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The Genesis G80 Is Coming Right At BMW’s Neck

But can Hyundai actually take BMW down?

Leo Shvedsky
September 22 2021
Genesis G80: Hyundai

Most people politely yet audibly scoffed when Hyundai spun off Genesis, its luxury car brand, back in 2016. Hyundai’s bid to compete with the likes of BMW and Lexus and Mercedes was seen as a sincere but ultimately misguided attempt to join the big leagues as it were. After all, BMW’s pedigree is not to be questioned, and neither are those of Lexus or Mercedes for that matter. 

So, what, if anything, could the automaker known for being the “economical” choice by those who wanted a car offer those with a more, shall we say, refined palate?

BMW M4 F82: Shutterstock

Well, the reception wasn’t exactly a standing ovation when Hyundai started releasing Genesis models under its own banner back in 2016. Sales figures amounted to a little less than 6,000 units. Compare that to the BMW 5 Series at 32,000, which the Genesis designers were benchmarking against, and you start to see the giant Sisyphean hill this car needed to climb. To be fair, that is six months’ worth of sales data for the Genesis and an entire year for the BMW. But to even extrapolate that data over a full year, the Genesis doesn’t even come close. 

It doesn’t get much better in the following years for Genesis against the BMW, though interestingly it does do better against the Lexus LS models. At similar prices to the both cars (the Lexus is a bit cheaper) the Genesis should be able to compete at least a little. But it isn’t doing that, and that is for two reasons: One, the BMW is simply more fun to drive. Two, the brand recognition can’t be beat.  

On the brand recognition side of things, there is not much we can say here that would add to what is already known on the topic. The BMW brand is plainly more prevalent than the Genesis brand. But, of course, it isn’t the name recognition alone; it is also the fact that if you’re going to charge upwards of $50,000 and above, you better be beyond recognizable. It’s kind of like if a new watchmaker came along and started charging $20k per watch - chances are that even if it is a great watch, people will still go with a Rolex.  

But things start looking a little better for the Genesis on the performance side of things. The BMW 528i offers V6 that produces 248 hp, but Genesis actually beats it out with 300 hp. That's a massive increase in horsepower for this type of vehicle.

South Korean Luxury: Shutterstock

However, we can attest to the BMW’s ease of driving, and while the Genesis is also a fun ride, Hyundai might need to put the reported $500 million which it spent on R&D where its mouth is if it wants to actually outclass the BMW. That said, we think it is close and with a few tweaks Hyundai’s David actually can strike down the Goliath that is BMW. 

Would we buy a Genesis? At $3,000 cheaper than the 528i, and with Hyundai’s legendary reliability and lower maintenance costs, we definitely wouldn’t sleep on it.



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