Hyundai has been experimenting with a high-end vehicle dubbed “Genesis” since 2009, but this model didn’t become a stand-alone brand until the 2017 model year.
And when it did launch, it attracted designers from the likes of Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley.
The G90 and then the G80 rolled onto the streets in short order, and now, two years into its product cycle, Genesis introduces the last sedan in its lineup: the 2019 G70.
This is the smallest and sportiest sedan the automaker offers – complete with an available manual transmission.
The Genesis G70 comes standard with a rear-wheel-drive platform and a 2.0-liter turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder engine. But it is available with all-wheel drive and an up-level 3.3-liter, V-6.
The 2.0T version of the G70 delivers 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. While I wouldn’t say this is fast, it has a certain amount of pep and will be the right-sized version for many drivers.
The manual transmission is only available with this engine option and the rear-wheel platform on the base Advanced trim. Curiously, the 2.0-liter engine mated to the manual adds 3 horsepower.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to test this version during the press preview, but I imagine this would be my preference – even though I really enjoyed the V-6 power in the 3.3T model.
The up-level engine will add more than 100 horsepower and pound-feet of torque with a power output of 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.
This version of the G70 was my first tester of the day, and it had quick off-the-line starts and minimal turbo lag.
We also had the opportunity to take AWD and RWD versions of the 3.3T out on the track at Club Motorsports, which has a fair number of hard corners and elevation changes. I was pretty impressed with its ability to hold the line on various curves with speeds approaching 70 mph, and I definitely preferred the RWD version in aggressive driving as I felt I had more control over the vehicle’s maneuverability.
Plus, it was just fun to make the rear end drift a bit in the turns.
Overall, the ride and handling of the G70 is solid. The steering is stiff and responsive, and the suspension had just the right amount of give for my sensibilities.
I played around with the drive mode selector a bit, and Comfort is what you’ll want for everyday driving. But Sport adds just a bit more stiffness to both steering and suspension to make twisty bits more fun.
The Genesis lineup goes from athletic to elegant, and while the G90 is on the elegant side, the G70 hits on the athletic side.
Thus, the G70’s design is more handsome than pretty with a kind of masculine grace that makes me think of a well-honed marathon runner whose gait is both effortless and fast.
I love the bold open grille and strong horizontal lines of the exterior.
The interior is an exercise in simplicity with buttons and dials that make sense and an almost airy center stack that tilts ever so slightly toward the driver.
Throughout the vehicle, there is a high level of attention to detail from the etched edges of the dials on the center stack to the radar equipment on the front of the vehicle that is designed to blend with the lines on the grille.
I heard some journalists lament the lack of wood trim accents, but I didn’t miss them. The G70 is meant to be sporty and athletic, and I thought the leather trimmed dash and silver accents on the center console fit with the vehicle’s overall theme.
My only interior complaint: The seat bottoms were too big for me. And that was with the adjustable bottoms – they just didn’t hinge far enough to make the seat bottom optimal for petite drivers.
One of the best things about the G70 is the standard technology. In addition to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and the smart trunk, G70 will also have a whole host of up-level standard safety technology, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high beams.
Available tech features include the around-view monitor, Lexicon premium surround sound system, and head-up display.
At the time of publishing this article, Genesis hadn’t released too many details about pricing or the trim walk. What we do know is that the base price for the 2.0T Advanced model will start around $35K, and the top-end 3.3T Sport model will be priced around $50K.
Available in both 2.0T and 3.3T models, the trim walk and Genesis descriptors are as follows:
- Advanced: stylish and well-equipped
- Elite: core luxury and technology
- Prestige: top luxury and advanced technology
- Sport: top luxury and tech as well as sport styling
Genesis said the all-new G70 will hit dealers in early August.
The Bottom Line
Genesis as a brand is only two years old. And that’s a tough mountain to climb.
But with more than 220,000 units already sold worldwide and only two vehicles in its stable, the nascent automaker is inching its way upwards.
It’s easy to see why.
It has created handsome and feature-laden products priced to compete in the luxury sedan segment.
In a brand-conscious world, however, this might be a tough sell. A comparably equipped G70 will likely be about $5K less than a BMW 3-Series, Lexus ES, Audi A4 and Cadillac ATS. But it’s not backed by a brand with cachet.
But maybe it doesn’t need to be. When you have designers from Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley, you can probably create your own cachet.
Editor’s Note: Driving impressions in this “First Look” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Genesis covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.