Relentless Pursuit, Pursued: The 2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0
The 2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate.
It takes an enormous amount of confidence for a mainstream carmaker to spin off a new luxury line.  Toyota's choice to do that with Lexus makes it look like a no-brainer, but it's wise to remember that  Nissan has not done nearly as well with Infiniti, nor has Honda with Acura.  And Mazda was thisclose to launching one, Amati, but after three years and more than $400 million in research, decided not to.

With all that to consider, Hyundai is making the move.  For 2017, Genesis is its own line of cars.

Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate
2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate.
The first of two models this year is the G80.  If it looks familiar, it's because you've seen it before, as the 2015 and 2016 Hyundai Genesis.  Follow that link and you'll find that we wrote two years ago that the Genesis was "a Lexus LS 460 competitor for loaded GS 350 money".  And that price point has actually gotten more attractive.  The 2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate we drove has everything the '15 Hyundai Genesis did, plus two options that weren't there...A first-aid kit ($45) and mud guards ($115), but still, after $950 inland freight and handling, comes in 40 bucks less than the '15...at $55,660.  It'll cost you $72,520 to put the cheapest LS 460 in your garage.

2017 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate interior
With the Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate, you won't get much past our tester's bottom line of $55,660.  There are only two more options, both low-cost:  A $100 reversible cargo tray and $55 alloy wheel locks.  So the max is $55,815. And that gets you a 420-horsepower V8, eight-speed automatic, an EPA fuel economy estimate of 15 city/23 highway and an exhaustive list of standard features including a killer 17-speaker Lexicon audio system.

If the G80's stablemate, the even-more-luxo G90, is as compelling a value proposition as this, Lexus...and possibly even Mercedes...has every reason to be concerned.