Why Genesis Chose to Build a Twin-Turbo V-6 for Its First Sports Sedan ""

By | October 16, 2017

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Nearly every luxury automaker with a performance sedan relies on the brand and model’s history to define its identity. Heritage is a priceless attribute, but the ability to break free and create something unique is even more exciting.

Enter Genesis, the au courant luxury brand from South Korea. In just a year, Genesis went from an amorphous vision statement to a marque with two distinct, praiseworthy sedans on the market. It’s not a feat that just any manufacturer could achieve.

Genesis was able to establish itself as a luxury player with a new approach, and to develop its sporty models to meet the rapidly intensifying needs of the consumer, instead of relying on its past. And for its first luxury performance sedan, the G80 Sport, Genesis decided to use a twin-turbo V-6 instead of a more traditional V-8. Here’s why.

The Genesis Performance Doctrine

From the beginning, Genesis’s engineers wanted to do things differently. They decided to capitalize on a growing movement to do less with more.

This way of thinking fomented the creation of the G80 Sport, the first product from Genesis to be tuned specifically for driver enjoyment. (It’s right there in the name: “Sport.”) In either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the G80 Sport was intended to expand the newly formed Genesis identity to include true sports sedans.

And the most expeditious way for Genesis to capitalize on its fresh start was to shake things up and put forward a 365-hp twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 as the G80 Sport’s sole engine. This engine helped put the larger G90 sedan on the map late last year.

Coulda Had a V-8—But to What End?

Installing a large V-8 for displacement’s sake could have given the G80 Sport the on-paper bona fides to compete against the set of seasoned luxury performance sedans from Europe. Bequeathing the flagship G90’s most advanced engine to the G80 lineup felt like a more respectful move.

“It represents our interpretation of a performance engine.”

According to Yuval Steiman, senior group manager for Genesis product strategy, the turbocharged V-6 was predestined for the G80 Sport. “This was always the engine envisioned for G80 Sport,” Steiman told us. “It represents our interpretation of a performance engine that provides high horsepower and torque.”

Moving to a six-cylinder biturbo strategy was a noteworthy move for Genesis, which continues to offer a 3.8-liter V-6 and a 5.0-liter V-8 as options for other G80 variants. Steiman noted that “We felt the character and lower weight of the 3.3T was more appropriate for the G80 Sport.”

Allow Us to Eat Our Words

The G80 Sport’s V-6, therefore, had the unenviable task of winning over enthusiasts who were likely more enticed by a powerful V-8. Like a skillful branch manager, Genesis took pains to ensure that nothing was lost in the downsizing. Peak torque of 375 lb-ft, for example—more than the non-Sport G80’s optional V-8—is available at 1300 rpm. Both the block and heads are aluminum, for the sake of lighter weight and durability.

Like a skillful branch manager, Genesis took pains to ensure that nothing was lost in the downsizing.

The use of two turbochargers to reduce lag, and segment-first innovations like sodium-filled exhaust valves, were installed to give the G80 Sport its core competence. The goal was for performance-sedan aficionados to hardly feel the difference between a similarly powerful V-8 and the advanced V-6.

What’s Next?

Beyond the powerful statement that the twin-turbo V-6 makes, the rest of the G80 Sport is impressive. It’s a sports sedan with the right credentials, and a positive sign for Genesis as the brand ramps up its proficiency in luxury and performance.

By product strategy guru Steiman’s reckoning, the G80 Sport is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come from sport-tuned Genesis offerings.

“Performance will always be a key pillar of the Genesis brand,” he said, “and you will see this in all our future products, which will be based on exceptional powertrains and dedicated rear-wheel-drive platforms.”

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