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Are you wondering why your $55,000 Genesis GV80 looks like a $180,000 Bentley Bentayga SUV? It’s no coincidence, as Genesis made some key hires after splitting off from Hyundai. In addition to BMW dynamics experts and Lamborghini marketing executives, Genesis also hired a former Bentley designer to help its line of luxury cars stand out.

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 Bentley vehicles before coming on to design 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 pair’s first combined effort draws inspiration from the Bentley SUV. Meanwhile, Donckerwolke himself 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?

Despite similar appearances, Bentley and Genesis come from different parent companies. 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 cheap, but it’s nowhere near the price of the Bentayga. 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. Moreover, 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 exclusive $260,000 price tag in the window of a loaded Bentley Bentayga Speed.

Lee will work on future Hyundai and Genesis cars

In addition to the Genesis GV80, Lee designed the retro-styled N Vision 74 concept. That look calls back to the Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Hyundai Pony. Furthermore, Lee also worked on the RN22e high-performance EV concept and carries on with the Hyundai group designing both Hyundai and Genesis models.


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