By Derek Price
If Genesis succeeds as a luxury brand, it’s going to be thanks to the strength of products like this: the new G70 sports sedan.
If it fails, there could be other places to lay blame — the marketing plan, the dealer network, or the decision to initially fill its lineup with sedans when the market is ravenous for SUVs — but this Korean upstart is somehow managing to build cars that are just as compelling as the German stalwarts.
That’s my impression after driving the G70 for a week.
This is the first car designed from the ground up as a Genesis product, not one with roots as a Hyundai, and it feels just as thrilling, composed and elegantly dramatic as its deeply established competitors from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Of course, these days the German triumvirate doesn’t hold a monopoly. Strong competition from Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac means buyers have more viable choices than ever before for a sexy, four-door performance machine.
It’s a good time to be affluent, that’s for sure.
What sets the G70 apart is not just its competence — its sparkling handling, herculean power and lavish cabin equal some of the best products in this class, earning it Motor Trend’s 2019 Car of the Year crown — but also its sense of value.
It starts at $34,900, thousands less than the base Mercedes C-class or Lexus IS, and tellingly, the exact same price as the benchmark 2018 BMW 3-Series.
You don’t have to look far, only under the hood, to see the differences, though. The base BMW 320i comes with a 180-horsepower engine, not the kind of prodigious power most people associate with BMWs. You’d have to step up to the 330i at $40,250 to get comparable performance to the Genesis, and even then, the base G70 ever-so-slightly out-muscles the 330i, 252 horsepower to 248.
For even more power, a turbocharged, 3.3-liter V6 engine is optional. It creates a V8-like 365 horsepower and can rocket the car from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, Genesis claims.
Look closely at the options list, and you’ll see the G70 tries hard to out-offer its competitors at every price point. It’s a feature-for-feature bargain.
Bargain cars usually have drawbacks, but they’re hard to find in this one. Its trunk isn’t the roomiest and fuel economy isn’t the most frugal — only due to the decision to offer a powerful base engine — but the usual nickel-and-dime quality cuts are invisible. Soft-touch materials reign in the cabin, where tight construction, sculptural design and excellent sound insulation make it feel palatial over the road.
The only functional downside is its relatively small trunk. It swaps luggage volume for sleek design, a necessary tradeoff to make the rear proportions look perfect.
Inside, I love the contrasting mixture of high technology with old-fashioned, quilted upholstery. The thick leather is reminiscent of classic British luxury cars, while real brushed aluminum trim and stainless steel speaker grilles look thoroughly modern.
And modern it is. The G70 can be connected to any Amazon Alexa device for voice control, for example, letting you remotely lock and unlock the vehicle, start it up and set the cabin to a certain temperature, all by simply speaking to Alexa.
While the base price is under $35,000, the V6 3.3T version is priced from $43,750. Pricing tops out at $52,250 for the Dynamic Edition with all-wheel drive.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T ($43,750). Options: Prestige package ($4,250). Price as tested (including $995 destination charge): $48,995
Wheelbase: 111.6 in.
Length: 184.5 in.
Width: 72.8 in.
Height: 55.1 in.
Engine: 3.3-liter V6 (365 hp, 376 ft. lbs.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 18 city, 26 highway
Why buy it?
It’s not only an impressive performance luxury car, but a bargain at that. It matches the speed and sophistication of the best sports sedans in the world while undercutting them on price.