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The stylish luxury limousine from Korea

The Korean luxury car manufacturer, Genesis, has arrived in Switzerland. Most people think of the band (remember Phil Collins?) rather than the car brand, but Genesis is working to change that.

The car we have been testing is their new flagship G80 full-size luxury sedan. Consider it a Korean alternative to anything similar made in Germany or Sweden. But, is it the better alternative? We've been driving the G80 to find that out. Here's the run-down.

First of all: the G80 is one of the most elegant cars we've tested yet. It's striking, yet subtle. Muscular, but gentle. You get this feeling the moment you look at it. While the design is different, it is not something outlandish. Genesis has designed their cars in a way to fit their segments, but to stand out through well-thought-out design and not by throwing sporty badges and crazy vents on everything. The front is dominated by the large chrome grille and the split front lights. Undoubtedly Genesis is proudly showing their face to the automotive industry. The side profile is clean without any crazy side skirts, but they installed some fake vents on the front fender. Even the wheels are subtle: 20-inch five-spoke alloys with a textured design. The sloping roof-line ends at the back and the rear continues the discreet design language. All-around: a very good-looking car. We'd choose no other color than Uyuni White.

The large dimensions of the G80 are mainly used on the inside, especially in the rear. When you step in the driver's seat you're greeted by a bright and open cabin. Light is not only coming in from the enormous windscreen, but also the large sunroof. Luxurious materials such as wood and metal are used to give a premium feel. Everything feels up to the standards that you expect from a car in this segment. The horizontal 14.5-inch infotainment screen is something to get used to, but it is beautiful. More manufacturers should offer a screensaver as Genesis does. It's one of the most neatly laid out front cabins we've seen yet. Other small details include a frameless rear-view mirror, wood on the dashboard, and a glass gear selector. We also highly recommend that you listen to the 18-speaker Lexicon sound system, with quantum-logic surround technology that allows you to customize your listening experience. There is a "sort-of" massage for the front passengers, but it isn't very customizable, with only a few options to choose from. It seems then that the front is all about stunning, but subtle design. A place to be focused and thoughtful of the road ahead. There aren't a lot of things to distract you from driving.

If you're keen on driving, your place is obviously in the front. What if you just want to relax; the rear is for you. Most of the length is used for the rear passengers, this is where the real luxury begins. The G80 can be used as a five-seater, but ideally, you want to pull out the center armrest that houses all the gadgets. Wrapped in bright wood and leather, the armrest allows you to control all the features the driver can control through the central infotainment. Each rear seat is fully adjustable, to the point where sleeping in them is possible. The place to be is the rear-right seat. The front-right seat can fold out of the way to reveal a footrest. Now your legroom is technically infinite. Both rear seats are heated and cooled, but for some reason, there is no massage option for either seat. The real party trick is both entertainment screens fitted to the driver and passenger seat. It can be controlled by touch or the through the center armrest. The 10-inch screens can tilt and adjust to the cabin's brightness automatically. On these screens, you can watch movies as well as TV and control everything the driver does. A final gadget you have in the back is the electronic rear curtain that is controlled by the driver or the rear center armrest. Unfortunately, the curtains for the rear windows have to be adjusted manually.

Even if the G80 is not a performance sedan, this is the only part where the G80 is compromised. At least in Europe, the only engine option is a 2.5l turbocharged four-cylinder with 300 horsepower and 422 newton-meters of torque. Our American friends can enjoy the 3.0l twin-turbo V6 that is well known and loved. While the European iteration of the G80 can still accelerate to 100km/h in 6 seconds, we think it is underpowered. Also, a four-cylinder just isn't as appealing as a smooth V6. It doesn't sound particularly good either, instead, Genesis pumps in a fake sound (which luckily can be switched off). To us, this is a missed opportunity: you want an impressive engine in a luxurious car of this caliber. This is the only shortcoming of the G80 in Europe.

While driving the G80 for a week, we were struggling to find out what its purpose was. Is it a chauffeur car, or a luxurious grand tourer? The rear entertainment screens and gadgets are a welcome feature and the driver can enjoy some luxurious gimmicks as well. We think the G80 is a balanced mixture of both. It can comfortably chauffeur passengers (or in this case your family/friends) in the back, while the driver can appreciate the airy front section of the cabin.

What can't be beaten is the value for money. Our tester which was filled to the brim with options was 86k CHF. This is a lot of money, but if you think about all the things you get, it's a deal! Nothing can compete in this price class. The Germans and Swedes are in another league (price-wise). So, our take on the G80 is clear. Instead of spending 100k+ CHF, get yourself a G80 and enjoy the luxury that Genesis supplies for a bargain.


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