Anthony's Analysis: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard

Anthony's Analysis: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard

by  Anthony Fongaro - 07/06/2021

When I hear that a car starts at a certain price, I always wonder what those look like and who would buy them? I picture a car with a lot of plastic where buttons should be along with missing features you know you want. Other than some of these bottom-of-the-barrel being sold to rental car fleets, I never really thought of people buying low-end. This really holds true in the land of luxury vehicles. There are vehicles that if you don’t put any options on, you only get some small infotainment system with no navigation, low-rent seats, and maybe blind-spot monitoring if you’re lucky, but that’s it.

From what I wrote about above, you’ll start to see that the car I drove had, in fact, no options. My vehicle was the 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard. So not only did this G80 come in the most basic of trim, but it also was rear-wheel-drive. I was really confused why Genesis would have people drive the most basic of G80s. The only option was the paint which is not a big deal. Seeing the spec-sheet for a $48,000 base G80 made me think, what exactly do you get for this price and what would you have to pay for any alternatives?

Anthony's Analysis: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard

We start on the outside. The original G80 was nothing more than the old Hyundai Genesis sedan so it wasn’t the most interesting car. This time around, Genesis really stepped up its game. This is one of the most handsome sedans on sale today. The semi-coupe silhouette is beautiful and I like the silver stripe that goes from the bottom of the front wheel arch through the rear arch towards the bumper. The only option on the car, the $400 Uyuni white paint, looks good but isn’t my color of choice. 

Both the front and rear had slatted lights while the front has an absolutely massive grille along with some fake vents. The two stripes in the rear go towards the large GENESIS lettering. Oh, and there are also very fake vents in the rear. Walking around the G80, there’s only one thing that would show this is the lesser of other G80s: the wheels. They’re 18-inches which look way too small. It could be the design, but they’re the weak point for an otherwise beautiful exterior.

Anthony's Analysis: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard

Time to jump inside and see everything that the G80 Standard has, or doesn’t have. It’s actually nice. In fact, it’s really nice. Looking in front of you, you have controls for all of the safety systems. When I say all, I pretty much mean all. As you’ll read about later on, there are so many quality buttons and knobs that have a knurled texture that feels premium. The dials are a combination of a traditional analog speedometer along with a little display for speed, trip computer, and some other functions. Being a base model, the seats are fake leather but they still are comfortable and heated.

The dominating feature is the large 14.5-inch infotainment system and it has in-built navigation along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It works well and there are two different ways of controlling it. The touch-screen works as a touch-screen should, but there is also a knurled swivel wheel controller. That controller felt really weird to use both in its location and basic usage. Location-wise, it’s too far away. The rotary shifter, which is in front of this swivel wheel, should be swapped. The other problem is the setup for the infotainment system seems better as a touchscreen.

Anthony's Analysis: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard

Lower down, there are buttons for navigation and other setup features along with very easy-to-use climate control. I do love all the knurling that Genesis put in the G80. Even as the standard, the entire cabin mostly feels premium. The lack of a sunroof did make the ambiance suffer a little. Even though the seats were adjustable and everything is electric, you can tell these aren’t actual leather seats. The rear has a little slot at the end of the center console that’s hollowed out where climate control should be. If you only looked from the outside, you wouldn’t think this is the standard version but from the inside, you can. 

Breaking down the name, you’ll see the 2.5T and RWD. The Genesis G80 comes standard with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that makes a very healthy 300-horsepower and 311 lb-ft. This powers the rear wheels with an eight-speed automatic and scoots the G80 2.5T RWD from 0-60 MPH in 5.5 seconds. There almost isn’t any point to upgrade to the V6 since this engine has a lot of power. It did feel a little playful being RWD but that’s not the nature of the G80. It was a sedate sedan that, when you wanted to, can be put into Sport mode and becomes fun. 

The shifts are smooth and you have paddle-shifters. I’d combine the Sport mode and paddle-shifters to really enjoy the drive. Driving the inline-four is a good choice until you look for fuel economy. I only managed to average around 20 MPG, even when driving in Eco mode which dulls the throttle to where you think the car is broken. Thankfully, the safety features worked just fine. Even as standard you get blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep warning. This may not be a sports sedan but the G80 is supposed to be a balance of luxury with a peppy engine and good handling. 

Anthony's Analysis: 2021 Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard

At the end of the day, I liked the G80. I was also surprised at how much you can get from a standard Genesis midsize sedan. Looking online, German rivals are at least $5,000-$7,000 with less powerful engines and way fewer options. That said, I would never get a “standard” model. It isn’t because I’m sticking my nose at a base model but it isn’t my choice. While I’d stick with the 2.5T, I’d also get AWD because why would anyone buy the RWD sedan in Chicagoland or anywhere it snows? Instead, look at the Advanced package for an extra $4,500. This gets you a sunroof, ventilated seats, an upgraded Lexicon sound system, and a heated steering wheel. 

A Genesis G80 2.5T RWD Standard goes for around $48,000. The one I recommend is around $55,000. This being a Genesis, it undercuts the competition by thousands of dollars. Enough to get your G80 then go on a nice vacation. When a base model car can give me such a good impression, you know the upgraded features only make it better. If you’re looking for a relaxing midsize luxury sedan, your first look should be at your local Genesis(Hyundai) dealership. Just make sure it has upgraded wheels.

Note: Photos that are shown feature a higher trim level than tested.

Some Nerdalicious Stats


2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four

Power: 300-horsepower

Torque: 311 lb-ft

0-60 MPH

5.5 seconds

It feels quick enough without needing the V6.

Fuel Economy

20  MPG

Not good but this is testing in hot Chicagoland summer.


8-speed automatic

Fun to use the paddle-shifters.



Remember this is “Standard”.



I’d get it in AWD but it isn’t needed.

Verdict as a Number


Better than the Germans? Could be.