There’s a worrying trend as luxury automakers pivot toward electrification: subbrands. E-Tron, EQ, i—the big three German luxury automakers (Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW, respectively) have all launched new names to peddle their electric cars. Beyond the idea’s short-sightedness (what, for example, becomes of the Mercedes-EQ EQE when Mercedes electrifies the E-Class?), many of the German designs are polarizing at best and plain weird at worst. That’s what makes the 2023 Genesis G80 Electric—officially (and confusingly) named the 2023 Genesis Electrified G80—such a remarkably unremarkable breath of fresh air.
Wait, It’s Electric? I Thought It Was “Electrified. “
Rather than creating a subbrand and designing a second midsize luxury sedan, Genesis (which is committed to launching only electric vehicles from 2025 onward) decided to keep things simple. It skipped the new division and wacky new design, and instead it simply make the G80 electric.
The idea is not an altogether crazy one. Genesis designed the G80’s M3 platform with electrification in mind, and Hyundai Motor Group’s bleeding-edge 800-volt electrical architecture bolts right up just fine. Aside from that, offering an electric powertrain alongside the G80’s existing turbocharged I-4 and V-6 isn’t all that different from competitors offering an array of gas, diesel, and hybrid powertrains in the same model. So, say hello to the electric G80.
The new 2023 Genesis G80 Electric eschews its somewhat unrefined gas engines in favor of a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup. Its two permanent-magnet motors combine for 365 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, 10 horsepower less than the G80 Sport’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 but a massive 125 lb-ft more. Squeezed under the electric G80’s floor is an 87.2-kWh battery with an estimated 282 miles of range. (EPA results are pending.) Its capable of being quick-charged from 10 to 80 percent in as little as 22 minutes, thanks to its 187-kW peak charge rate, while at home on a Level 2 charger, it can replenish electrons at speeds of up to 10.9 kW, meaning it’ll need about as much time to charge as you do to sleep overnight.
With the above philosophy in mind, you won’t find much to distinguish the 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 from gas ones—which is fine by us considering styling has been among the G80’s strong suits since its 2021 debut. Up front, the G80 features a grille that inverts the pattern found on the ICE version and hides a charge port on the driver side. Along its flanks you’ll find a lack of a fuel flap and unique 19-inch wheels, and in back, the neat pseudo-boattail is preserved, with the rear bumper redesigned sans exhaust outlets. That’s it as far as visual differences go.
However, you do notice some differences beneath and within the electric G80’s exterior. Pop the hood, and you find a motor and hardware instead of the expected frunk or engine. Open the trunk and you find the floor is likely higher than you remembered it being in the ICE G80, with a big hump over the axle where the rear motor sits. Trunk space shrinks from 13.1 cubic feet to a still generous 10.8 cubic feet as a result of the intrusion. The G80 EV’s cabin remains beautifully designed and furnished, with three contrasting color options (to go with nine exterior color options, this G80’s only other options), but taller occupants (like this 6-foot author, for instance) will notice about an inch less headroom up front and almost 3 inches less headroom in back, all due to the underfloor battery pack. Legroom shrinks slightly too, though both front and rear seats remain spacious enough for adults.
How It Drives
Although the 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 largely looks and feels the same as its ICE variants, the driving experience is drastically improved. We’ve found the four- and six-cylinder G80s to be powerful but unrefined, while their suspension tuning felt unsettled and unrefined. With no combustion engine sucking, squeezing, banging, and blowing, the electric G80 is effortlessly smooth and powerful. Despite conservative ICE-like throttle mapping, the G80 EV’s dual motors give you a good forward shove off the line, with the motors really uncorking as speed picks up. It’s remarkable how normal the experience feels, considering most ICE vehicles don’t translate well into EVs due to the wildly different packaging and engineering constraints of the two types of powerplants.
The Genesis G80 Electric’s suspension tuning is drastically improved versus the gas versions, too. In an effort to curb the battery’s weight, the G80 EV’s body features fewer parts than gas versions and more aluminum, making the raw body lighter overall. The chassis is also significantly more rigid. The changes pay off on poor pavement and winding roads, where the electric G80 is composed and planted, dispatching bumps and curves alike with minimal drama.
As with the Genesis GV60 (and it’s Hyundai and Kia cousins), the G80 EV sports five regenerative brake settings, but we found ourselves bouncing back and forth between its one-pedal driving mode and the next-most aggressive regen setting. The few times we had to use the brake pedal proper, we found it felt natural, seamlessly blending regenerative and mechanical braking.
Our sole nit to pick with how the G80 EV drives is its steering feel. For the luxury cruiser Q-ship vibe the sedan has, the steering effort is on the high side with no real payoff in terms of precision or feel.
The 2023 Genesis G80 Electric looks stellar, swaddles you in luxury inside, and finally drives as it should—surely there’s got to be a catch. And indeed there is. Aside from the fact it won’t launch until fall, Genesis only plans to offer the Electrified G80 in four states: California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. It promises that like the GV60 (also only available in those four states), the electric G80 will eventually roll out nationwide. Genesis says it’ll announce pricing closer to launch, but a safe guess is the electric G80 will sit atop the lineup and start at about $75,000.
Despite its limited availability, the 2023 Genesis Electrified G80 represents a refreshingly normal path forward for luxury brands as the industry pivots toward electrification. No dorky designs or new brands to get used to—instead, this new G80 is a remarkably normal, incredibly competent luxury sedan that just so happens to be electric. The way it should be.
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