Review: 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 Shows Dedicated Platforms Aren’t Always the Key to EV Success
The sedan converts gas to battery, and EV skeptics to buyers
|Vehicle: 2023 Genesis Electrified G80||Starting Price: $79,825 MSRP|
|Pros: Excellent battery range and fast charging, well-priced for loaded feature set, quick and comfortable||Cons: Taller floor squeezes headroom, unusually loud electric motors, smaller trunk than gas model|
For such a young automaker, Genesis hasn’t been shy about bolstering its lineup with electric offerings. Although its GV60 SUV has received the lion’s share of the EV attention, that handsome hauler was actually the second battery-powered option from the brand. Arriving on the world stage just a few ticks beforehand? The Genesis Electrified G80, an awkward name for a handsome sedan that ports over nearly everything that makes its gas-engine twin such a strong choice for four-door fans, with the addition of a plug (and the elimination of internal combustion).
The Electrified G80 is an intriguing path for Genesis to explore, as it combines a pre-existing automotive platform with key bits of the company’s highly-touted E-GMP hardware (which underpins EV luminaries such as the GV60, the Hyundai Ioniq series and the Kia EV6).
Like the BMW i4, it proves that it’s possible to produce a competitive EV without starting completely from scratch. Unlike the i4, it does so at a discount from what one would typically expect to pay for so much range, power and coddle in a midsize package.
The Big, Efficient Battery
About that drivetrain: The Genesis Electrified G80 is built around an 87.2-kWh battery, which feeds a pair of electric motors to offer 365 all-wheel-drive horsepower (and a whopping 516 lb-ft of torque). Even though this is a big car (considerably larger than the one-class-below i4), on a full charge that’s enough electron storage to guarantee 282 miles of EPA-estimated range.
That’s an extremely competitive figure for its class. Consider that the full-size, purpose-built BMW i7 EV — whose $120,000 starting price makes it nearly $40K more expensive than the Genesis — adds only 13 extra miles of driving from its significantly larger battery pack, with the G80 offering a touch better handling and similar acceleration (in the low four-second range to 60 mph).
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The weight advantage works in the G80’s favor here, as it provides somewhat more modest proportions compared to the i7 and a little less curb weight, thanks in part to avoiding the BMW’s ultra-luxe feature splurge. The similarities in range are astounding, however, when taking into account the G80’s adaptation of a gas-powered template.
Really, when looking at direct rivals, the Genesis only falls behind the Tesla Model S, whose similarly priced entry-level model can’t match the Electrified G80’s not-inconsiderable interior charms, overall excellent design or its feature set, but does best its driving range by a full 100 miles, while also blowing its doors off in a straight-line contest.
Inside, a Tight Fit
The importance of the Electrified G80’s elegant interior can’t be overstated when comparing it against the plainer Model S. Here lie all the charms of a car that had already pushed itself shoulder-to-shoulder with the best midsize Mercedes-Benz and Audi sedans, and its attention to detail and high-quality finishing continue to make it a force to be reckoned with in the absence of a gas-powered engine. The EV adds additional recycled materials to its palette, borrowing wood from the floor of furniture shops and spinning discarded plastic into microsuede.
All is not perfect within the confines of this Genesis, however, and the biggest bugaboo is tied directly to its electric conversion. The presence of its big battery has forced a noticeable rise in floor level, to the point where I clocked the proximity of the ceiling to my head (and the top of the windshield nearer to my sight line). This sensation is even more pronounced in the rear seats, and is capped off by two cubic feet of storage being removed from the trunk compared to the internal combustion G80.
There’s also the issue of the unusual amount of noise associated with the Electrified G80’s electric motors. When accelerating above the speed of city traffic, the audible component of the Genesis sedan’s personality rings through the passenger compartment in stark contrast to some of the other EVs I’ve driven recently. Whether this was an issue with my test vehicle or a feature of its sound design, I don’t know.
Rapid Expansion, Not a Purity Test
There’s a lot to like about the Genesis game plan of courting battery-curious buyers by electrifying one of its best existing models. The plug-in G80 charges at an ultra-rapid rate (nearing 200 kW in the real world), features excellent driving range, and maintains the handsome looks and luxurious environment offered by its gas-sipping sibling. It’s also reasonably priced (starting at $79,825), at least compared to other high-end fare, and offers features such as vehicle-to-load charging that allow for other cars or even a home to borrow from its battery bounty.
Although clearly not the future of the brand — after all, the presence of the GV60 indicates that Genesis is willing to go all-in on dedicated EVs that don’t have to deal with compromises like a tighter cabin — the Electrified G80 isn’t an afterthought, either. Genesis has continued its drivetrain swap strategy with the Electrified GV70, which gives it a second battery-powered SUV in the mix this model year. It’s tempting to nitpick these efforts as lacking the design integration perfection of a pure EV approach, but it’s also telling that one has to dig deep into the details before excavating any issues worth mentioning.
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