“My, oh my, what a car,”
I mumbled to myself just a few shorts minutes after getting behind the wheel of the 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport.
A new compact luxury sedan, the G70 is the entry model into the Genesis Motors Canada brand, the luxury arm of South Korean auto giant Hyundai.
Launching a new brand is no easy feat, but competing against German stalwarts like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 as the G70 does, makes it even more of a challenge.
And this comes at a time when sedans are increasingly taking a backseat (excuse the pun) to crossovers.
While Genesis does have plans for a couple of SUVs in its lineup by model year 2021, sedans in the premium segment are still holding their own, more so than in the mainstream market.
Genesis is counting on its a marketing strategy to help set it apart from the competition.
You see, Genesis has no dealerships, per se. Although it is part of the Hyundai family, you won’t see Genesis models in their showrooms. Where you will find them is at Genesis retail boutiques— pop-up sales centres in malls and other locations across the country.
Genesis will have four such boutiques established in Toronto and Montreal by the end of the year with more on the way in the future in what the company hopes will be slow, but steady growth of the new luxury brand that was established in 2015.
Potential buyers don’t even have to visit one of these boutiques to see a Genesis vehicle first hand. One can simply book a test drive online and they will bring a vehicle right to you door, either home or office.
Not only that, but the Genesis experience differs from the norm in that buyers get complimentary maintenance for five years or 100,000 km.
Book an appointment and someone comes to you, picks up your vehicle for maintenance and leaves you a loaner while it’s in the shop. It all boils down to a totally different buying experience - one which Genesis hopes will resonate with the buying public.
But, back to the G70 that is the subject of this review. A compact four-door luxury sport sedan, the G70 joins the G80, G80 Sport and G90 in the Genesis lineup, with a starting price of $42,000.
There are six trim levels, all featuring all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission with the exception of the G70 2.0T Sport that is rear-wheel drive with a six-speed manual.
Our tester was the top-shelf G70 3.3T Sport AWD that comes in at $57,500, boasting the larger of two engine choices, a 3.3-litre twin turbo direct injection V6 making 365 hp and 376 lb/ft of torque.
Four of the trim levels come with the 2.0-litre direct injection turbo inline four with 252 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque.
On the design side, the G70 is elegant yet aggressive looking with a dark black mesh grille in 3.3T Sport trim. The long hood, short front overhang and sleek profile give it a dynamic look.
The huge Brembo braking system with its red calipers and the exterior accents that are part of the Sport appearance package set the 3.3T Sport up as a step above the crowd.
The cabin is beautifully finished, clearly taking dead aim at the Audis of the world. The plush Nappa pleated leather seats come red stitching throughout to create a sense of contrast. Fit and finish is top-notch, certainly on par with German and Japanese rivals.
Everything is driver-centric with all controls in easy reach. The previous week I drove a Volvo V90
with its Sensus infotainment system that works on a touch and swipe system much like a tablet.
On the G70, though, it’s predominately old-school with switches and knobs on the centre stack with an eight-inch touchscreen sitting atop the dash — all in all, easy to use and so sensibly designed.
However, it’s out on the street where this Genesis sports sedan really shines. Punch the start button and the engine comes to life with a growl and a gurgle.
This is the performance variant of the G70, capable of turning in a 0-100 km/h time of 4.7 seconds, according to the manufacturer with a top speed of 270 km/h.
Key features include variable ratio steering and electronically controlled suspension that provide agile directional response and balanced ride and handling.
There’s even a launch control feature to maximize off-the-line acceleration and mechanical limited slip differential to improve traction and acceleration out of the corners.
Drivers can also choose from a variety of drive modes according to their personal preference or driving situation—Comfort, Eco, Sport, Smart or Custom.
On the safety front, the G70 has you covered with one of the most complete set of safety features available including forward collision avoidance assist (FCA), blind spot collision warning (BCW), and driver awareness warning (DAW), part of the Genesis Active Safety Control technology suite.
FCA has newly developed technology that not only detects vehicles and pedestrians, but now also cyclists.
As my colleague Jim Robinson mentioned in his first drive review of the G70, one of the few nits to pick with the car is the limited amount of cargo space, which comes in at only 296 litres.
This is because the battery is located at the bottom of the cargo floor with the spare tire on top.
There is room for three passengers in the rear, but legroom is at a premium. Keep in mind this is a compact sedan so the legroom is not unlike others in the segment.
Simply put, the G70 is a great driver’s car that has everything one could want in an entry-level premium sedan—power and panache with a nice touch of luxury thrown in for good measure.
Well done, Genesis.
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2019 Genesis G70 Sport AWD
Compact premium sports sedan
Rear-/all-wheel-drive; six- and eight-speed automatic transmission
2.0-litre turbo, direct injection, inline, four-cylinder (252 hp, 260 lb/ft); 3.3-litre, twin-turbocharged direct injection V6 (365 hp, 376 lb/ft)
2.0-litre manual, 12.8/8.5L/100 km;
2.0-litre automatic,11.5/8.7L/100 km;
3.3-litre automatic, 13.3/9.5L/100 km
2.0-litre, Advanced AWD/auto, $42,000;
Sport, RWD/manual, $45,500;
2.0-litre Elite AWD/auto, $47,000;
Prestige AWD/auto, $52,000;
3.3-litre Dynamic, AWD/auto, $52,000;
3.3-litre Sport AWD/auto, $57,500, as tested $57,500