2018 BMW 540i vs Genesis G80 Sport Comparison

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The BMW 5 Series has been considered the standard for executive sport sedans for decades. But when something is held in such high regard, it tends to hold a higher price tag.

That can leave buyers who want a high-end experience but don’t have a high-end budget feeling left out, but that’s where Genesis steps in. This luxury brand is new on the scene and is looking to take on the established players in the segment by offering high-end luxury without the high-end price.

The products Genesis offers have fared well against premium automakers like Cadillac and Volvo, but it’s about time to see if the Korean luxury brand can stand toe-to-toe with the industry’s gold standard cars. The Genesis G80 Sport lines up almost directly to the BMW 540i, but is significantly cheaper. That’s already a point in favor of the Genesis, but it needs to provide the same drive and luxury experience as the BMW to win over prospective buyers.

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The Tried and True 5 Series

That BMW experience is refined through and through. The new-generation 5 Series is a bit less sport and much more executive, using an architecture that’s borrowed from the bigger, more luxurious 7 Series. The 5 Series also gets a lot of the luxury appointments and features that its bigger sibling is known for. 

For example, our model features soft-close doors, quilted stitched Nappa leather, four-zone automatic climate control, a fragrance dispenser, rear window shades, a heated steering wheel, and massaging front seats that can be heated and ventilated. The cabin is outfitted with ceramic-coated controls, which makes everything feel substantial and expensive. There’s also plenty of space for passengers and their cargo — it’s hard to imagine anyone feeling cramped in the cabin.

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Additionally, the tech features are borderline dizzying. The car has an available mobile hotspot, wireless charging, and USB ports for charging. Apple iPhone users can also use CarPlay wirelessly — BMW is one of the first automakers to support wireless smartphone integration.

The infotainment system and head-up display are high-resolution and filled with useful information. The iDrive infotainment system has also been updated with a more user-friendly menu options and interface, but it still takes some getting used to.

What Are All These Gizmos?

But there is also a worrying amount of gimmicky features in the BMW. For example, the infotainment system can be controlled a few too many ways. It finally features a touchscreen, which is helpful in stationary situations. But there’s also the rotary knob (like before) that has a touchpad for writing inputs, and a 3D gesture control system, which can be a bit finicky at times. The 3D gesture controls feel like a party trick to impress passengers and isn’t really that useful in the real world.

ALSO SEE: 2018 BMW 5 Series Review

Then there’s the camera system, which is useful if a bit over-engineered. A number of cameras are set up in an array to display a 3D representation of the car and the space around it. It’s useful except in most cases, I can see what’s around my car by simply looking out of the window. In this case, the car’s technology is more about wowing your friends and neighbors than being actually useful. 

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BMW Driving Dynamics

Once you start driving, though, there is no doubt that the 5 Series is an excellent luxury vehicle. Under the hood of this 540i is a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that is turbocharged to make 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a clever eight-speed automatic transmission and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. It’s clever because it can use GPS data to help select which gear to use, and when paired with the adaptive suspension system, the Adaptive drive mode can predict the road ahead and keep the car riding smoothly as a luxury car should.

The other drive modes allow the car to be sportier, comfier, or more fuel efficient by adjusting a number of parameters including shift logic, throttle response, and steering effort. The engine feels powerful, allowing this 4,000-pound car to hit highway speeds in under five seconds. And naturally, the high-tech gizmos extend to the driving aids and safety features as well. The car has a lane-keep function and adaptive cruise control to make long drives feel like a walk in the park (without the tired legs part). The camera array also helps with parking with cross traffic alerts for the front and rear of the vehicle. There’s also a blind-spot monitor and all systems help ensure the car and those around it are safe and at ease.

Compare Specs

2017 BMW 540i xDrive
vs
2017 Genesis G80 Sport
Vehicle 2017 BMW 540i xDrive Advantage 2017 Genesis G80 Sport
Engine3.0L turbo 6-cyl-3.3L turbo 6-cyl
Horsepower335Genesis365
Torque332Genesis376
Transmission8-speed-8-speed
Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)18BMW15.3
US Fuel Economy (MPG combined)23BMW20
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km combined)9.8BMW11.76
US Starting Price$52,195Genesis$42,725
US As Tested Price$77,585Genesis$58,725
CAN Starting Price$65,264Genesis$55,127
CAN As Tested Price$94,064Genesis$62,127

The New Guard

bmw-540i-vs-genesis-g80-49

Jumping into the Genesis afterward is an amazing experience. As a new kid on the block, it comes packing a lot of punch to take on the Goliaths of the industry (and the 5 Series is certainly a Goliath). Under the hood is a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 engine that makes 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Naturally, it feels much more powerful than the BMW. In fact, the whole powertrain is refined and responsive, which is a lot of what a sport sedan buyer is really looking for. The eight-speed automatic transmission has fewer drive modes than the BMW and isn’t hooked into the GPS for improved fuel economy, but it still manages to change gears smoothly and quickly.

Handling is a different story. The G80 Sport weighs in nearly 600 pounds more than the BMW, and that weight can be felt on the road. The car feels more substantial, bigger, and less playful, agile and versatile than the BMW.

Inside, the Genesis is well-appointed, although it misses the wow factor of the BMW. Instead, it has more headroom and more front legroom than the BMW. The German car beats this Korean in terms of rear seat legroom, though, and there are 18 cubic feet of storage in the trunk compared to the G80’s 15.3.

Interior up to Par

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The trim in the Genesis is noticeably upscale. The carbon fiber appointments are a fancy touch and the quality of the trim seems up to par. If you’ve been in a Hyundai recently, some of the dashboard layout and buttons may look and feel familiar, but that doesn’t seem like a huge drawback.

ALSO SEE: Hyundai’s Genesis Brand Plotting Compact Crossover

Additionally, some might love the huge sunroof in the Genesis, which helps the spacious cabin feel airier. Other features show some disparity between these two cars. The Genesis has a heated steering wheel, along with heated and vented seats, although no massage function. There’s a fancy 17-speaker sound system but no gesture control.

Like the BMW, there’s a lot of safety and driver assistance technology in the Genesis. It too has adaptive cruise control and can come to a full stop in traffic. It also has a head up display, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Functionally speaking, it does much of what the BMW does but isn’t as flashy. Calling it a simpler luxury car is appropriate, as it has everything you’d want in a high-end fully featured car, but isn’t as gimmicky as the BMW.

Huge Cost Difference

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Then again, the Genesis costs just over $55,000 for a rear-wheel-drive model and all-wheel drive versions are $2,500 more. That’s a bargain considering there are no additional trim packages or expenses. Even all the color choices are no cost. In Canada, the G80 comes fully loaded in one trim and is standard with all-wheel drive, costing $62,000 for the whole package.

The 5 Series tested had a serious issue with price bloat. With all those features, it rang in at over $70,000 in the U.S. (over $90,000 in Canada), which is a far cry from the vehicle’s starting price (as a four-cylinder model) of $52,195 ($65,264 in Canada). Outfitting this car to be its absolute best is going to hit the wallet hard.

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The Verdict: 2018 BMW 540i vs Genesis G80 Sport

On its own, the Genesis leaves a very positive impression by offering just about everything you’d want at a reasonable price. But then after driving the BMW, you’ll pick up on what true futuristic luxury and advanced technology really are and as a result, the Genesis will seem a step behind. The Genesis is significantly cheaper, so if you’re unimpressed with all the technology and features of the BMW and don’t like being nickel and dimed for everything, then the Genesis is a very good alternative.

Without a doubt, the BMW is still the high water mark for this class. It does everything and it does it well. But the Genesis can do about 85 percent of what the BMW can, and for a significant chunk of change less. It’s up to you to decide if you want to pay for the clear cut best or settle for something more reasonable.

 

BMW 540i xDrive

Genesis G80 Sport

96 Comments

State Of Days says:

Any comparison review between these two should include $20,000 in cash sitting on the passenger seat of the G80 Sport during test drives. At $58k it’s loaded with the only downside being a name and some engineering? So put the ridiculous amount of money you save on the passenger seat and properly review the two. The G80 Sport is a steal, will keep money in your pocket, turn way more heads (rarity), is bigger and puts a capital “L” in Luxury.

Trust me, your smile will only grow bigger when heads turn as you park in style, grab your shades and walk away with $20,000 cash in hand.

Reckoning Day says:

Oh look people, I own a Genesis !! ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz Hah hah hah pffffffft !

State Of Days says:

When you live in a city where luxury cars are like assholes, everyone has them & the biggest ones are Mercedes and BMW, trust me, the car stands out and I find myself talking about it more than the other aforementioned brands above I’ve owned. All 3 are great, they are all top of the class, but Genesis will always be in a battle with it’s own worse enemy, it’s past.

bd says:

Yep – BMWs and MBs are a dime a dozen in many places.

Reckoning Day says:

I prefer my Caddy.

GRUB option says:

So gay ?

Isend2C says:

I’m totally with you and would pick the Genesis, but this was seeing if it could match the best regardless of cost and it’s not there yet. It’s a superb vehicle though, and I prefer it to the ultimate sleeping machine BMW is making nowadays.

State Of Days says:

Yes, I agree. I’ve owned 2 BMWs and tbh the older ones are always more fun to drive than the newer ones. It’ll take Genesis years before they can match or better (unlikely but possible) german engineering.

I wrote this comment because while not too many reviews are out yet I do see a consistent conclusion the brand will always be fighting, it’s history. I’m not saying saving money is the only metric a car should be measured by, but it’s often an overlooked unit of measure. It usually is a bi-line comment in a reviewer’s closing statement is what I’ve read so far.

When you have a price difference in a car class that equals the price of a 2nd brand new car, that’s a notible metric. Especially when it’s the difference between most likely the #3 car in the class and the 2 above it and 2 below it. For me, as I tested the e-class, 5 series and g80 sport, I wanted the luxury, space and price in 90% of my daily drive over the occasional corner in the country; which is still pretty awesome with AWD. The g80 sport is perfect for me!

To each his own 🙂

Fred Farkle says:

u are right of course….it takes YEARS to refine the art of leaking valve cover gaskets consistently year after year, along with pan gaskets, oil stand gaskets. then you have to add in premature wear on timing chain guides, leaking valley pan gaskets, subframes which rip out front AND rear, quick wearing bushings, control arms, and on and on…yep, gotta love that precise german engineering designed to keep the service department the backbone of every dealership. After years of bmws got tired of shop bills and tried a vette….100k miles and one starter motor….yep, thats it…and i drive the hell out of it including track days. 0-60 in 3.9 with 30mpg hiway is kinda nice too.

WJ Clinton says:

Don’t forget wheel bearings and vanos!

GRUB option says:

It’s really a shame in terms of handling. Especially being the suspension was apparently tuned by Lotus who know about that department. I guess the heft of the Genesis can’t be masked too well.

AG says:

I made a different choice than you, but I don’t disagree with a thing you said. I hope you’re still enjoying your G80!

Reckoning Day says:

Genesis is heavy, made of cast iron…

GRUB option says:

You are one dumb mother fucker. Seriously ?

The Hammer says:

Totally unfair comparison. The Genesis should be compared at the most against an Acura, Infinity or a Lexus.

By comparing it to BMW, the article is justifying its high cost.

Isend2C says:

They said at the beginning that Genesis has been beating similar competitors to what you mentioned – Cadillac and Volvo. This was a comparison against the best and it’s not there yet. I’m a Hyundai fanboy and this Genesis is near the top of my dream car list, but they still have improvements to make.

Bill says:

I hope genesis never adds a fragrance dispenser

Reckoning Day says:

It would smell like poopoo caca

GRUB option says:

Just like you ?

AG says:

I agree that the Genesis is a great car, and represents a bargain in this segment. However, it and the CTS are very different approaches to the same class of car. Genesis is loaded to the gills, and has a beautiful interior. The CTS is light, athletic and has great exterior styling. With incentives, they are priced similarly. It depends on your priorities, there is is no wrong choice, only preference…

bd says:

Acura has nothing which competes in this segment.

Reckoning Day says:

Acu-who ??

GRUB option says:

You seriously are one dumb mother fucker ?

le3845 says:

I already test drove both. I’m not looking to impress anyone other than myself. The Genesis takes it and will be the next car in my garage. It will replace a 2013 Elantra GT fully equipped.

Reckoning Day says:

Yup…. ’cause you’re happy enough with only crap in your life. Ergo cheap.

Geopro says:

Obviously you’ve never driven a G80 … FAR from crap using any comparison. It’s like saying YOUR cheap for selecting a 5 series BMW and NOT the 8 series. I really want to call you an idiot Reckoning Day, but I won’t.

Reckoning Day says:

Sorry… I only own and drive a piece of shit ‘Vette piece if crap Z06. You are GOD!!! therefore and thus…

State Of Days says:

LMAO – 6 days ago it was the caddy –
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2de56ed93ebf0f77f92e9ca74c94f84e3d43ab9f29ef91b2708eebe4147041f5.png

Reckoning Day says:

I have both, you cheap boring idiot !!!

Reckoning Day says:

What….no reply there Bigshot ???

GRUB option says:

Stop. Just…stop. No you don’t ?

Reckoning Day says:

Make me.

Reckoning Day says:

Well well, gays talk like that. You finally got found out.

GRUB option says:

You’re right, a vette IS a piece of shit. And so is a caddy. Bahahahahaahaha

Reckoning Day says:

So is your mommy

GRUB option says:

spoken like a true 11 year old bahahaha

Reckoning Day says:

Spoken like true poo poo caca.

GRUB option says:

My bad. Spoken Ike a true 9 year old ?

Reckoning Day says:

Better than you, an unwanted sperm…

GRUB option says:

Spoken like someone who is VERY familiar with sperm. As you have it all over your face usually right? You really should find another profession to make money ?

Reckoning Day says:

You, should know, FAGGOT !

GRUB option says:

Don’t be distracted from the fact that you are a sperm expert!! With all the blowjobs you do to pay for your internet to conduct your trolling ?

Reckoning Day says:

You stinky poo poo barfy ‘scab sandwich’ as in.. camel shit with rabbit snot with puss all over…

GRUB option says:

Why are you telling us what you look like? ??‍♂️

Reckoning Day says:

If you just knew, idiot.

GRUB option says:

Aweee so you got caught. An eleven year old playing tough guy in his bedroom when he should be going to bed for school in the morning young lad ?

Reckoning Day says:

So is your tricycle.

GRUB option says:

what is a tricycle?! LMAO

Reckoning Day says:

Ask your Daddy.

GRUB option says:

Ok, I’ll ask him after he’s done with your mom ?

Reckoning Day says:

Good for him . My mom is dead. You and him are weird. Into necrophilia ??? …. Thought so.

GRUB option says:

That explains why you are such a douchebag.

Reckoning Day says:

Better than being the biggest pile of shit, like you though aye ??

GRUB option says:

Lol. You don’t know me bitch. Shows us how desperate you are ?

Reckoning Day says:

And then after he’s done with you, you turd tickler.

GRUB option says:

At least you are consistent with your choices. Vettes are crap ?

Reckoning Day says:

Your mother was crap, Gruby…

Reckoning Day says:

Keep telling yourself that…

GRUB option says:

Ironic. Calling out someone for driving a cheap vehicle, when you have a hard on for a Vette, the bottom feeder of sports cars ?

Reckoning Day says:

You obviously haven’t driven one. Still on a tricycle are you ?

John Griffith says:

I have owned several BMWs and a 2012 and now a 2015 Genesis. I have also owned several Mercedes and Porsches. It’s only shortcoming in comparison to the other brands is that the driving experience and handling are not quite up to the others; however, it kicks butt in two important areas: 1) Price, you get a lot more for your money and like many drivers here, we spend little time driving where the better handling would matter, and 2) Maintenance costs are practically nothing compared to the other brands where you rarely walk out without an $800 invoice for what amounts to nothing more than an inspection and oil change. I guess I should add a number 3) It runs on regular gas, not premium. Add all those saving up over a 3-5 year period and you have the money to practically buy another car. You do lose out on the twisties… but not too many of us drive those on a daily basis: not that any of those cars really compare to a real sports car or a real race car in that department.

Ian Buell says:

It’s nice to hear from someone who has owned and driven both. It’s a much more valuable opinion.

Noneya Bidness says:

It would be nice if it were true, but it’s clearly not. First of all, no one goes from”BMW, Mercedes, Porches” to a Genesis, especially the 2012 model which was light years less refined (still Hyundai branded) then the current models. On top of that, BMW has one of the most comprehensive warranties and included services, which means if you lease (which if he’s getting a new car every 3 years, he is) then you walk out paying 0 every time. I just had my brakes done at no cost. If he ever owned a BMW, he’d know that. He’s just trying to justify having a Hyundai because he can’t afford a BMW or he’s too cheap to spend the extra money That being said, Hyundai has really come a long way and if I couldn’t afford the BMW, I would snap one of the Genesis sedans in a heartbeat. But, initial test drives and comparos don’t really tell the whole story. As time goes on, the Genesis really start to show it’s inferior materials and build quality, If you’re leasing that’s no big deal but if you plan on owning and keeping one you will be disappointed.

AG says:

Wow Noneya, clearly you know “everyone” to be able to make a statement like your opening one.

Yes, BMW has included scheduled maintenance in Canada for the first 4 years. If you own a current BMW, you are aware that it no longer includes brakes (unless your dealer replaced them under WARRANTY, which is different) or other wear items. The current Canadian NC maintenance includes (from the BMW website) oil & filter, vehicle service check, and service or replacement of air, fuel and microfilters, spark plugs, and brake fluid. In the US, this has been reduced to 3 years only. BMW Canada has also made changes to the “Value Menu” pricing on brakes, which has increased the cost of a typical F&R brake service from ~$800 (one of the cheapest anywhere) to about $1300 (typical for most cars using OE parts).

Genesis Canada offers 5 years of scheduled maintenance on more or less the same thing, no wear items. I don’t believe that Mercedes offers any no-charge maintenance, you have to purchase a prepaid service plan. Mercedes maintenance costs have always been astronomical, on par with dealer-servicing my Porsches.

I don’t own a Genesis G80. When I last changed cars in summer 2016, the G80 was still sold via Hyundai dealers with no premium service which was a turn off for an expensive car, and during a test drive I found it to feel very, very heavy. Materials were quite good, and I don’t have concerns about them being less durable than current BMWs. In 2016 the 5 series was still the previous generation, and also drove heavy. The Mercedes was on the upper end of the price scale, particularly after factoring in the maintenance costs.

I ended up purchasing a Cadillac CTS 3.6 AWD (the depreciation king). There were a number of factors that drove my purchase – the drive (I feel that due to it’s class-leading weight it drives one class smaller, more like a 3-series), the exterior and interior styling (to each his own), and the price given this is primarily a winter car. I had a budget that would have allowed any of the competitors (Genesis Ultimate, BMW 535i Xdrive, Audi A6 3.0T, Mercedes E400 4Matic) but the three factors I based my purchased on weighed equally, and the CTS came out ahead.

2.5 years in I don’t regret my purchase, but if I had done it a year later the outcome MAY have been different with the new 540 and E400. I still don’t think I would have bought the G80, due to the weight.

Jay Davis says:

I have a 5 series and find the Genesis very striking. I think they did a really good job with the design–although the taillights are probably a little off, but not by much. I might try testing it out just to see how it drives.

Mike Bike says:

the slightly moronic and yet foolish nature of some of the commenters like say reckoning day leave a sort of sour feeling when compared to actual reasonable and considered information put forth by others… but then there are always some who keep standing up when it would be more advisable to shut up… the z06 and hot rod caddy are still very nice no matter the proclivities for nonsense by the owner…

Reckoning Day says:

Yep, and I have both…. YOU don’t !

GRUB option says:

No. No you don’t. You obviously have no clue how stupid you sound ?

Reckoning Day says:

I should care about how I ‘sound’ Sound???!!! ? you opine… What a clueless dick.

Michael says:

As the owner of a 2017 Genesis G80 Ultimate V8 AWD, I can say that it is an absolutely fantastic car. It is beautiful, solid, fast, luxurious and comfortable, the attributes that almost all buyers look for in a car in this class, with insurance and maintenance costs much less than other luxury brands.
I have owned Audis, Jaguars, BMW’s and MB’s for many years, but finally realized that their emblems are not nearly worth as much as these manufacturers think they are.

Reckoning Day says:

Cheap ?

Michael says:

No, Smart.

Reckoning Day says:

Smart possibly, tis debatable. But still CHEAP !

Michael says:

Still no. Just confidant enough to not need an emblem to make me feel like a better person.

Reckoning Day says:

Confidant, OK….but still boring and cheap. Not much fun at a party ??

Michael says:

You must have a tough time getting girls.

Reckoning Day says:

Nope, I married my childhood sweetheart 5 years ago. She loved my Vette Z06. And I bought her a new Caddy. And you limp dick ??

Megane says:

You proved his point.
Only guys with small hands drive Vettes.
Guess your childhood sweetheart didn’t know any better.

Reckoning Day says:

You mean big dicks…

Reckoning Day says:

Nope, big dicks.

Reckoning Day says:

Your mother doesn’t though…

Reckoning Day says:

Not as much as YOU though…

GRUB option says:

So you do have a tough time getting girls ?

Reckoning Day says:

How would you know that ? Pervert.

Reckoning Day says:

So, you have a tough time getting gays … Thought so.

GRUB option says:

Nope. Sorry buddy but that’s your problem ?

GRUB option says:

Oh the irony of someone boring criticizing something else boring ?

Reckoning Day says:

That, is a non comment….

Reckoning Day says:

Trust me, with your reputation, you need an emblem….

Reckoning Day says:

Gay…

GRUB option says:

How ironic. That you spout out cheap when you have so much desire to one day own the cheapest sports car, the corvette ?

Reckoning Day says:

I don’t desire to own one. I actually own one. And you pauper ??

Reckoning Day says:

Don’t think so…

GRUB option says:

Of course an idiot like you can’t comprehend anything ?

Reckoning Day says:

Better than an asshole like you though.

GRUB option says:

I think the million dollar question is, how reliable is it? Have you had any issues with your G80 over the past year of ownership?