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Are you wondering why your $55,000 Genesis GV80 looks like a $180,000 Bentley Bentayga SUV? Hyundai, which owns Genesis, stepped up its styling game when it launched the Genesis brand. Hyundai bases the cars and SUVs from Genesis on Hyundai or Kia cars and SUVs, but their styling is something else. Why? Because Hyundai hired former Bentley designers.

SangYup Lee, head of design at Hyundai, came from Bentley.
SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai & Genesis Design and Senior Vice President at Hyundai Motor Company designed the GenesisGV80. | Thomas Lohnes, Getty Images

In 2016 Hyundai hired SangYup Lee, the former head of Exterior and Advanced Design at Bentley, as the company’s Vice President of Styling at Hyundai Design Center. Lee was in charge of the design of uber-exclusive Bentleys and the Genesis GV80. Lee was hired to work with Luc Donckerwolke at Hyundai, who was the design director at Volkswagen Group, which owns Bentley. So, it’s not surprising that the two’s first major SUV project has echoes of the Bentley SUV in it.

Donckerwolke is credited for designing the GV80 and the G80 and G90 sedans.

Bentley, Genesis and Chevy, what cars did SangYup Lee design?

While the SUVs he’s worked on have become huge successes, Lee began his career at sports car design firm Pininfarina and Porsche Design Center. In 1999 he moved to General Motors where he designed the Camaro Concept Vehicle which became the Bumblee Transformer in the movie series and the Corvette Stingray Concept Vehicle, according to Hyundai.

“The innovative design and surprising growth of Hyundai Motor has always made me proud as a Korean while I worked overseas. Now, I want to contribute in creating world-leading automobile designs for both Hyundai Motor and the Genesis brand,” Lee said in a Hyundai news release.

Is the Genesis a Bentley?

The Genesis is not a Bentley, since Genesis is owned by Hyundai. But the two SUVs certainly have a lot of the same design elements. Start at the large egg-crate grilles, and there are certainly similarities in the interior, too. Both SUVs also have similar proportions, and squat rear fenders that add a bit of a muscle car feel to the design. A lot of other styling cues on the GV80 say “Bentley,” too, like the rear end styling and even the slope of the roof.

How much does a fully-loaded GV80 cost?

A fully-loaded Genesis GV80 is not inexpensive, but it’s certainly not Bentley money. The 300-horsepower GV80 starts at $55,550, but the 375-horsepower version raises that to $62,700. The Advanced+ model starts at $70,600 and seats seven, with remote parking assist and heated second-row seats. The Advanced+ comes with several options like navigation, a wireless charger, collision avoidance assist, and more, however, you can pick your leather color and add some extra trim pieces. It’s getting an update for 2023, too.

Still, that’s a lot less than the $260,000 you’ll pay for a loaded Bentley Bentayga Speed. The Bentayga has gained prominence as one of the most exclusive SUVs you can buy.

Lee will work on future Hyundai cars


5 Reasons to Buy the 2022 Genesis GV80 Before the 2023 Comes Out

Lee designed the N Vision 74 concept couple that looks perfectly 1970s retro-futuristic. The 1970s Hyundai Pony Coupe from the design firm of Giorgetto Giugiaro inspired the N Vision 74 coupe. The N Vision 74 was built around Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel cell hybrid battery-electric combination drive and uses clever torque vectoring of the rear electric motors. Lee also worked on the RN22e high-performance EV concept.