2019 Genesis G70
Korean sports sedan holds its own
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- 18 Mar 2019
By James Park
About a year ago at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, yours truly had the eye-opening experience of piloting the new Genesis G70 through sweeping curves and fast corners of the famous racetrack, almost shouting to myself “Holy s**t! This thing handles better than the 3-Series.”
It was a revelation, but only half-day of test-driving does not tell the whole story. At least a week of living with the car was definitely warranted. This writer had the chance to do exactly that recently. To get right to the point, initial impression of the car still holds.
From its inception, the BMW 3-Series reigned supreme as the quintessential ‘sports sedan’ – the measuring stick with which all other pretenders are judged.
Unfortunately, the 3-Series had been falling behind in this regard for the last few years and all those involved in its development would’ve been miffed – to say the least – to read all the reviews raving about the G70’s handling prowess as compared to their vaunted product. (The new 3-Series has arrived and from the initial hype, it seems to have its mojo back.)
But for Genesis, officially launched only couple of years ago as the luxury division of Hyundai, its product being mentioned in the same breath as the 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 can only be a massive confidence booster.
Is the G70 that good? The short answer is yes.
One arguable shortcoming would be the car’s relatively anonymous exterior styling. Make no mistake – the G70 is a handsome car with classic sports sedan proportion of long hood, short rear-deck and aggressive stance. However, it lacks that ‘brand identifying feature’ like the double-kidney grill or the Hofmeister kink of BMW. Such brand recognition can only be established with time and Genesis has ways to go in this regard.
On the other hand, step inside the G70 to find elegantly simple but sumptuous interior with top quality materials, excellent fit and finish and all the technology demanded for this category and more.
Overall layout is clean and unlike many other higher-end vehicles, the G70 does not overwhelm its occupants with airplane-cockpit like buttons and switch-gear that take college seminar to get used to. The easy to use touch-screen interface, the volume dial, as well as big knobs for HVAC system are greatly appreciated.
The heated and cooled leather seats are all-day comfortable and supportive and in the top-of-the-line 3.3 Sport model, the lateral support automatically firms up or relaxes with the chosen drive mode.
The base model comes with two-litre turbo four that pumps out 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Nothing to shout hallelujah about but the fact that you can get this engine with six-speed manual and rear-drive is something that’ll warm the hearts of enthusiasts everywhere. All other iterations are equipped with eight-speed automatic and the AWD system biased towards rear wheels.
The optional 3.3 litre twin-turbo V6 is rated at maximum 365 horses and 376 lb-ft of twist that can propel the car to 100 kph in less than 5 seconds. The top-of-the-line Sport model also gets adaptive suspension that dials in optimum balance for the road condition at hand. Simply put, the G70 handles like a sports car without sacrificing the ride of a luxury sedan.
The hefty leather-wrapped steering wheel is nicely weighted and balanced. It comes with paddle-shifters that hold the revs till the driver makes the shift. The system is not as fast as say the Porche’s PDK. On the whole, it’s probably better to just leave the transmission to shift itself.
Several drive modes include Sport, which firms up the suspension and steering wheel, tells the tranny to hold each gear longer and alters the fuel-mapping for more spirited driving. In Custom mode, the driver can manipulate each setting to his or her individual preference.
The G70 also comes with army of electronic nannies, including pedestrian and bicycle detection. Both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are supported and the Genesis Connected system lets owners use smart-phones to remotely locate and start the car, pre-heat or cool the cabin, ask for help in emergencies and so on. The system also alerts the owner for scheduled maintenance.
By now, Canadian consumers would’ve heard of Genesis’ way of doing business. Customers can purchase vehicles online and they are delivered to their doors. If the car needs to be serviced, a Genesis rep will come to the owner’s house to pick it up and leave a loaner in its place.
In case of the G70, $42,000 base price includes all the mandatory fees: only the taxes are added. The 3.3 Sport is also very reasonably priced at $57,500. In value, the G70 beats its Teutonic rivals hands down.
What it does not have is the already mentioned brand recognition. Someone dead-set at getting a Mercedes will not change his or her mind quite easily, even if that Mercedes badge alone costs 20,000 to 30,0000 or more loonies.
However, if you are a person who doesn’t care about such superficiality, the G70 could very well be a car for you. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2019 Genesis G70 3.3 Sport
Engine: 3.3 litre twin-turbo V6
Power: 365 hp/376 lb-ft
Transmission: 8 spd auto
Fuel: 12.8 litres per 100km (city), 8.5 litres (highway)
Best: value, power, handling, simple and elegant interior
Worst: name-recognition, anonymous exterior
Competition: BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Lexus IS
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