By Larry Lark / Herald Special Sections Writer
It’s always flattering when a stranger asks if you’re driving a Bentley.
That happened several times the week I was driving a 2017 Genesis G80 AWD, mid-luxury, four-door sedan. The confusion is caused because only the word GENESIS is written on the logo, in the middle of wings protruding from either side.
The Bentley logo does look similar (with a big B) in the middle of a pair of wings.
But as nice as the Genesis G80 is – and it’s very nice, indeed – that’s where the comparison with a Bentley, which starts around $220,000, begins and ends.
Powered by a 3.8-liter Lambda engine with direct-injection, the G80 produces 311 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 293 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm, delivering the most standard horsepower against key segment competitors. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic and paddle shifters. The EPA rates combined city/highway driving at 19 miles per gallon – not great, but to be expected.
The G80 is the little brother to the recently tested G90 rear-wheeler, but costs almost $20,000 less. It delivers an unprecedented combination of modern design, refined performance and segment-leading safety features.
The profile of the G80 is expressive, with fluid lines and blended surfaces, and a sleek C-pillar helping to emphasize the sporty styling.
The G80 interior displays an ultra-precise fit and finish, with ergonomic seat design and a generous, natural feel. Particular design attention has been paid to the storage of practical items such as mobile electronics of many shapes and sizes, along with the flexibility of the cup holders. It seats up to five adults with room to spare, and includes a trunk that is Larry-sized, and golf ready.
Details worthy of note are the 22-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 18-way power front passenger seat. Both come with leather and are heated and ventilated. My seat was so comfortable, with so much support, it was almost worth driving around the block a few times. Believe me, I thought about it.
Audiophiles, will delight with an ultra-premium, Lexicon Discrete Logic 7 surround audio system with 17 speakers and a 12-channel digital amplifier with 900-watts of equivalent output. Ed Sheeran and I were rocking the house (mostly Ed).
The Genesis G80 employs an unrivaled standard suite of active driver safety technologies. These features cover the full spectrum of safety, from driver alertness and focus to total occupant safety, and even the safety of other drivers on the road.
Other premium safety features include automatic emergency braking that uses sensor fusion technology to help avoid a potential collision or reduce its impact in certain circumstances. With this supplemental system, the G80 will employ automatic braking when it detects another vehicle at an unsafe closing rate of speed. This system uses smart cruise control and the forward camera from lane-departure warning to provide an extra margin of safety.
Base Price: $43,900
Price As Driven: $53,800
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.