The launch of the Genesis G70 represents a cornerstone of the strategy for success employed by the new Genesis brand, a division of the Hyundai group. The new sports sedan joins the G90 and G80, both more-luxurious models, to complete the triumvirate making up the current lineup. It will target consumers who want a more fully engaged driving experience and enhanced road handling from their car, and so will take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and new Jaguar XE.
After the splashy unveiling of the G70, which included a pop concert with internationally known stars performing in front of some 15,000 spectators at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium, I had the opportunity to test drive it on the road as well as on a track.
Elegance and power
Luc Donckerwolke, director of design at Genesis, underlined during the launch event the visual elements integrated in the G70 that will be part of the design concepts of future models from the brand. The grille consists of a grid with a relatively large mesh pattern, an element that fits nicely with the mandate of the car, and the designers have framed it with LED dual headlamps. The aluminum hood is large and bedecked with elevated flutes.
In the back, its identity as a sports sedan is further confirmed by a spoiler integrated in the trunk, a deflector in the lower part of the car and large taillights.
The most powerful engine available to consumers with the Genesis G70 is a 3.3L V6 turbo engine that generates 365 hp and is linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission as well as all-wheel drive. The catalogue also includes a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine (249 hp). The suspension is infinitely adjustable and offers a number of different settings. It, and the car’s overall road-handling capabilities, were developed and fine-tuned by Genesis engineers at the famed Nürburgring track in Germany.
Comfort and balance
The Genesis brain-trust has taken pains to clarify that the new G70 is not a true-blue sports car, but rather a vehicle that delivers enhanced driving pleasure via a superior level of comfort. Chances are pretty good that down the road we’ll be seeing a performance version, à la BMW M, but for the moment, the company is putting its focus on strong road handling combined with fairly muscular performance.
Getting behind the wheel means being welcomed by seats offering good-sized side cushions and adjustable support for the thighs. More pluses: driving position is good, the sport pedal is made of aluminum, the large foot-rest is smartly placed, and the sport steering wheel has a large-enough diameter to ensure good grip. The various brushed-aluminum elements and metallic speaker grilles contrast nicely with the leather touches adorning the doors and dashboard.
The first segment of the road test consisted of driving my G70 from Seoul to Injae Speedium, a super-modern road circuit located just over 100 km away. The route took me through city streets, on highways and on secondary roads, allowing me to discern and appreciate the firm platform, a nice assortment of driving modes, the impressive sound insulation and a responsive, alert engine. In addition, gear changes are barely perceptible, and the power of the Brembo brakes is remarkable, although it was possible at times to make out a slight delay between pressing on the pedal and the brakes actually getting to work.
Steering in the G70 is well-calibrated and precise, even with the presence of electronic assistance. The body remains stable in corners and the car stays generally neutral, although a slight under-steering is noticeable on tighter curves. The navigation system, for its part, works intuitively.
Good as it was on the road, the G70 really shone on the track, proving itself solid as rock on curves. What’s more, the power of the brakes to slow from a high speed is truly impressive. Using the paddle shifter on the steering wheel to move through the gears allowed the car to optimize the way it handled the laps on the circuit, especially since the V6 practically begs to be let loose at higher RPMs. That enhanced lateral support offered by the seats was particularly appreciated when flying through turns at high speeds.
After taking it through a variety of driving environments, I came away convinced the new Genesis G70 is well-equipped to take on the heavyweights in the luxury sports sedan category.