2019 Genesis G70: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Model
Hyundai spun off its Genesis line a few years ago, and now the new luxury brand is adding a third sedan to its lineup. The G80 and G90 are designed around comfort and luxury, whereas the new G70 offers a sportier option. Available with two potent powertrains as well as rear- or all-wheel drive, the stylish G70 competes against such stalwarts as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Although pricing has not been released, the estimated range of mid-$30s to around $50,000 should make the G70 quite competitive in the luxury sport sedan segment.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceImportant to the Brand
“The G70’s U.S. debut is a very important milestone for Genesis,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, global head of the Genesis brand. “The G70 is all about the driver’s experience. We look forward to how our youngest and most dynamic sedan will connect with our clientele through refined performance and athletic elegant design,” Fitzgerald noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
Genesis offers the G70 in five trims: Advanced, Elite, Prestige, Dynamic and Sport. All trims come with rear-wheel drive standard, but they can be equipped with the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system. The one exception is the manual-transmission variant; it is available exclusively with rear-wheel drive. The trim name does not appear anywhere on the vehicle — the badges reveal which engine is under the hood and if the car is equipped with HTRAC all-wheel drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSafety
Genesis also offers the G70 with the latest advanced safety tech as standard equipment across the board. This includes forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane-keep assist, blind-spot collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, high-beam assist and driver attention warning.

© GenesisGenesis G70 Advanced
Even though the Advanced exists as the entry-level trim of the G70, it still comes well equipped. Standard features on the Advanced 2.0T include power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, pushbutton start, an 8-inch color touchscreen display, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay connectivity, HD radio, 18-inch wheels and a rearview camera. The Advanced 3.3T adds a limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, sport-tuned suspension, dual exhaust, alloy pedals, full LED headlights, heated and cooled leather seats, GPS navigation and a Lexicon 15-speaker audio system.

© GenesisGenesis G70 Elite
The Elite is a step up from the Advanced, adding full LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated and cooled front seats, leather trim, a sunroof, GPS navigation and the 15-speaker Lexicon audio system. The Elite 3.3T also gets wireless phone charging.

© GenesisGenesis G70 Prestige
Possessing even more niceties than the Elite, the G70 Prestige adds heated rear seats, Nappa quilted leather seats, a power driver’s seat cushion extension, head-up display, surround-view monitor and power lumbar adjustment for the front passenger.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGenesis G70 Dynamic
Designed with added performance in mind, the G70 Dynamic gets a limited-slip rear differential on rear-drive versions, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGenesis G70 Sport
The most performance-oriented trim in the G70 lineup, the Sport gets a dark-chrome grille, copper headlight bezel accents, dark-tinted taillights, alloy pedals and sport quilting on Nappa leather seats, with a choice of red or gray contrast stitching. The Sport 3.3T also gets an electronically-controlled suspension.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceG70 Manual
The Sport is also the only G70 available with a manual transmission. This variant also gets a sport-tuned exhaust, a multi-plate limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes and a manual parking brake.

© GenesisSpecial Editions
At launch the G70 will be available in two limited editions: the Dynamic Edition and Design Edition. Both are based on the G70 Sport 3.3T, and can be configured with rear- or all-wheel drive. The Dynamic Edition comes in Havana Red with a black interior, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, performance brake pads and a unique key cover; while the Design Edition is painted Black Forest Green and features a cream-colored interior, embossed Genesis winged logo in the head restraints and a contrasting dark-green upper instrument panel. Both Dynamic and Design Editions will be limited to 400 copies each.

© GenesisInner Space
Inside, G70 designers created a nice mixture of luxury amenities with driver focus. Front seats are comfortable and supportive no matter the trim level chosen. That said, the available diamond-pattern Nappa leather seats give the G70 a more upscale feel. Multiple adjustments mean discovering the optimum seating position is a breeze.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDriver Oriented
Part of the G70’s driver focus stems from the orientation of the center stack instruments and controls, which are angled slightly toward the left — not enough to hinder access for the passenger, but enough to give a driver the feeling of sitting in a cockpit. The switch that changes the drive mode sits prominently in the center console, again making things driver-focused.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceEasy to Use
The touchscreen display is large and clear, and the navigation system is easy to use. Hard buttons for items such as the radio, phone and media make access much simpler; volume and tuner knobs are handy. Climate controls also are hard knobs and buttons, eliminating the need to dig through menus to change temperature, operate heated or cooled seats, or change airflow.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRoom for Stuff
The new G70 has plenty of storage space up front, with room for multiple mobile devices below the climate controls. A USB port is located in this cubby, as well as an available wireless charging pad. An additional USB port resides in the larger center console.

© GenesisAudio System
We usually don’t call out an audio system, but the Lexicon 15-speaker audio in the G70 creates some of the best sound we’ve experienced. We could hear multiple instrument audio coming from all corners of the interior, creating an impressive aural experience.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
The rear seats of the G70 are a bit cramped — an average-height passenger will find legroom a bit tight. Although technically the G70 has seating for five, the middle seat would not be a sought-after position — the transmission hump in the floor combined with the raised middle-seat cushion is less than ideal.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrunk Space
Cargo space in the G70 trunk is quite expansive — easily fitting multiple pieces of luggage or other belongings. Supports for the trunk lid disappear into the bodywork, so there’s no danger of crushing items in the trunk.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
Genesis offers the G70 with a choice of two powerplants. The base kicker is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque at a low 1400 rpm for excellent response. Power is directed to the rear or all four wheels with the optional HTRAC all-wheel drive system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTwin-Turbo V6
For drivers seeking more impressive performance, a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine generates a plentiful 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque at a mere 1300 rpm.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceManual Transmission
In an unusual move, Genesis makes the G70 available with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The manual is only available with the 2.0T engine and rear-wheel drive. In the past a manual transmission was the best choice for optimum fuel economy — not the case anymore. The G70 with the manual gearbox is rated at 18 mpg city / 28 mpg hwy / 22 mpg combined — a bit less efficient than the automatic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Economy
For the rest of the G70 lineup, either engine gets teamed with an 8-speed electronic automatic transmission that features manual mode with paddle shifters. Unlike many other vehicles, once the G70’s paddle shifter is activated, the car stays in manual mode until the driver selects to return to automatic. Fuel economy for the 2.0T is 22 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy / 25 mpg combined. The twin-turbo V6 gets 18 city / 26 hwy / 21 combined. Numbers are slightly lower with all-wheel drive.

© GenesisOn the Road
Genesis provided us the opportunity to test the new G70 on roads around Portland, Maine, as well as at Club Motorsports in Tamworth, New Hampshire. We started out with the 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 and were immediately impressed by the power and responsiveness. Acceleration from a stop pins occupants back in their seats, accompanied by earfuls of pleasing exhaust notes.

© GenesisTwisty Roads
On winding roads leading to the track in New Hampshire, the G70 was well composed with precise steering and an overall solid feel. At higher speeds there is a bit of road and wind noise, but in most situations the G70 carries occupants in quiet comfort. Except when we were blasting that Lexicon audio system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSurprising Fuel Economy
During our drive to the track we weren’t terribly light on the throttle, so we were surprised after a few hours of driving to see the trip computer indicating 27 mpg — exceeding the EPA rating.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn Track
Once at the track we were able to push the G70 and found the big sedan quite capable. Not a light vehicle, the G70 tends to understeer when going into corners a bit too hot, but grip quickly gets re-established, especially when driving the all-wheel drive variants. As one might guess, the all-wheel drivers feel more stable; even when sliding from an apex in mid-corner, the G70 feels completely in control.

© GenesisPushing the Limits
We also had the opportunity to test the G70’s limits on an autocross course. Unlike many vehicles in its class, the G70 can be easily rid of its “nanny controls” — turning off all stability and traction control systems so that it’s up to the driver to keep the car on track. And even though this is a relatively large sedan, it is possible to toss it around a race course with complete control. The G70 feels stable and balanced — and an absolute blast to drive.

© GenesisDrift Mode
During our press event, Genesis reps wisely kept journalists from testing the all-wheel-drive G70’s drift mode. This mode initially sends all the power to the rear wheels; however, it will drive the front wheels as needed to keep the car in the drift. Sounds like a great time — it is unfortunate that most G70 buyers will probably never attempt this.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceG70 2.0T
In addition to testing out the 3.3T on the course, we took a stint in the 2.0T with the manual transmission. It doesn’t quite have the power of the 3.3T, but it is about 200 pounds lighter, making it a bit more agile in turns. That said, we did miss the tire-smoking abilities of the larger engine.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdequate Power
Aside from its stint on the track, the 2.0T offers more than adequate performance, and while the smaller engine doesn’t have the acceleration of the V6, the manual gearbox makes for an engaging driving experience.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
Similar to parent company Hyundai, Genesis is building a reputation for creating high-quality vehicles with extensive feature lists at prices considerably lower than the competition. Although G70 final pricing has not been released, it should undercut the competition by several thousand dollars. At the same time, buyers get an fun-to-drive, attractive sedan with a luxurious interior, as well as all the amenities and performance expected of a vehicle in this segment. The G70 will certainly shake up the market and is certainly worth consideration.

© GenesisRating: 9.0
Pros: Attractive styling; extensive standard features; great handling.
Cons: Noisy at higher speeds; cramped rear seat.
Bottom Line: Genesis adds a proper sport sedan to its growing lineup.


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