Since driving the original Hyundai Genesis sedan a decade ago, I could tell the Korean automaker’s upscale brand had serious potential. I’ve met many Genesis owners who love their cars. Now a stand-alone brand, Genesis is becoming a serious competitor to the world’s luxury automakers. If you think I’m nuts, you haven’t driven the Genesis G70 – a car that puts several rivals back on their trailers.
There’s some Alfa Romeo and Jaguar in the styling, but designers really focused on the details like black chrome, and copper bezels for the LED headlamps. From the front, it looks a bit British with its large grille, the rear muscular with fat fenders, and the side profile neatly tailored over 19” wheels fronting red brake calipers. From every angle, it’s a handsome little devil.
Inside, drivers face a perfectly-sized leather-wrapped steering wheel, analog gauges, and head-up display – all perfect for getting your business done. Seats and door panels are accented with red diamond stitching while aluminum trim and suede headliner lend a modern flair. Heated and ventilated front seats, extendable lower driver’s seat cushion, and heated steering wheel add comfort – as do a wide sunroof, power steering column, and Lexicon 15-speaker audio system that one can almost believe is shared with Rolls-Royce. Rear seats are a little tight, even for my six-year-old, but you’re not going to be back there anyway.
Genesis went for an intuitive touchscreen for navigation and audio, skipping the joywheel nonsense of which some rivals seem enamored. Wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth make connections easy. I’m also a fan of proper volume and tuning knobs for clipping through channels while creeping through traffic. Climate controls are arranged simply with large knobs for adjusting temperature and fan speed, with defrosters one level below. Everything is exactly where you’d want it.
And, Genesis stepped up with a full array of crash avoidance systems. Adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and blind spot alert are on the menu – as are rear cross path detection and lane keep assist. The surround view monitor makes getting in and out of tight parking spaces a snap.
As much as I liked the larger G80 during a recent drive, it’s the G70 that truly herald’s Genesis’ arrival as a machete-wielding beast on the world stage. I’ve read several reviews that panned the four-cylinder G70 as noisy and harsh, but that was not my experience with the turbocharged V6 version.
Underfoot, the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 delivers a stout 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque – all routed to the all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Shift it with paddles if you choose. The Drive Mode Select system lets drivers configure the powertrain and electronic suspension from efficient/comfortable to aggressive/firm. Select the former over the latter to see 17/25-MPG city/highway.
On a perfectly smooth racetrack, driving enthusiasts might prefer the G70’s German or Italian rivals, but most of us do not travel on tracks. In the real world, we’re confronted with potholes and brutal bridge seams, which the adjustable suspension soaks up with nary a shudder. At almost any speed, the smooth turbocharged engine plants power while the AWD system reassures drivers with absolute composure. Whether slugging through city traffic or stretching out on the highway, the car is a delight to drive.
Genesis understands true enthusiasts prefer an engaging driving experience over video arcades. While the G80 and G90 are impressive, the G70 is a shock – a sport sedan that takes it full-on to global competitors’s a delight to drive every day. A base price of $35,450 rises to $53,245 loaded with all the gadgets and potent engine. Competitors include the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE, BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Cadillac CT4, and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.