In life, everyone tries to make a place for themselves under the sun – but not everyone succeeds. Our duet of premium sedans under microscope today is a perfect example. Their struggles are not due to any particular lack of quality, but they are the product of very strong adversity in the shape of fearsome competition.
Entering the same arena as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi requires a great deal of preparation and, it must be said, courage. For decades, this German trio has dominated the luxury sedan segment, leaving the competition a few crumbs to make up for it. In 2018, Genesis sold 393 G80s in Canada and 438 Lincoln Continentals for the same period. Meanwhile, Mercedes is selling more than 3,500 E-Class.
2020 Genesis G80
Admittedly, Genesis’ strategy is debatable. This luxury division, named after a sedan sold by Hyundai back in 2009, has an identity that’s a bit confusing. Why would you rename a stand-alone division after a sedan that previously existed at Hyundai? Many folks, five years later, still don’t understand that the G80 is no longer a Hyundai, but a Genesis. The model, by the way, returns for 2020 with no significant changes.
Three different models
There are three models of the G80 on the road, each with a different engine. The 3.8 Technology, the 3.3T Sport and the 5.0 Ultimate. The first variant uses a 3.8L V6 engine, the second a 3.3L turbocharged V6 and the third a 5.0L V8.
One of the great qualities of Korean cars is that they offer a lot of equipment for the money. The entry-level version of the G80 comes standard with bi-xenon headlights, daytime running lights and LED lights, 18-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel with power adjustments, open-pore wood trim, a 7-inch information display in the instrument cluster, head-up display and LED lighting inside.
Safety features include driver attention, blind spot and rear crosswalk alerts, lane assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.
The model also offers a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, hands-free trunk release, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 16 and 12 power adjustments for the front seats (driver and passenger), nappa leather, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats and 9.2-inch touchscreen for navigation, as well as a 17-speaker audio system.
Upgrading to the 5.0 Ultimate adds LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, a microsuede roofline and a proximity key in the form of a map.
The 3.3T Sport model inherits a similar level of equipment, but its sport seats are adjustable in 16 positions.
Behind the wheel
The German competition can rest easy. The G8, is not a threat to the dominant Autobahn cruisers, even in its Sport incarnation. While that version benefits from a firmer suspension and more aggressive braking, the steering remains uncommunicative and the emphasis is on comfort. The perfect model to gently and pleasantly eat up long stretches of highway.
2020 Lincoln Continental
Lincoln has been trying to get its head above water for several years now. A lot of energy and a lot of money have been invested in trying to put profits back into the company’s coffers, but all the effort has not paid dividends yet. Lincoln has brought the Continental back into the family for added prestige, but whether that will be enough to get the company back on the road to profitability is another question.
Lincoln wants the car’s sleek appearance to breathe new life not only into the sedan segment, but also into Lincoln sales. But in today’s environment, Lincoln has better odds at success with its new SUVs like the Nautilus and Aviator. The sales figures for the Continental since its return only confirm that truth.
No big changes
Last year, the Continental introduced new active safety features as standard equipment such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and pre-crash assistance with pedestrian detection, which were part of last year’s list of options.
For the rest, the luxury sedan is unchanged for 2020. Under the hood, the base engine is a 2.7L turbocharged V6 (335 hp/380 lb-ft of torque), while in the premium versions there’s a 3.0L turbocharged V6 producing 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.
For fleet cars and limousines, there’s also a 3.7L 305-hp V6. All three engines come standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
You’ll find push-button transmission controls in the Signature version, which are annoying even though they allow for a more-spacious centre console. An electronically controlled suspension with active noise suppression is also standard, as are power steering-column adjustments.
Like any self-respecting luxury car, the Continental can be upgraded with options such as multi-function massage and power front and under-thigh supports. Rear-seat passengers benefit from heated and ventilation settings, as well as an optional armrest with integrated LCD screen.
Behind the wheel, there’s a definite 1970s-era big-sedan feel, in good part because of the heavy weight of the car. I have to say the 3.0L engine is up to the task at hand, offering lively and rigorous accelerations but always in very padded comfort, while the all-wheel drive does a good job.
Advantage Genesis G80
The Genesis offers a better warranty, a more-affordable starting price and a less expensive fully-equipped model. The quality of materials and workmanship is also commendable and is a notch ahead of Lincoln even if the execution is kind of dull.
Advantage Lincoln Continental
The impression of luxury is stronger in the Lincoln. The materials are more premium-feeling, and the Continental benefits from a reputation that began in the 1960s. You can’t conjure that out of thin air.
The basic and high-end engines offer similar power in each model. All-wheel drive is available on both models and in both cases the emphasis is on driving comfort. Both sedans include many standard features at a realistic price.
Here you have two models that appeal to the same clientele, those who are primarily looking for a comfortable, premium experience. For those who want more discretion in this approach, the Genesis is undoubtedly the best choice. For those who want to indulge their ego a little more, the Lincoln will please you, but you’ll pay a higher price. That’s reason enough for me to vote for the G80. It simply offers more for your dollar, ego be damned.
2020 Genesis G80
Choice of engines and all-wheel drive
Smooth on-road comportment
We like less
Dull interior presentation
Little brand recognition
2020 Lincoln Continental
Powerful engine (3.0L)
We like less
Slow and outdated transmission
High fuel consumption
|…||2020 Genesis G80||2020 Lincoln Continental|
|Transmission||8-spd auto||6-spd auto|
|Fuel consumption (city)||13.4L/100 km||14.3L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (highway)||9.4L/100 km||9.7L/100 km|
|3.3L T||2.7L T|
|Fuel consumption (city)||13.8L/100 km||14.0L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (highway)||9.7L/100 km||9.4L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (city)||15.6L/100 km||14.5L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (highway)||10.4L/100 km||9.8L/100 km|
|Output||311 hp||305 hp|
|Torque||293 lb-ft||280 lb-ft|
|Type||3.3L T||2.7L T|
|Output||365 hp||335 hp|
|Torque||376 lb-ft||380 lb-ft|
|Type||V8 5.0L||3.0L T|
|Output||420 hp||400 hp|
|Torque||383 lb-ft||400 lb-ft|
|Cargo space||433 L||473 L|
|Fuel tank||77 L||68 L|
|Length||4990 mm||5115 mm|
|Width||1890 mm||1983 mm|
|Height||1480 mm||1487 mm|
|Wheelbase||3010 mm||2994 mm|
|Warranty||5 yrs/100,000 km||4 yrs/80,000 km|
|Pricing||$58,000 to $65,000||$68,700 to $86,215|