Tag: Luxury

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Punching above its weight class is always a way to be noticed. Think of the slight schoolyard kid who packs a wallop when confronted by the playground bully. That’s a perfect analogy to the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport.

Now in its second year of production, you may have remembered a previous version known as the Hyundai Genesis. At the time, it was part of a high-zoot tag team partnership with the Hyundai Equus. Both were good, but with the breakneck speed of advancements the brand, and the industry seemingly make, they were quickly surpassed both on the outside and within. In that sense, this new luxury spinoff from Hyundai is punching above, and actually landing a few blows along the way.

Muscle-bound.

Exhibit A: The G80 Sport sedan. It’s a muscular four-door that admittedly shouldn’t show up for track days at your local racecar country club and day spa, but does manage to transport its occupants in luxury, while managing to not squeeze its owner’s bottom line. Oh, and did we mention its 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty?

Genesis G80 Sport
Genesis G80 Sport

Clearly the best value in midsize luxury cars today, it competes against the Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, and BMW 5-series. It is loaded with nearly everything a salaryman could hope for as he climbs the corporate ladder. The 3.3-liter twin turbocharged V6 is a direct injection powerhouse that makes 365 horsepower and a genuine 376 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to Hyundai’s eight-speed automatic transmission that does everything asked of it, even if the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are a little on the smallish side. Zero-to-60 mph times come on in 5.3-seconds for this somewhat heavy (4,519-pounds) lead sled, but it still imparts a sense of power by way of the growl that comes on while added pressure is loaded on the skinny pedal. Quiet isolation is this sedan’s strong suit.

In the oft chance that you don’t speak turbo, the G80 can be equipped with either a 420 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 or a 311 horsepower 3.8-liter V6.

The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport includes nearly every item on the Genesis options list except for the available winter-oriented AWD system, which comes with a heated steering wheel and a $2,500 price tag. A huge standard panoramic sunroof lets enough UV light in to insure your dermatologist is able to send all four of his children to college. One thing we would love to see in the Genesis lineup is an alignment with a major watchmaker for an added sense of caché. Mercedes-Benz dances with IWC. Bentley rides with Breitling. Ferrari shuffles with Panerai. It goes a long way to help boost a car’s bonafides, especially in this luxury segment, where attention to detail is everything.

Genesis G80 Sport
Genesis G80 Sport

The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is a real charmer, but it’s not without a few minor quibbles. We found at various times the volume on the stellar Lexicon (by Harman) audio system with Clari-Fi would creep up prompting us to reach towards the centerstack for a quick readjustment. Soon we discovered we were riding along with the air conditioning blowing a balmy 85-degrees. That’s’ a result of Genesis designers placing the climate control dials where the volume and tuning knobs of the audio system are traditionally located.

Genesis G80 Sport
Genesis G80 Sport

Secondly, and this might be a bit more subjective, and perhaps a result of not being gifted with an adequately padded gluteus, but to our bottoms, the Genesis interior designers apparently received their degrees from the Major League Baseball College of Seating Design. The seat cushions in the Genesis are as hard as a bench in the dugouts of Chicago’s Wrigley Field (Home of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs).

But does it go?
Power from the 3.3T spooled up rather quickly, putting out almost V8 power with the mileage of something you would expect in a Hyundai Accent. Not really, but you get our drift. While the Comfort settings did the job for the most part, we found the Sport gate to be much more engaging on backroads where we had a chance to see this Genesis unwind. When you hit the Drive Dynamics button to go from Eco to Comfort to Sport, things firm up in the steering and throttle departments. The suspension, whether it actually does or not, felt like it firmed up, too.

Critics commented how audacious it was that a South Korean econo-car company felt like it was time to compete with the big boys. Along the way, there have been fits and starts but they seemed to get fixed quickly as the Genesis brand does not seem content to work things out over the long term.

We find their rate of progress to be part of a plan that includes punching above that weight class, and making a name for themselves in relatively short order. With the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport, they are on a fast track.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2018 Genesis G80 Sport
Base MSRP: $55,250 As tested: $56,225.
Includes: Destination fee, $975.

Key Specs
Cylinders: V6
Displacement: 3.3-liters
Power: 365 hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
Fuel System: Direct Injection
Fuel: Premium
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds
Drive Type Rear Wheel Drive
Gearbox: 8-Speed Shiftronic Automatic Transmission
Tire Size: 245/40R19 F 275/35/19 R
Unladen Weight: 4,519-pounds
Length: 196.5-inches
Width: 74.4-inches
Height: 58.3-inches
Wheelbase: 118.5-inches
Cargo Volume: 15.3 cubic feet
Cd: 0.27
City: 17
Highway: 24
Combined: 20

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”34″ gal_title=”2018 Genesis G80 Sport”]

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label

Testing a Lincoln with a Concierge.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

 Inside the 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD, a driver and passengers will feel as though they are being well coddled with an abundance of creature comforts that do their part to make them feel as though they really belong.

Really.

Since it’s not the flagship of the line, the MKZ can coast a little bit, as far as the heavy lifting is concerned. That’s all better left for its Lincoln Continental big brother. Still, Lincoln saw fit to upgrade the MKZ’s grillwork to bring it in line with the Conti’s front opening. Now in its second generation, the MKZ has been on the market for around four years. It is built in Hermosillo, Mexico, using the Ford CD4 platform, which it shares with the Ford Fusion in North America, and the Ford Mondeo in other markets around the world.

Think of it as someone wearing a dark suit to a black tie optional dinner party. You will still not feel underdressed.

The 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T is available in four trim levels ranging from base Premiere, mid-level Select, high-zoot Reserve and ultra-luxe Black Label versions. Power comes in three flavors, starting with a standard 2.0-liter, 245-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. Next up is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas/electric hybrid combination, with 188-horsepower, that the EPA says is good for 40 mpg combined.

Finally, a twin-turbocharged aluminum-blocked 3.0-liter V6 is on offer that can be had with 350-horsepower (FWD) or 400-horsepower (AWD) depending on your drive configuration. In the case of our AWD version, the EPA says to expect 20 mpg. We’d say they are about right. All are coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Plenty quick, the twin-turbo V6, which shares parentage with the Ford 2.7-liter V6, is good for a zero to 60 romp in 4.8-seconds.

Black Label.

Of the four trim levels, our Black Label version shares trim found in the top-shelf Reserve version, including a 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system and an upgraded leather interior that includes heated and ventilated front seats, with massage, FTW (!). Above our heads was a faux suede headliner. It also includes mobile showroom, remote vehicle delivery, pickup and drop off of your car when servicing is required and an extended premium service plan. Our Black Label was equipped with 19-inch Michelin Primacy radials, but truth be told, we think the overall look of the MKZ deserved a set of 20-inch tires, at least, to fill out the wheel wells.

Lincoln’s Sync 3 connectivity system has been revised to offer traditional buttons and dials rather than the rather awkward touch-sensitive systems of the past. The new voice activated navigation system offers pinch-to-zoom and swipe functions for more responsive control.

The multi-contour seating had us in a comfortable spot for the long haul. The only thing that seemed to disturb us was the merlot-based interior hue that seemed a bit out of place. Perhaps a case of Maranello tan would be more appropriate, at least in the case of our pearlized white metallic exterior finish was concerned.

The rear seat was comfortable enough for three passengers of the not-so-large persuasion, although we did hear of some discomfort from our middle passenger. Perhaps it was because of the armrest / ski pass-through as a backrest feature, or the performance Michelin tires that skinned our 19-inch alloy wheels. And besides, is the ski pass-through really necessary? From a practical standpoint, the MKZ is most likely the last car we would expect to find on the slopes near Vail and Jackson Hole.

We do think, however that the slab-sidedness of the MKZ is like a visiting relative, in the sense that it is just on the verge of overstaying its welcome.

Drive time.

We found the MKZ’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo pulled like a bat out of hell, quickly dispensing with most challengers during stoplight flash bang excursions. Ride quality was generally good, but there was a distinct drone that seemed to come from the tires that caused a louder than normal hum to appear. Road surfaces seemed to embellish it further, with it simply disappearing on pristine surfaces.

Handling was as though the MKZ was substantially lighter than the scale would have you believe. Our vectored AWD system even managed to shorten the turning radius when rounding a corner at a higher than average speed. It’s here that we found our driving nirvana. Compared to an Acura TLX, and Lexus ES350, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label is definitely in the hunt.

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD

Base MSRP: $49,560. As tested: $61,765.

Includes: 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6, $4,000; Panoramic Roof, $1,795; Technology Package, $2,395; Climate Package, $695; Destination, $925.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”15″ gal_title=”2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD”]