2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Ultimate Review

Along with the G80 we drove a couple of weeks ago, the Genesis G70 is the latest model to join the Genesis line up, adding a sporty, yet luxurious touch to the range.

As its nomenclature suggests, the G70 sits below the G80 and competes with a tough crowd that includes the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Volvo S60.

It’s an important model for the relatively unknown brand, as cracking the all-important mid-sized executive sedan segment is crucial for it to be taken seriously.

Does the G70 have what it takes to make a stamp on the mid-size luxury segment? It might just surprise you.

Range and pricing

The G70 line-up is simple, with just six variants in three trim levels and two engine options. The range kicks off with the 2.0T from $59,300, while V6 variants start from $72,450 for the 3.3T Sport.

We are driving the most expensive variant, the 3.3T Ultimate which is priced from $79,950 – all before on-road costs. Interestingly, the sportier-looking 3.3T Ultimate Sport also carries an identical price tag.

For perspective, the BMW 330i costs $70,900 and comes with a less powerful 2.0-litre four-pot under its bonnet compare to the 3.3T.

Those thinking about putting their negotiation skills to work will be disappointed, as Genesis Australia has adopted a non-negotiable, fixed price business model.

And it’s not just the business model that’s unique. Buyers organise test drives via a concierge style service either by phone or visiting a Genesis Studio. The company then brings the car to you and collects it when you’re finished.

Being a new kid on the block, such personal service is important to win over buyers.

On the outside

“Is that an Aston Martin?”

You get that a lot when you’re driving a Genesis. It’s not surprising since the G70’s svelte bodywork is the work of a team of world-class designers, including former Bentley crayon-welder Luc Donckerwolke, and Sasha Selipanov who worked on the Bugatti Chiron. Genesis says its design is based on the ‘Athletic Elegance’ concept.

Its wide hips and flared wheel arches filled by broad, 255-section tyres certainly convey what’s underneath the bulging bonnet. The G70’s bold front fascia is dominated by its respectably sized signature Genesis crest grille that is flanked by a pair of upswept LED headlights with distinctive fork-like daytime running lights.

Around the back, the swollen rear arches create a muscular stance, while V6 models also get a pair of oval exhaust pipes.

There’s a level of maturity to its design with hardly an element out of place.

On the inside

Unfortunately, the interior design team hasn’t infused the G70’s cabin with the styling flare of its exterior design.

It isn’t a bad place to be but just feels too much like a posher version of a Hyundai. The analogue instruments are in common with the i30N, while the infotainment system is lifted straight out of mainstream Hyundais. A little more differentiation would certainly help with its luxury perception.

While the G70’s interior isn’t about to win any design awards anytime, it is high quality and comfortable. Our tester’s cream interior might look great but is likely to be a nightmare to keep clean. The driver’s side carpets in particular are already badly marked (below right).

What we do adore is the fine attention to detail such as the quilted finish on the door cards and seats that lend the interior an upmarket feel.

The front seats are cushy and adjust in more directions than a contortionist, including electric bolsters that inflate in Sport mode to hug you tightly in corners.

Rear seat head and legroom are adequate, as long as you’re in the mean and lower quartiles of the height distribution.

Further aback, the G70’s boot space is well below class average, providing just 330-litres. For comparison, the latest BMW 3 Series offers up 480-litres.

Sharing Hyundai’s touchscreen infotainment system means the G70 lacks up-to-date technology like Voice Control virtual assistant that’s becoming more common with rivals.

Yes, you could command Siri/Google to search for a song or guide you to your destination when connected to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, but it’s not the same as getting the car to close the sunroof or drop the temperature. It’s a first world problem but we did say it’s competitive!

The G70 comes with a head-up display that puts useful information in the driver’s line of sight, including speed and driving assist info, along with driving license saving speed limit signs.

Under the skin

The G70 shares most of its oily bits with the likeable Kia Stinger. Think a smaller, more agile and luxurious version of the Stinger and you’re not far off the mark.

Packing the same 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 putting out 272kW and 510Nm of torque – the latter delivered between 1,300-4,500rpm – the G70 feels responsive from the get go and properly rapid when demanded, if a little lacking on the aural front.

Genesis claims the G70 will hit 100km/h from a standstill in 4.7 seconds and we suspect it will be close since the 55kg heavier Stinger GT does it in 4.9 seconds. It feels quick.

Power is directed to the rear wheels efficiently and smoothly via an in-house developed eight-speed automatic (as opposed to the Stinger’s ZF-sourced unit) that is well calibrated.

It goes about its business around town proficiently but is quick to spring into action when the road opens up, dishing up ratios quickly. The flappy paddles are responsive, too, snapping up and down the coqs at the flick of your fingertips.

On the road

While the Stinger is more of a grand tourer, Genesis has successfully infused the G70 with more athletic genes.

It feels deceptively agile and light through the twisties and its adaptive suspension is almost spot-on.

The Drive Mode allows the driver to choose between Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom settings, altering the car’s steering, engine and gearing response, and suspension firmness.

Twist the dial to ‘Sport’ and the G70’s suspension tightens up while its Michelin Pilot Sport tyres claw into the tarmac, guiding its nose where the steering is pointed. It’s super sporty to drive.

Its stability control system is also well judged, only tightening the rein if you’re being silly with the throttle or rushing the car into corners at ridiculous speeds. While power delivery is mostly buttery smooth, over enthusiastic prodding of the right pedal will still overwhelm the rear tyres with mild sideway action.

The G70’s Brembo brakes do a good job in washing off speeds, but the steering – while responsive – isn’t the most feelsome,

Refinement is generally good, making the G70 an excellent long distance cruiser (although the Michelin tyres aren’t the quietest).

Its all speed adaptive cruise control will bring the car to a complete halt in stop/start traffic, and then move on with a gentle prod of the accelerator or cruise control button to take the stress out of city driving.

In the long run

Genesis’ marketing materials says the brand “was conceived on the foundation that the ultimate luxury in our lives today is time.”

As such, customers never have to step foot in a service centre (unless they want to). Genesis offers a pick and delivery service come service time with the customer given a Genesis loan car while theirs are being serviced.

All G70s also come with 5 years/50,000km complimentary scheduled servicing, 5 years/unlimited kilometre warranty and 5 years roadside assist.

On test and over a mix of urban and freeway use, the G70’s trip computer indicated an average consumption of 11.2L/100km against its maker’s claimed of 10.2L/100km. It’s higher than some four-cylinder competitors but that’s the trade-off for V6 grunt.

Verdict

Design & Comfort

8.0/10

Performance & Handling

8.5/10

Quality

8.5/10

Economy

7.5/10

Equipment & Features

8.5/10

OUR SCORE

4.1/5

Our Score: 4.1/5

+ Plus

  • Great ride and handling balance
  • Excellent built quality
  • Superb twin-turbo engine and balanced chassis
  • Value for money

Minus

  • Too many common parts with mainstream Hyundais in the cabin
  • Could do with better engine and exhaust notes
  • Small boot

Overall

The biggest challenge for the G70, and the Genesis brand as a whole, is not the quality of its products but its the lack of brand heritage compared to the dominant German marques.

It has taken Lexus nearly three decades to make its mark on the prestige scene, while Nissan’s Infiniti offshoot has tried and failed twice in Australia.

It remains to be seen whether brand conscious luxury buyers will take to Genesis but those willing to look past the yet unknown brand will be rewarded with a premium, well-built and superbly valued sports sedan.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T pricing and specification

Price (Excl. on-road costs):From: $72,450
As tested: $79,950
Warranty:5 years/unlimited kilometers
Warranty Customer Service:5 years roadside assist
Country of Origin:South Korea
Service Intervals:12 months/10,000km
Engine:3,3-litre twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V6 petrol:

272kW @ 6,000rpm, 510Nm @ 1,300-4,500rpm

Transmission:8-speed automatic
Drivetrain:Rear-wheel drive
Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):157.7
0-100km/h (seconds):Claimed: 4.7
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):Claimed: 10.2 / Tested: 11.2
RON Rating:95
Fuel Capacity (L):60
Body:4-door sedan, 5 seats
Safety:
  • 5-star ANCAP
  • 7 airbags
  • ABS, BA, EBD, ESC
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane-Keep Assist System
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Emergency Stop Signal
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Driver Attention Alert
  • Traffic Sign Display
  • Mechanical limited slip differential
  • 360 degree rear view camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • ISOFIX
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:4,685/1,850/1,400/2,835
Turning Circle Between Kerbs:11.0
Ground Clearance:130
Kerb Weight (kg):1,762
Boot Space (L):330
Towing Capacity (kg):Braked: 1,200/Unbraked: 750
Entertainment:
  • 8-inch colour touchscreen
  • 660W Lexicon by Harman 15-speaker audio system
  • Satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic
  • AM/FM/DAB+
  • Bluetooth
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • USB
  • AUX
  • iPod

Competitors: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60

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