By far, the best traits of the G70 3.3T Sport have to do with handling and driving dynamics.
There is a growing contingent of car enthusiasts out there who feel that today’s modern cars aren’t as fun as they used to be, thanks to less driving engagement and more electronic nannies raining on the parade. This rings especially true in the entry-level luxury sedan segment, where increased sales and the lowest common denominator mean that the badge and reputation carry more weight than actual performance. Enter the 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport, the latest from the automaker from Seoul who’s been making a big splash. Armed with revered designers and engineers plucked from European competitors, the G70 appears to attempt to inject some extra soul into the mix – at least on paper. We took a Mallorca Blue example out for a week of testing – and let us say right off the bat, there is some really good stuff going on here.
The 3.3T Sport is the flagship trim level for the G70, and comes equipped in any way you like, as long as that’s fully loaded. It comes in at $57,500 as-tested, and this figure happens to include any freight charges which will be about a couple grand at any other automaker. All Genesis models are sold through the Genesis At Home program, which is a full concierge service that comes to the customer’s location of choice for both sales and service. A courtesy vehicle can be left with customers during regular maintenance or warranty work appointments, and complimentary scheduled maintenance is included for five years or 100,000KM, whichever comes first. The bumper-to-bumper warranty is also in effect during this time, which is better than most cars that ring in at three years and only 60,000KM.
For your fifty-seven large, you get features such as all-wheel drive, fixed-caliper Brembo brakes at all four corners, a rear limited slip differential (a rarity with AWD!), adaptive control suspension, 19″ alloy wheels, blacked out finishes on the taillights and headlights, quilted Nappa leather seats, and a black suede headliner. LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, 16/12-way power adjustable driver/passenger seat with ventilation, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and premium Lexicon audio are also part of the standard kit with the 3.3T Sport and other lower trim levels, as well.
The current crop of semi-autonomous safety suite features are also present on the G70, and include stability control, blind spot warning with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, as well as forward collision braking with pedestrian detection. Yes, such systems are usually not needed for attentive and safe drivers, but the instances in which they intervene are more of a safety net and last resort to prevent a collision better than us mere mortals can. Thankfully, they do not negatively affect spirited driving.
As the 3.3T Sport trim level name suggests, a 3.3-litre, twin single-scroll turbocharged V6 engine sits under the hood of the top-dog G70. It pumps out a chest-thumping 365 horsepower at 6,000RPM, and is matched with 376 lb-ft. of torque between 1,300 and 4,500RPM. With such a low torque peak, and combined with the relatively high displacement offering response when off-boost, lag is kept to an absolute minimum, and the 3.3T responds to every request much more like a naturally aspirated motor. It easily beats out the driving experience of today’s relatively anemic 2.0-litre turbo fours, which tend to either need a little more coaxing to get going, or run out of breath in the upper rev range. The soundtrack of the V6 exudes confidence, even if a good chunk of the sound is artificially piped in through the speakers.
Coupled to the twin-turbo six is an eight-speed automatic designed and built in-house by parent company Hyundai, and it’s immediately apparent that they’ve done a good job at calibrating for good driving manners. Going through the gears from a stop is an extremely satisfying experience, with quick and crisp shifts that keep the torque flowing uninterrupted. Steering wheel-mounted manual shift paddles help when a specific ratio is required, but the computer does a good enough job in day to day driving without human intervention. When pushed hard, only the likes of BMW’s ZF 8HP eight-speed auto can do better, and so the Germans retain the gold standard here.
Fuel economy for the G70 3.3T Sport comes in with ratings of 13.3L/100KM in the city, and 9.5L/100KM on the highway. These aren’t exactly stellar numbers, and do lag behind the likes of the BMW 340i xDrive and Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC. Observed consumption came in at 11.9L/100KM in mixed driving; premium fuel is recommended, and tank capacity is 60 litres. The Genesis’ 1,816 kilogram (4,004 pound) curb weight isn’t doing any favours here.
By far, the best traits of the Genesis G70 3.3T Sport have to do with handling and driving dynamics. Steering, suspension, all-wheel drive rear bias, and transmission settings are configurable in a serious of driving modes, from Comfort to Sport, as well as Custom, where drivers can tweak each category as they see fit. With steering set to full weight, engine set to full loud, and suspension/transmission set to full comfort, the G70 is a daily driver and backroad carver to be reckoned with. The only oddity was a tendency for the rear end to shimmy laterally over bumps when cornering hard; hopefully this is an anomaly confined to the fact that the car tested was a pre-production model; your results may vary.
Turn-in response is impeccable with the 225 front and 255 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, and traction is aplenty with the all-wheel drive. The main party trick of the G70 is the inclusion of a proper mechanical limited-slip rear differential, which is almost unheard of in this segment when coupled to all-wheel drive. Without it, AWD cars have a tendency to understeer on corner exit when throttle is applied, making them behave more like front-wheel drive more than anything. A slip-diff combined with power biased to the rear is nothing more than a formula for great balance and performance. Big kudos to Genesis for making this call!
Inside, the G70 has a very well designed interior, with solid build quality and just enough silver painted trim to break up the dark leather and dashboard. The microsuede headliner is a neat touch, and the red contrast stitching on the quilted Nappa leather is pleasing to the eye. Buttons, dials, and knobs are an ergonomically superior and less distracting way to control things, and the G70 has just enough of them to get things done without looking busy. The attention to detail isn’t quite as good as BMW or Mercedes, but considering the interior to be cheap would be a stretch.
With seating for five, front seat occupants will have no problems with comfort, but passengers relegated to the rear may wish for a lot more legroom than is available. There’s barely enough space to put your feet under the front buckets, and rearward facing child seats might be an issue. This is a fairly universal problem with the compact entry level luxury sport sedan segment, however. One solution to this issue actually resides in the G70’s cheaper platform-mate, the Kia Stinger GT (reviewed here), which offers much of the same driving dynamics, but in a much more spacious package. The catch: it gives up the rear limited slip differential.
Technology-wise, the infotainment inside the Genesis is one of the better ones in the business, with fairly intuitive controls and simple menus. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard equipment, which is a boon for smartphone connectivity and music streaming via apps such as Spotify or iTunes. The 8-inch central touch-screen is clear and its relatively matte finish aids in preventing glare in direct sunlight. The Lexicon audio performs very admirably, with good clarity and punch, and stacks up well against premium-branded sound systems like BMW’s Harmon/Kardon.
All in all, the 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport is a wonderful entry level luxury sports sedan that comes in at thousands less than a BMW 340i xDrive or Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC. It delivers driving dynamics that are just as good, if not better, and envelops drivers and passengers in a true premium experience. The only regret here is the lack of a manual transmission option with the turbo V6 (the 2.0T Sport rear-wheel drive comes only with a six-speed manual), likely due to a low projected take rate or no available gearbox in the parts bin that will handle the torque. The powertrain is delicious, handling is greater than we’ve seen in a long time, and the bang for the buck simply cannot be beat – not even by the Japanese Infiniti Q50 or Acura TLX SH-AWD. It’s not fair to say that the relatively new Genesis marque is good, for a Genesis. They are good cars, period.