- The new Genesis GV80 is one of the only vehicles on the market with road-scanning technology designed to enhance ride comfort.
- Cameras scan the road ahead and deliver information to the adaptive suspension, which should lead to a cushier ride.
It doesn’t get much mention in the 2021 Genesis GV80’s press releases, and to most shoppers, it’s just a blip on the options sheet. But the Road Preview feature tied to the GV80’s adaptive suspension dampers is considerably more impressive than the innocuous name suggests. Road-scanning technology is the most impressive piece of suspension tech to come around since, well, adaptive dampers themselves, but it was previously only available on cars reserved for the Moët and caviar crowd. Here’s how it works — and how it’ll change your life.
What Is Road Preview?
The GV80’s Road Preview system — added automatically when you select the V6 engine — uses a camera to scan the road ahead of the SUV. It then communicates any perceived irregularities, such as potholes or speed bumps, to the adaptive dampers so they can prepare for incoming impacts or road vibrations. This allows the GV80’s suspension to be proactive rather than reactive, which should translate to a supremely comfortable ride for passengers. The GV80’s system also takes navigation information into account, which helps overcome the camera’s reduced performance in low-light conditions, such as driving in the rain or at night.
Not Unique but Unique at this Price
A similar system debuted on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Dubbed Road Surface Scan, it debuted as part of the Magic Body Control suite and was (and still is) only available on rear-wheel-drive models with at least eight cylinders. In a contemporary evaluation of a 2014 S550 with Magic Body Control, we stated, “though its suspension is driver-tunable over two ranges (Comfort and Sport), the S550’s dampers are widely variable and … are adjusted automatically based on forward-looking cameras. Ride quality is superb.” Speaking from personal experience, I barely felt the body move when traveling over a parking lot speed bump in a Magic Body Control-equipped S-Class.
Since Magic Body Control’s introduction, similar technologies have been adopted by the big Merc’s primary competition. You can now find like-minded systems in the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 flagship sedans, as well as the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS SUVs. Mercedes even introduced Road Surface Scan as part of the pricey E-Active Body Control suspension system on the GLE (one of the GV80’s primary rivals), but it appears this system is no longer available.
For now, the GV80 is the least expensive vehicle on the market with adaptive dampers that make use of road scanning. Again, the tech comes standard on the entry-level V6 model, which retails for $60,175. It’s not exactly stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but at least middle management stands to benefit.
Genesis isn’t shouting it from the rooftops, but the Road Preview feature in the new GV80 is a game-changer. It’s the first time this tech has been introduced in a relatively affordable vehicle, and it could forever change the ride-comfort expectations of luxury SUV shoppers. Stay tuned to our 2021 Genesis GV80 page for all the latest news and information on this intriguing SUV.