Driving Impressions : 2020 Genesis G70 RWD 3.3T SportBy: Mark Moskowitz MD
For more than half a century BMW's line has contained the prototypical mid-sized sports sedan. The popular genesis was the BMW 2002. And its successor, the BMW 3 series, has held reign since (even though the manufacturer has surrounded it with so many numbered sedans that it will soon need to have appellations with fractions). Domestic devotees might argue that Mustang represents the standard but few would identify it as a sedan. Others might recall the Datsun 510 but there was no follow through.
Sport sedans have taken on new importance not only for their halo effect in building a brand but also for the sales possibilities as GM and Ford have been fleeing the sedan space. Part of Hyundai's formula must have been the hire of those with know-how. Albert Biermann, a BMW M specialist, came to Hyundai in 2015. Many tout his influence on the Veloster and other N-Line cars. Other M engineers have followed including Fayez Abdul Rahman and Thomas Schemera. Their influence cannot be discounted as the new Genesis G70 has racked up numerous awards, among them: Automobile magazine's 2019 All Star nominee list, the 2019 North American Car of the Year (award by a 50 plus journalist panel) and Motor Trend's Car of the Year.
The base model G70 lists for $36,475. It's well equipped with an 8 speed automatic, a 252 hp direct injection I-4, luxury features including adaptive cruise control, dual zone climate control, power front seats, a hands free trunk and an 8 inch touchscreen and safety features including forward collision avoidance, blind spot monitor, lane keep assist and cross traffic alert. Another $3050 will put you in a sport model with a 6-speed manual, a limited slip rear, Brembo brakes (four piston front and two piston rear), Michelin Pilot Sport 4s and an adjustable sport exhaust. Heated and ventilated front seats and a deluxe stereo fill out the package. Though it keeps the small powerplant, many might prefer this model to the V-6 edition because of its better gas mileage and the lighter weight in the front end.
I tested the RWD 3.3 liter 365 hp G70 which lists for $45675 delivered. Three levels of option packages (listed below) are available. The top of the line sport package brought the price to $51,275. I also spent time in the AWD version which cost $2000 more.
Offset by huge red calipers and whether in subtle Himalayan Gray or lively Mallorca Blue, the G70 attracted more parking lot attention than a multitude of recent high-end test cars. Though a dozen inches shorter in length, from the side it bears resemblance to its older sibling the G80. The hockey stick vents, those Brembos and the 19-inch mags with low profile PS4s evoke a performance image. And from the front, the G70 separates from its Genesis family with its far more enticing 'signature crosshatch hexagonal grille finished in arresting dark chrome'.
The Sport equipped G70's interior entices with Nappa Leather quilted on the doors and seats with contrasting stitching. There's an abundance of polished metal. The 8-inch touch screen protrudes from the dash into 'easy' sight and easy reach. Switches beneath the screen, dials on both sides of the screen, some steering wheel controls and touch allow input. All of this obviates the need for a massive console joystick allowing room for the largest smartphones to lay flat on their charger alongside key fobs and a few other items. Genesis can be proud of the 15-speaker Lexicon audio system. Voices are crystal clear and fidelity is worthy of a luxury machine.
Graphics and much of the infotainment routine resemble that of entry level Hyundais. Take the time to explore and special features emerge. Program your custom performance modes allowing bolsters to tighten; or adjust settings to lessen that heavy input steering in sport mode. Engage your lap timer. Change the color, height or angle of your heads-up display. Enhance your exhaust (though I did not find this feature to produce a memorable note from within the cockpit).
Underway, expect some thrills. Zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds and easily reproducible. Shifts are smooth whether left to the computer or engaged by paddles. The highest end Sport G70 adds electronic suspension control to the driving modes which affect shift points, steering, sound and awd torque vectoring. I liked the way the car handled. It responded to steering input quickly and accurately. I found body lean minimal and the car extremely stable in curves and at triple digit speeds. I was surprised by its tremendous composure when pushed to the limit on low speed turns encouraging fun and games on freeway exits and entrances. In its most comfortable mode, I found no steering slack and cornering abilities which exceed that of many luxury and sport sedans. I spent time on dry grippy surfaces and noted little difference between the rear and all-wheel drive versions.
I still find fifty thousand plus for a sport sedan a lot of money but you can get in the door at much less. With the big bucks come all sorts of features and I have a strong preference for cars with surround view monitoring and heads up displays as found in the Elite and Sport packages. Add to that three years of free service and concierge pickup, a five year 60,000 mile warranty and 10 year/ 100,000 mile powertrain warranty and you might call this one a value proposition.