is soft—I mean, hello, it’s a luxury sedan with no sporting pretense, but the electric G80’s weight never feels cumbersome. The ride is supple without being harsh. It’s soft without feeling overburdened, and definitely does not have a suspension that feels as though it can’t handle the extra weight and would just endlessly rebound and bounce on the road instead. None of that nonsense.
Communicative steering offers the perfect amount of heft and feel, but overly so in a way that betrays the car’s decidedly comfort-oriented nature. The G80’s regenerative braking can be adjusted to one of four levels, or be driven in one-pedal mode, dubbed i-Pedal. It’s all very seamless and accommodating to many different EV driving styles.
The EPA estimates the Genesis to return 282 miles, but in practice, I’d wager that any sensible driver will easily match or beat that. For example, I don’t have a light foot and I used air conditioning during most of my drives, so I wasn’t exactly hypermiling it. But driving around the Columbus, Ohio, area, which is mostly freeways mixed with mild city driving (not ideal EV conditions), I averaged around 3.2 to 3.4 miles per kWh. I was on track to achieve 280 miles of range, a mere two miles short of the EPA’s test rating. For a big luxury sedan without a dedicated EV platform and that can also be ordered as a gas vehicle, that’s damn good.
DC fast-charging speeds max out at an admirable 187 kW. Speedy, but a little behind the Genesis GV60’s 220 kW, or the Mercedes EQS’s 200 kW. DC fast-charging rates remained near the max for most of the charging events and only slowed down to roughly 35 kW at around the 90-percent mark.
You Can’t Really Buy One, Though
The Electrified G80 is also a pretty strong deal, too. The $80,920 price (not counting the $525 for the Hallsan Green paint) does seem like a hard pill to swallow, but the car only comes in one, well-equipped trim. You get everything that I mentioned above. By comparison, a similarly equipped Genesis G80 is about $8,000 cheaper at $72,845, which is not a very big delta. Cars like the Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model S might be faster and cheaper, but they’re not as nice. The Electrified G80’s direct competitor would be the forthcoming Mercedes EQE, but that car looks like a cough drop.
Unfortunately, it looks like you won’t have a choice but to buy one of those lozenge-shaped Mercedes EVs because the Genesis Electrified G80 is more exclusive than a Kanye West midnight shoe drop. It has “extremely limited availability,” and is only available at select dealerships in California, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Washington, Nevada, and Utah. There are no such limitations with other models of similar size, range, and price. Genesis did inform me that it intends to roll out the Electrified G80 (along with the electric GV60) to more states, but didn’t give a timeline.
That’s kind of the crux of the Genesis Electrified G80. The era of a chaotic new-car market, paired Genesis’ own limited production of the Electrified, essentially makes it a non-entry in the minds of most EV buyers. It’s only available at select Genesis dealers, in select states; I drove it around Columbus, but it won’t be available in Ohio until Genesis says when.
That’s a shame, because the Genesis Electrified G80 is a very good EV, probably the best iteration of the entire Genesis G80 lineup. The seats are very comfortable, and inside and out, it exudes a sort of timeless luxuriant quality that many of its competitors have yet to match. But, most importantly, it proves to us that a car doesn’t have to rely on half-assed gimmicks to be a good luxury electric car.
It’s too bad that most people probably won’t get the chance to buy one.
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