2018 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport Review: First Impressions

13_18Genesis_G80_Sport_AS_ES_13.jpg 2018 Genesis G80 Sport | photo by Evan Sears

CARS.COM — A year ago, Hyundai created a standalone luxury brand out of its Genesis sedan, and it has begun to flesh out the model range with additional variants and new sheet metal. Latest to arrive in the lineup is the new 2018 G80 3.3T Sport, appearing at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s a more aggressive take on the company’s G80 sedan. For those still trying to figure out the alphanumeric soup that has been proliferating across the luxury landscape, the G80 is what used to be the old Hyundai Genesis, while the G90 is the larger, more opulent former Hyundai Equus.

More 2016 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

06_18Genesis_G80_Sport_AS_ES_06.jpg 2018 Genesis G80 Sport | photo by Evan Sears

The styling changes from the normal G80 to the G80 3.3T Sport are subtle, limited to painting the bright chrome bits in a dark chrome hue, a new lower bumper and side sills, adding unique 19-inch dark-alloy wheels, and swapping out the bright grille for a dark cross-hatch one. You have to look twice to really notice the differences, as was evident when Genesis parked a G80 3.3T Sport next to a regular G80 on the show floor; I had to stop a moment to figure out which one was which. Perhaps on a black car it would be more dramatic, but the dark-red model on the floor didn’t show off these changes very well.

10_18Genesis_G80_Sport_AS_ES_10.jpg 2018 Genesis G80 Sport | photo by Evan Sears

Under the hood is the turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 that’s out of the G90 sedan, a fantastic honey of an engine that packs the feel of a big, smooth V-8 into the size and fuel economy of a V-6. If it’s as good in the G80 3.3T Sport as it is in the big G90, it’s going to be a ton of fun.

20_18Genesis_G80_Sport_AS_ES_20.jpg 2018 Genesis G80 Sport | photo by Evan Sears

The changes to the G80 3.3T Sport’s cabin are meant to add some edginess to the luxurious trimmings, with carbon-fiber trim replacing the wood normally found there, dark-charcoal upholstery with contrasting light-colored stitching, and aluminum pedals and sill trim to round things out. It’s still a very nice interior, just now rendered in more somber tones.

17_18Genesis_G80_Sport_AS_ES_17.jpg 2018 Genesis G80 Sport | photo by Evan Sears

Overall, the new G80 3.3T Sport is little more than a sport appearance package for an already excellent sedan, but it’s not the true BMW-fighting sports sedan that we’re expecting from Genesis that’s likely to show up in the next year or two.

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