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The Genesis name takes on a new meaning now.

The Genesis G80 (nee Hyundai Genesis) was the car that launched a luxury flagship for Hyundai and will now chart a new

course for the nascent brand.

It's a good foot to stand on. We gave the 2017 Genesis G80 an 8.3 overall score, with room to improve in fuel economy and styling. The G80 aced our safety and features ratings, and that's before we consider its value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Styling and performance

The G80's overall style is nearing a crossroads. Audi influence is immediate up front; BMW's style along the side is apparent too, but the G80 is starting to make waves on its own front with a crisp character line and an softer take from the rear that's more true to its mission.

Inside, the G80 doesn't excite many with so many horizontal lines, and the center time piece doesn't feel quite in character—at least not yet.

Under the hood, a stout V-6 and big V-8 are available—both mated to an 8-speed automatic—and all-wheel drive available only on the smaller engine. That's OK, the V-6 is our pick anyway thanks to its 311 horsepower and relative light weight compared to the V-8. The 420-hp makes good noises, and unlocks the biggest wheel option, but its nose-heavy character and mild acceleration bump makes it entirely extra credit—and the G80 doesn't need better grades anyhow.

Lotus engineering helped sort the rear-drive, V-6 model and it shows. An excellent composure and ride falls down on spirited canyon runs, which we don't guess many G80 owners will make.

Quality, safety, and features

The G80 may be down a little on space compared to some, but its efficient packaging and use of space makes it comfortable for four adults all the time. We'd prefer a little more trunk space and split-folding rear seats, but that has spoiled the excellent ride in the past. When we're looking closely, the Genesis lacks some of the polish found on other luxury sedans, but it's really only here—in the minor stuff—that the G80 shows its budget bottom line.

Overall, the cabin is isolated from noise and vibration, and it stands up to sedans that cost tens of thousands more, which begs the question: How much do you really want to pay for a badge?

The G80 aced federal and IIHS testing—and it aced ours. Active safety features are standard this year, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control.

Luxury options have been trimmed this year, only because the G80 comes so handsomely equipped. Base models get active safety and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for its infotainment system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, leather upholstery, Hyundai telematics, power adjustable and heated front seats, hands-free trunk opening, and keyless ignition.

Add-ons include a premium (and even more premium) stereo, sunroof, ventilated seats and softer hides. Frustratingly, so is a rearview camera. (There's the wart.)

Spending so much money on the inside hasn't left much for fuel saving tech underneath. The G80 features direct injection to help save fuel—and that's about it. No hybrid or alternative powertrain yet, so it has room to improve on our fuel economy scale. The most popular model will hover around 22 mpg, according to our drives and EPA figures.

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