Traditional limousines are an endangered species these days but fledgling luxury brand Genesis isn’t deterred by their dwindling popularity.
The brand has released an electric version of the G80 sedan that’s found interest with hire car operators.
The petrol engine has been replaced by two electric motors and a bank of batteries arranged in a skateboard configuration beneath the floor, but the new-car is essentially an adaptation of the original platform than a unique ground-up EV design.
That means there are hangovers from the original, including a sizeable hump in the middle of the floor, less room in the back seats and a boot that is smaller to accommodate an electric motor.
You’ll pay more for the EV privilege, too.
The Electrified G80 is priced from about $156,000 drive-away for the sole dual-motor model. That makes it about $62K more than you’ll pay for the same car with a petrol engine. Even comparing it to the higher-powered all-wheel drive 3.5-litre turbo model, there’s a hefty $45K premium for electric propulsion.
That price also puts the G80 Electrified in rarefied luxury air. There are all manner of German luxury electric SUVs for similar money (an electric Porsche is about $20K more).
But few have an equipment list as extensive as the Electrified G80. It includes tri-zone ventilation, ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated electrically adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, a 360-degree camera and dual rear-entertainment screens with controls built into the armrest.
Hyundai also covers the G80’s servicing for the first five years and offers the choice of a charger installed at home or five years of free charging on the Chargefox network. There’s also a vehicle-to-load function that provides a mobile power point for everything from camping gear to computers.
Instead of a digital instrument cluster there’s a 3D-effect system that seems like a complex way of adding spice to an analog display.
There’s no shortage of active safety gear. The usual auto emergency braking, lane-keeping and blind-spot warning are joined by adaptive cruise control that uses artificial intelligence to learn your driving style.
There are also solar panels in the roof to trickle charge the 12-volt battery that powers things such as the airconditioning.
While most limos provide myriad opportunities to spend more, the G80 only allows you to choose colours and interior trims, with $2000 the most you can add to the price.
It essentially looks like a conventional petrol-powered G80, although there are a few EV styling cues, including an enclosed grille and 19-inch wheels and bumpers that have been designed to improve aerodynamics and increase range.
Genesis also uses more aluminium in the body to offset the weight of the battery pack but it still weighs almost 2.3 tonnes.
As with the exterior, the cabin design is more traditional than trendy, although some materials have been selected for their sustainability as much as their style. The headliner and mats are made from recycled plastics and the Nappa leather is coloured with natural dyes.
While Genesis’s GV60 has a futuristic, tech-laden cabin, the G80 sticks with tradition. There’s a circular gear selector and infotainment controller, while steering wheel paddles adjust the level of regenerative braking rather than change gears.
The Electrified G80 makes an exciting statement on the road, though.
The motors produce 272kW and 700Nm, which makes for potent straight-line thrust and effortless cruising. Full power comes on quickly, making the G80 one of the quicker large sedans on the road.
Sport mode delivers even more immediate responses.
The G80 is smooth and quiet, too, with a serenity that fits the limo brief.
The suspension is tuned towards the softer side, especially in Comfort mode, which plays to the sit-back-and-relax attitude of the G80.
The body is tied down better in Sport.
A forward-facing camera reads the road and prepares the adjustable dampers for bumps. You’ll still feel them, but there’s less initial shock.
Flashes of excitement aren’t enough to justify the hefty premium charged for electric power.
GENESIS G80 ELECTRIFIED
PRICE From about $156,000 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5 yrs/unlimited km, free for 5 years
POWER Dual electric motors, 272kW and 700Nm
SAFETY 10 airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, 360-degree camera, driver monitor, safe-exit assist
SPARE Repair kit
BOOT 354 litres
Originally published as 2022 Genesis G80 Electrified new car review