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It’s not often that an automaker will toss you the keys to a new luxury sedan and say, “Have at it,” but we recently had just that opportunity with the 2021 Genesis G80. Although our short, four-hour loan had the caveat that we couldn’t actually drive it, we nonetheless learned a lot about the South Korean luxury automaker’s newest offering by becoming acquainted with the exterior’s lines and curves, then getting comfortable in the spacious front and rear seats.

Although it’s impossible to feel out a car on a two-dimensional video screen, trust us. The newest Genesis boasts excellent interior materials, lovely styling, tons of space, and a good amount of comfort, particularly given its reasonable pricing. Starting at less than $50,000 puts the G80 at an advantage over the more expensive Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, although unlike many attempts to build a cheaper car, the South Korean doesn’t feel cheap. Points to the Genesis camp for that magic trick.

We also found a lot to like styling-wise. There’s a subtle, well-defined accent line on the shoulder that adds a lot of structure to the side profile and the rear-quarter view especially. The fastback roofline seems to promise a five-door bodystyle, but the Genesis G80 is a traditional four-door. And while it is a bit more sporting than the decidedly plush G90 full-size sedan, the mid-size offering doesn’t cross over into a pastiche of overaggression.

Unfortunately, since we weren’t allowed to move the 2021 G80 around at all, we still don’t know if it will be a legitimate rival to other, more established luxury marques. But with a base powerplant that boasts 300 horsepower (224 kilowatts), more than most of its base-model competitors, the spec sheet has us hopeful. We should be able to provide a clearer picture once we actually get to drive it, hopefully by the end of the year.

Gallery: 2021 Genesis G80 First Look

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