Coming in nearly $8,000 lower, the 2021 Genesis G80 takes on the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Both offer luxury, technology, and sporty handling. Here’s how they compare.
Above average: Available all-wheel drive; plenty of driver assists; unique looks; powerful twin-turbo V6; optional adaptive suspension.
Below average: No V8 or hybrid option; lacks brand cachet of competitors; small trunk.
Consensus: A sharp-looking and distinctive midsize sedan, the 2021 Genesis G80 offers comfort, style, and luxury at a very competitive price. The base turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides plenty of power, and a 3.5-liter V6 upgrade takes it to another level. The G80 comes generously equipped, with plenty of standard equipment including driver-assist and safety features.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class starting price: $55,300
Above average: Huge range of body styles, including coupe, sedan, cabriolet, and wagon; engine choice; holds its value well.
Below average: Expensive; tight rear quarters; all-wheel drive not available on all models.
Consensus: With body styles ranging from coupe to sedan and convertible to wagon, combined with a large choice of engines, there’s a 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class for nearly everyone. Not surprisingly, they start expensive and only get more so, and the rear seat’s a little snug.
G80 vs. E-Class: Class and performance
Having gone through a comprehensive redesign for this year, the 2021 Genesis G80 is a striking midsize sport luxury sedan that offers a whole lot at a very competitive price. The base engine is a 300-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, with a 3.5-liter V6 as an upgrade. Gone is last year’s optional V8.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option for more sure-footedness in snow. Despite its size and generous interior, the G80 handles itself well, and there’s even an optional sport suspension that uses cameras to read the road surface and adjust accordingly.
Inside, there are comfortable and supportive seats, plenty of space for rear passengers, and a 14.5-inch infotainment screen operated by a console-mounted dial. Navigation and Apple
CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility come standard.
Safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance. Not only does the G80 start thousands below its German competitors, but it also offers a best-in-class 10-year/100,000-mile warranty. Genesis still doesn’t have the name brand of its competitors, and there’s no available hybrid option.
As mentioned above, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes in a range of body styles, including coupe, cabriolet, and wagon. For the purposes of this comparison, we are going to focus on the sedan.
Built with the exceptional quality and attention to detail expected from Mercedes, the 2021 E-Class combines elegance with performance. The base sedan (E350) gets its power from a turbocharged 4-cylinder, using a 9-speed automatic to send that power to either the rear or all wheels. It’s smooth, but what really gets our heart pumping is the silky turbocharged 6-cylinder in the E450, which also includes a mild hybrid system to make more power.
If you’re truly bonkers, there are two AMG variants, but these are nearly in a class by themselves, with either 429 or a rather absurd 603 horsepower. They also start in the $70,000 range and head into six figures.
Inside, the cabin includes such things as standard heated power-adjustable seats, a navigation system, and the MBUX interface, operated by either a touchscreen, touchpad, or buttons on the steering wheel. It also operates by voice control. This 12.3-inch screen combines with the 12.3-inch screen for the instrument cluster, both of which have numerous programming options.
Speaking of options, they are nearly endless and include an air suspension, massaging seats, a surround-view camera, panoramic sunroof, and a Burmester surround-sound audio system. There are also a number of optional active safety and driver-assist systems.
Base mpg; trunk size; sporty handling.
2021 Genesis G80 advantages
Much lower starting price; base power; longer warranty; striking looks.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class advantages
Brand cachet; luxury touches; numerous body styles; absurd AMG variants.
Given that the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class starts nearly $8,000 higher than the 2021 Genesis G80, the question seems to be whether it’s worth the extra money. Largely, that depends on what the buyer can afford and how much the cachet of a 3-pointed star means. Still, the 2021 Genesis G80 is comfortable, luxurious, a bit roomier, and great to drive, with a much lower price and a longer warranty. If you’re just looking for a top-notch midsize luxury sport sedan, go with the G80.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.