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2018 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport Review: First Impressions

img 1837119553 1479312710011 jpg 2018 Genesis G80 Sport | Cars.com 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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