Genesis' electric flagship might look the part and tick all the right boxes a luxury saloon needs to, but its big price tag is the main thing it needs to overcome.

If there’s one type of car that you’d think would instantly lend itself to being electric-powered, it’s a luxury saloon. With an emphasis on smoothness, quietness, efficiency, and power, it’s the sort of EV that just makes total sense. The first car that should come to mind with that list of prerequisites, then, will be the 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 – the perfect blend of all those qualities cloaked in the body of one of the most attractive saloons we’ve seen since the original Mercedes CLS.

But while the blend of smoothness, quietness, efficiency, and power that it promises makes total sense on paper, there’s one big issue that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. At $145,000 before on-road costs, it’s an astonishing $30,000 more expensive than the equivalent petrol-powered model. Let’s call that what it is – an astronomic price increase that presents more than just a bit of a hurdle, not least for a brand that has up until now prided itself on value-for-money in the luxury segment.

So, is that price tag a check that the rest of this car can’t cash? Oh, no – quite the opposite in fact. The Electrified G80 is actually one of the most resolved EVs you’re going to find out there, even if that refinement comes at a cost it would easy to dismiss as being too much for a brand that’s still a relative unknown like Genesis. People asking you what your $145,000 is once is a nice boost to the ego, but after people have mistaken it for a Bentley for the hundredth time in a week it does start to wear thin.

Bewinged badge aside, it’s easy to see why many mistake it for something made by a legacy luxury brand rather than an experiment from Hyundai – the G80 is a truly gorgeous piece of design. With long, crisp lines and wonderfully sleek proportions, it’s quintessential luxury sedan design. The Makalu Grey Matte paint of my tester, a $2000 option, might be tempting to go for as it really does highlight the G80’s lines and curves even more vividly, but with how many scratches it had already attracted after just 3000km on the press fleet, I’d be going for a vinyl wrap if a matte finish is a must.

Although at first glance it looks pretty similar to the petrol-powered model, there are a few changes. The front grille and bumper design has been tweaked with a new diamond pattern, and the front radar sensor and charging port are almost seamlessly integrated into it. There are also 19-inch wheels with a more aerodynamic design (2.5T models also wear 19-inch wheels, but the 3.5T scores larger 20-inch rims) and the rear bumper does away with any exhaust outlets because, well, they’d be completely unnecessary. Overall, these changes only serve to give the G80 an even more subtle look than it already had.

The biggest exterior change that is a bit of a stand-out, though, is the roof. Normally, there’d be a couple of glass panels spanning over the G80’s cabin for its panoramic sunroof, but instead, the Electrified G80 has solar panels mounted to the roof to generate extra electricity while driving or parked on a sunny day. With no sunroof, that means you instead have a suede-like headlining inside which is actually made from recycled plastic bottles.

Although the interior largely presents the same as that of the standard G80, Genesis has added other environmentally-conscious touches to the Electrified G80’s interior as well. That includes using natural dyes for the seats and armrests and an optional ‘forged wood’ interior trim that’s made from recycled birch offcuts from the furniture manufacturing process.

My tester was fitted with the Glacier White and Green ‘bio-processed’ Nappa leather interior which is exclusive to the Electrified G80, while Obsidian Black, Forest Blue, and Havana Brown interiors are also available. As you’d expect, the white looks absolutely crisp and nicely contrasted by the green of the dashboards and door cards, but keeping it clean is a bit of a chore. If you’re buying one of these to chauffeur people around in – a point worth mentioning as the old G80 was a hire car operator favourite – you’d be wise to go for one of the other finishes.

Being driven around in the Electrified G80 is more than a pleasure, though, given just how many features it boasts as standard. It’s fitted as standard with most of the features from the Luxury Package that’s normally a $13,000 option on petrol-powered G80 variants, which adds in heated rear seats, three-zone climate control, rear sunshades (although only the one for the rear window is powered, those for the side windows are manually operated), soft close doors, acoustic laminated glass, and two 9.2-inch Rear Seat Entertainment screens with controls on the rear centre armrest. The system those screens run is almost entirely as slick and comprehensive as what’s on the massive 14.5-inch screen up front, too.

And those are just the upgrades afforded to those sitting in the back. Up front, the driver scores an Ergo Motion massage seat, a heated steering wheel, a 12.3-inch 3D instrument cluster, and a Forward Attention Warning system with an eye-tracking sensor. There are also 18-way powered seats for both front occupants which are heated and ventilated, and there’s a remote parking system controlled via the key fob.

If there’s one thing that really goes a long way to justifying the Electrified G80’s price tag, it’s the quality of this interior which feels like it belongs in a car from a class above. The fit and finish is superb, and the quality of all materials from top to bottom is simply sublime with not one surface in here feeling in any way cheap. The comfort it offers is impressive as well, with both the front and rear seats being deeply sculpted and supportive.

There’s also a 19-speaker Lexicon audio system for when you want to blast some tunes, while there’s an active road noise cancelling system for when you’re after total silence. When I say total silence, I mean it – this is perhaps as serene as a car’s cabin can get this side of a Rolls-Royce. It’s almost eerily quiet, enough so to be a little disorienting for passengers on a twistier road.

Storage space is also quite good with decently-sized front and rear console storage cubbies. Another consideration for chauffeurs out there, though, is that the rear-mounted electric motor takes up a considerable amount of boot space, reducing it from 424 litres to just 354 litres. As if it wasn’t already off the mark for the class to begin with, fitting in a couple of larger suitcases on an airport run is quite the challenge now.

If anything tells you how much thought Genesis has put into making the Electrified G80 as luxurious as possible, it’s easily told from the amount of power it has been given. Rather than prioritising power like Genesis’ other EVs, the GV60 and Electrified GV70, the Electrified G80 still uses an electric motor on each axle, making it all-wheel drive, but produces a lesser 272kW. However, it has 700Nm of torque available at all times – something only unlocked in the GV60 Performance and Electrified GV70 by pressing a special Boost button – and it’s this low-down grunt that’s the real characteristic of the G80.

While it gets from 0-100km/h slower than the other two at 4.9 seconds, the way it delivers its power feels smoother and more luxurious. Forget the sort of spiky acceleration you get from an EV – not that the Electrified G80 is at all slow, because it isn’t – this thing is as effortlessly wafty as you’d like.

With an even 50:50 power split between each axle, it simply surges forward less like an EV and more like a magic carpet, with the progressiveness of its power delivery really causing you to rethink every presumption you had about how EVs drive. If you, like me, thought electric power would be ideal for a luxury saloon, I’m pleased to say you were right.

Given its low centre of gravity thanks to its floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack, the Electrified G80 handles like you’d expect a luxury saloon to as well, with it remaining composed through corners but with a slight hint of forgiving body roll. Its ‘Road Preview’ suspension system – which uses the camera mounted at the top of the windscreen to identify road imperfections and adjust the dampers accordingly – also helps it ride superbly well, with it feeling like a true luxury ride.

Mind you, when you do hit a bump or throw it into a corner, what can be felt is the immense weight of the Electrified G80. Of Genesis’ electric trio, it’s this sedan that’s actually the heaviest, with its mammoth 2325kg mass owing to its 87.2kWh battery pack; the GV60 and GV70 only use a 77.4kWh battery by comparison.

However, that big battery does give it some truly exceptional range. Genesis cites 520km of range on the WLTP test cycle, but energy consumption of 19.1kWh/100km which indicates real-world range of 456km. Over the course of my 945km of testing, though, I was able to better that with energy consumption of 17.9kWh/100km, meaning I could go a hypothetical 487km per charge. Given that testing included a lot of long-distance driving on highways and country roads, as well as a bit of backroad thrashing, it’s an exceptional return for a car of this size and weight, and one powering as many on-board luxuries as it was.

Consider also that on the day I collected the vehicle it only had around 75 percent charge, yet some friends and I trekked out to the Barossa Valley to take these photos and show them around the area, headed back to Adelaide for dinner, and it still had around 45 percent remaining when I stopped by a fast charger to properly fill it up for the next few days. Range anxiety simply wasn’t part of the equation.

In terms of ownership benefits, Genesis offers some impressive ones. Although its five-year unlimited kilometre bumper-to-bumper warranty and eight-year high voltage battery warranty are par for the course, you do get five years of free servicing and 10 years of complimentary roadside assistance as well. Furthermore, if you live in Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane, Genesis will collect your car for you and drop it back off when you do need it serviced.

Charging is also something Genesis has Electrified G80 buyers covered for, with two options offered to customers. If you are most likely to charge it at home, the company will install a 10.5kW home charging station in your garage for free. However, if you don’t have off-street parking and are more likely to charge while out and about, the company will give you five years of free charging at Chargefox public charging stations.

Now that’s all well and good, all those benefits being thrown in, but a free wall box or public charging pass isn’t quite enough to justify spending $30,000 extra on this electric model rather than the twin-turbo V6. I’m sure that for all the savings five years of free charging provides, you’d still get a lot further with five-figures-worth of petrol.

What makes that price harder to complain about is the lack of direct rivals for the Electrified G80. The Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 would be the closest, but it’s $9900 more expensive, slower than the Genesis, and not as truly luxurious. Neither is the Tesla Model S Long Range, although it is $3010 cheaper and considerably more powerful… buuuuuut you can’t actually get the updated model in Australia yet with deliveries still on hold.

In that sense, the Genesis’ price is actually rather on the money given the sheer amount of standard features it offers compared with the Merc and the Tesla. However, it still presents a hard-to-justify jump over a petrol-powered G80, and it should also be noted that it’s too dear to be eligible for State or Territory-backed EV grants or subsidies, which is a great shame as it’s a genuinely lovely car to drive.

Where I’m sure this car will find favour is with governments – some already use the G80 as a car for transporting politicians, such as in South Australia, given its focus on back-seat comfort, and an electric-powered version will only send the right message even more clearly. In the same vein, I should imagine a few hire car companies will find use for it, too. But for you or I, the average driver, it’s the petrol-powered models that will continue to make the most sense.

2023 Genesis Electrified G80 List Price: $145,000 | As Tested: $147,000
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Ride & Handling - 8.5/10
  • 9/10
    Tech & Features - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Value for Money - 7/10

Pros: Tech-laden and luxurious interior, stunning looks, serene cabin ambiance and supple ride quality, genuinely impressive driving range
Cons: Massive price hike over the twin-turbo V6, boot space is too compromised, no wireless smartphone mirroring

In a nutshell: The Genesis Electrified G80 is a genuinely impressive and beautifully-styled machine that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to what makes a great luxury saloon. It’s also a great EV with seriously impressive real-world range and some thoughtful features such as that solar roof. However, given its big price tag, I’m unsure how many of these will find a home in Australia – if that number is as low as I fear, it’ll be a shame as it’s one fabulous machine.

Photography by Patrick Jackson and Shuqi Yu.

Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Genesis Motors Australia with 75 percent charge upon delivery. All additional charging expenses were covered by the author.

Patrick Jackson
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