This compact sport sedan is the Korean luxury brand’s answer to the likes of the heavy hitters from Germany.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – It has now been about six months since we first sampled the sensational Genesis G70. The fact that it’s a value proposition goes without saying, but where things really begin to surprise is the way the G70’s overall package comes together. We traveled to sunny California to sample a configuration we don’t get here, a 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Advanced RWD. For those not in the know, Canadians can only get the G70 with the big V6 in all-wheel-drive form.
Albert Biermann, former bigwig at BMW’s M performance wing, is now heading the Hyundai group’s “N” division. While Biermann has quashed enthusiast hopes for a “N” branded G70, this car marks the first Korean vehicle we have sampled where the chassis tuning is bang on. Hustling it through the treacherous and rewarding canyon roads of southern California really emphasize just how light on its feet this car is despite its 3,800lb. weight would suggest. The G70 isn’t just a cheaper alternative to an Audi S4 (reviewed here), it’s a legitimate competitor that deserves the praise it’s getting.
Powering the newest sports sedan from Asia is a 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6 that puts out 365 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 376 lb-ft. of torque coming in at a very low 1,300RPM. This is one of the best motors currently available on the market. Our content editor Jerry Vo regularly complains about modern turbocharged engines exhibiting far too much lag for those of us who are used to natural aspiration, but this 3.3T does a great job eliminating this and ensuring response is immediate. Highway passes are no issue, and the altitude changes outside the L.A. area are where the turbocharged powertrain comes alive.
This engine is coupled to an in-house eight-speed automatic that, when left on its own for gear changes, is just fine and suits the G70’s personality quite nicely. When in manual mode with the equipped paddle shifters though, response speed isn’t as quick as we would like. It also refused to upshift on demand a few times during aggressive canyon carving, which was a bit of a complaint. The powertrain can be set to “Sport” using the built-in drive mode selector, and this setting will tune the transmission to behave a bit more aggressively.
Our “Advanced” trim level tester is the base model for the V6 engine, and unavailable in Canada. Canadian G70 Sport models (reviewed here) are equipped with the Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension (GACS), which translates to adaptive dampers. We have tested cars equipped with this suspension and it really is night and day – this vehicle with the standard suspension is just fine for daily driving and the occasional canyon run, but it falls a bit short in hardcore performance driving. That said, this setup is no less competent than the standard suspension setups from the comparable Germans.
The steering is remarkably responsive, though there isn’t much in the way of actual feedback. It’s Teutonic in nature, not unlike the Audi S4, and the car goes exactly where it’s pointed. However, where the G70 beats the S4 is in its lack of understeer tendencies. The VGR (Variable Gear Ratio) steering is adjustable with the drive mode selection, and the stability control can be fully defeated. The V6 G70 also comes standard with Brembo brakes that held up very well during our testing.
From a styling perspective, the G70 is fairly derivative. It has a handsome profile and the 19” wheels on our test vehicle look quite good. The interior is particularly attractive, with a genuinely usable infotainment system and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Materials used are excellent and the various accents around the cabin are a great touch – it’s nice to see that not every automaker is using the dust-prone piano black plastic finish. The Lexicon sound system is sensational, providing excellent clarity and reproduction of various different genres of music.
The one area we saw room for improvement is rear seat legroom. While space for front passengers is more than adequate, adults will find rear accommodations less than desirable. At six-feet tall, I was unable to fit behind my 5’6 colleague in his normal driving position. The G70 has less rear leg and foot room than any other car it competes with, and that’s a feat for a car that competes with the Lexus IS (reviewed here). Surprisingly, there is more than enough head and shoulder room in this car, very competitive with the other players in the segment.
Genesis’ V6 is buttery smooth on the road, and very powerful, but the one area it has never really met expectations is fuel consumption. The last road test I conducted of a G80 Sport (reviewed here) with this engine resulted in 14.3L/100km. The G70 is significantly lighter and rear-drive in this case, and we observed 11.5L/100km over roughly 1,000km of driving. This isn’t the worst considering all of the canyon driving and rush hour in the city of Los Angeles, and the G70 does require premium 91-octane fuel.
Canadian pricing is a bit complicated for this specific test vehicle, since it doesn’t really exist up here. The closest thing is the 3.3T Dynamic, which still comes with all-wheel-drive. It costs $52,000 including destination, and is extremely well equipped. Stepping up to the 3.3T Sport adds a limited slip differential, adaptive suspension, larger wheels, and a Sport Appearance Pack. For those who really want to attack the local track day circuit, the Sport would be a worthy upgrade, but for the vast majority of buyers, the Dynamic (or for our American readers, this Advanced) will be more than enough.
When all of the pieces are put together, it’s easy to see why the G70 was the DoubleClutch.ca Magazine Car of the Year for 2018. It isn’t without its flaws, but the strengths it offers completely outweigh the weaknesses, and this all comes together to create a car that perfectly encompasses what today’s enthusiasts want. The 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Advanced RWD is a legitimate sports sedan, and one I’m finding it hard to resist putting in my own garage as a year-round daily driver.