Car reviews - Genesis - G70
Strong styling, sharp handling and dynamics, smooth and capable powertrains, good blend of performance and everyday comfort
Room for improvement
Cabin plastics and Hyundai interior underpinnings can’t match segment rivals, thirsty powertrains, 3.3T could have more aggressive engine note
Genesis increases brand appeal with dynamically focused G70 medium sedan
24 Jun 2019
An Australian launch has been a long time coming for Genesis – plans for the standalone marque to launch here have been slated for as early as 2017, however it has taken until June 2019 for those plans to eventuate.
The South Korean brand has arrived on Australian shores with two offerings, the G80) formerly the Hyundai Genesis large car) and the G70 medium sedan, which will be introduced with six variants and the choice of two powertrains.
Aimed squarely at the stalwarts of the mid-size luxury segment, Genesis expects the G70 to be the volume seller, making up around 80 per cent of overall sales for the brand.
Does the G70 have what it takes to carve out a niche in the highly competitive medium luxury segment?
While the G80 large sedan was introduced in late 2014, the G70 is a much newer prospect, first revealed in September 2017 and built on its own dedicated platform that does not share underpinnings with any Hyundai vehicles.
When the brand was established, Genesis recruited a number of designers from Europe including former Bentley alumni Luc Donckerwolke, and the influence is clearly seen on the G70.
With sharp exterior lines and proportions, the G70 feels at home alongside the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 – a good start in a segment where style is important.
From the outside, the G70 looks completely divorced from its Hyundai parent company, however entering the cabin for the first time, its Hyundai Motor Group origins become clearer.
The G70 borrows much of its switchgear and infotainment from Hyundai products, which if you are unfamiliar with the brand will not be a problem, however it will become immediately apparent for those who have spent time behind the wheel of its products.
The dashboard and infotainment system are ergonomically laid out, however abundant hard black plastics let it down against its rivals, notably the Audi A4 which we believe features the best cabin in the segment.
The 8.0-inch infotainment system is based on Hyundai’s multimedia interface and works well, with no usability issues to speak of. Some might not appreciate the glued-on tablet look of the screen, however that is purely subjective.
On a positive note, the seats are well bolstered and comfortable, with a great driving position and a steering wheel that fits snugly in the hands.
Higher-spec versions also feature beautifully quilted leather upholstery which adds to the premium feeling, as does the head-up display, heated and ventilated seats and aluminium trim elements.
Noise insulation in the cabin fails to match that of its G80 big brother with some wind noise apparent around the A-pillar, but it is not noticeably worse than its competitors.
In a segment chock-full of dynamically engaging offerings, it is important that the G70 be an enjoyable car to drive, and we had the chance to test its chops over a day of driving around Victoria’s high country.
We are pleased to report that after a day spent across the twistiest tarmac Victoria has to offer, the G70 gave the impression of a thoroughly engaging vehicle that has no trouble bringing a smile to your face.
The G70 features excellent chassis balance, feeling tight and measured when being thrown into and out of corners. At no point does it feel like coming unstuck, with minimal wheel slip and a confident, planted feel no doubt helped by its torque vectoring and limited-slip differential on the rear axle.
Along with the comfortable steering wheel, steering feels precise, direct and well weighted, responding well to small inputs at high speed. The variable ratio steering rack also ensures the G70 is easy to drive around town and at low speeds.
As with Hyundai offerings, Genesis models have been subjected to an Australian suspension tuning program to deal with our country’s less-than-ideal road surfaces.
Genesis engineers have done a great job of calibrating the G70’s ride to be both comfortable for day-to-day driving, but dynamically engaging when need be.
In corners, there is no obvious body roll, and when driving in normal circumstances the ride quality is supple enough to make for a comfortable daily driver.
Two engine choices are available on the G70, starting with the 2.0T variant which employs a 179kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The less powerful of the two engine choices, the 2.0T is certainly still more than enough for most owners, with a solid surge of power helping to bring the car up to speed quickly when planting the right foot.
It is not afraid to rev hard, and when keeping engine revs in the mid-range sweet spot, power is readily available when driving dynamically.
We did find the throttle in the 2.0T to be a bit twitchy in sport mode, with even the smallest input resulting in the tachometer spiking towards the redline.
For those who find four cylinders, a single turbocharger and 179kW insufficient, there is also the 3.3T engine which pumps out a considerable 272kW/510Nm from its 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, also driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed auto.
The 3.3T engine is a cracker, with a beefy midrange thanks to a peak torque range of 1300-45000rpm that surges the car forward in any situation.
Power delivery is smooth, linear and user-friendly, with enough muscle to rival the likes of the Audi S4, Mercedes-AMG C43 and BMW M340i.
The engine is also well suited to everyday driving, due to its smooth engine performance and well-calibrated eight-speed auto that does a good job of remaining in the background.
While it would be assumed that the larger, heavier engine would also be thirstier, we actually recorded a higher consumption figure in the 2.0T (11.7L/100km) than the 3.3T (11.1L/100km).
The 2.0T’s official fuel consumption figure of 8.7-9.0L/100km was some way off the recorded figure, while the 3.3T’s claimed thirst of 10.2L/100km was closer to its real-world number.
Granted, there was a healthy mix of aggressive back-road driving mixed in with some long-distance highway touring, however we would have liked to see a slightly lower fuel consumption figure, particularly from the 2.0T.
Overall, Genesis has created a highly competitive offering with the G70. The deck is stacked against it with legends like the C-Class and 3 Series as its direct competitors, however the brand’s engineers have given it a good chance of success.
The G70 is an enjoyable and dynamically engaging car, and aside from some interior class, we see no reason why it cannot mix it with the best Europe has to offer.
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