Tired of entry level German sports sedans on every corner?
They’re certainly selling well despite the crossover craze that’s captured most of the market. The entry level Germans however, have earned a bit of a reputation for high maintenance costs and driving dynamics that may not deliver the same levels of engagement that enthusiast drivers crave. Enter the Genesis G70, a Korean sport sedan aimed directly at those competitors, with a focus on driving dynamics that stir the soul. We spent a week with a 2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD to see how it measures up.
On the outside the G70 Sport completely looks the part of a luxury sport sedan. It’s poised, slightly aggressive, but not ostentatious. The sleek hood flows into Genesis’ signature wide-mouth grille, and heavily sculpted sides complete the look. Our tester, finished in Siberian Ice with bright red Brembo calipers and dark-chrome 19-inch wheels, looks particularly stunning.
Being a Sport model, it also features dark-chrome exterior accents, dark-finish taillights, black headlight housings and revised side skirts. It’s a good-looking sedan with fantastic proportions and the sport goodies are noticeable enough to set it apart, but not a distraction from the clean design.
The interior is also well designed with a clean layout and solid build quality. The heated and ventilated sport seats are very comfortable, yet offer plenty of bolstering for spirited driving, truly the best of both worlds. They’re wrapped in soft quilted leather with bright red contrast stitching, a theme that’s carried throughout the interior, only broken up by splashes of silver painted accents. A black micro-suede headliner is a nice touch and adds to the upscale ambiance.
The heated perforated leather wrapped steering wheel feels great, but the console mounted gear lever, which selects Reverse, Neutral or Drive, but uses a button to select park, is a bit awkward. Overall, the G70’s interior does come off as very upscale and comfortable but isn’t quite as refined and polished as you’d find in a comparable Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW.
In terms of space, which is typically not a top concern for buyers in this entry level sport sedan segment, the G70 does feel a bit tight. Front passengers have plenty of head and legroom to sprawl out, but there’s not a lot of space for items, and the centre console armrest storage bin is shallow. Rear passengers suffer as there’s barely enough legroom for adults, and mounting a rearward facing car seat requires the fronts to be pushed forward. Trunk space is average for the category, and easily handles a few suitcases or the weekly grocery run.
The Genesis favors buttons to control things over relying strictly on the eight-inch touchscreen; they’re well placed, intuitive, and control an infotainment system that’s one of the most user-friendly in the business. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard equipment, and the Lexicon stereo sounds great with plenty of punch.
The G70’s greatest asset though is the way that it drives. While lesser trim levels are available with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four, the 3.3T Sport comes powered by a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that flows power to all four wheels. It puts out an impressive 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque between 1,300 and 4,500RPM. Thanks to the low access to peak torque, and the V6’s low-end grunt when off-boost, turbo lag is essentially nil.
The result is a powerplant that feels much more confident, refined and responsive across the rev range than the smaller displacement turbocharged four cylinders on the market. Even with sound being piped in through the speakers, I couldn’t help but feel that the V6 should be a little louder to make its presence known, for such a fantastic performer it’s quite humble.
The mighty V6 is mated to an eight-speed automatic that makes a fantastic dance partner. Shifts are quick and crisp, but also non-intrusive when you’re just cruising along. Of course, there are paddle shifters, but the transmission’s programing and selectable drive modes mean that drivers rarely need to intervene. As noted, the Sport comes with all-wheel-drive, a rear biased based system and features a limited slip differential which helps to balance out the power delivery and makes powering out of corners a very satisfying experience.
Spending time behind the wheel of the G70 is likely to make you want to get reacquainted with your local back roads. The car’s quick turn-in, impressive traction, and ability to throttle steer give the G70 sport sedan credentials that deliver everything enthusiasts could expect. It offers a fantastic sense of control and connection to the road, through a chassis that wants nothing more than to keep pushing towards that next corner. The complaint from a handling perspective is that the rear end of the car does tend to get a little unsettled if there happen to be in bumps in the corner.
These true sports car like handling dynamics do come with a sacrifice. Even with the suspension in Comfort mode, it is on the harsher side for my tastes. Cars like the BMW M340i (reviewed here) and Mercedes-AMG C 43 are both softer in their regular settings. As a long distance cruiser, the G70 might get tiring, especially on the highway where the rear suspension seems to be in constant motion, never really settling.
Observed fuel economy for the G70 3.3T Sport comes in at 12.1L/100km on a week’s worth of mixed driving, right in line with the official ratings of 13.3L/100KM city and 9.5L/100KM highway. The 3.3T does recommend premium fuel. It is a touch thirsty compared to competitors like the BMW M340i xDrive, but it would take a lifetime of driving for fuel savings to make up the difference in MSRP between the two.
That brings us to the G70’s second strongest suit, the pricing. A base 2.0T Advanced starts at $43,000, and at that price omes very well equipped. From there you can move up four trim levels to top out at $52,000 for a 2.0T Prestige AWD, adding more luxuries and gadgets. The 3.3T can be had in Prestige trim for $56,000, and the Sport, like our tester, comes in at $58,000. Compare this to a BMW M340i xDrive which starts over $61,000 and tops out around $72,000, and it’s clear why this G70 3.3T Sport is such an outstanding car.
The G70 isn’t the perfect car for everyone, but for the right buyer this isn’t just a good car, it’s a fantastic car. If you want an affordable daily driver that delivers all the latest luxuries, performs like some of the best sport sedans in the world, and you don’t mind a sportier ride or need to carry rear passengers often, then the 2021 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport AWD is a slam dunk.