First drive: 2019 Genesis G70 review

Moving Well | Toby Hagon | Posted on 17 August 2019

Toby Hagon takes the 2019 Genesis G70 sports sedan for a spin.


First impressions:

Hyundai’s standalone luxury brand is a fun-to-drive sports sedan with sharp pricing.


Traditional four-door sedans may be on the sales slide, but newcomer Genesis says targeting the heartland is crucial for arriving in style. The delayed (and delayed again) luxury brand of Hyundai says its new G70 has the goods to match it with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series, two heavy hitters in the prestige space.

Like those, the G70 is a mid-sized four-door driving the rear wheels and it comes dripping in leather along with a generous smattering of equipment that encompasses sat-nav, smart key entry and LED headlights.

But it packs more bang for fewer bucks. Priced from $59,300 plus on-road costs, it’s thousands cheaper than similarly powered rivals from those German juggernauts.

Step up to the V6 twin-turbo – badged 3.3T – and the difference blows out further, the top-shelf $79,950 Ultimate Sport replete with heated steering wheel, head-up display and a crisp, powerful 15-speaker Lexicon sound system. It’ll even heat or cool the derrieres of occupants front and rear. The Genesis G70 also arrives with a comprehensive after-sales package that includes five years’ free servicing and a concierge service to make living the luxury life easier. They’re tempters designed to elicit at least a sideways glance at an unknown brand.

Less impressive is some of the attention to detail, such as cheap-feeling plastic switches and dials and a Hyundai-sourced 8.0-inch infotainment screen that lacks the definition of rivals.

But the G70 is more than a list of features, its elegant proportions backed by genuine talent on the road.

With 179kW and 353Nm the 2.0-litre turbo in 2.0T models is eager and flexible, its broad torque spread delivering easy performance with a hint of rortiness courtesy of exhaust notes amplified through the speakers.

A relatively portly 1.6-tonne-plus body quells enthusiasm at freeway speeds, although its cruising manners are relaxed and refined.

Close up of Genesis G70 gears
Interior of Genesis G70 passenger and driver seats

From August, Genesis will be offering come-to-you test drives anywhere in the Melbourne metro area.



That weight and a lack of stop-start engine shutdown technology take the gloss off fuel economy, too, the G70 2.0T slurping up to nine litres of premium unleaded every 100 kilometres, according to government-derived figures.

That thirst sneaks into double digits in the 3.3T (10.2L/100km), which uses the same fiery 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 out of the Stinger from sister brand Kia.

It’s a mighty unit, mustering 272kW and 510Nm for a big step up in potency. Acceleration to 100kmh takes as little as 4.7 seconds, the grunt coming on early and freneticism maintained throughout the rev range.

The standard eight-speed automatic is decisive in its shifts, but it lacks the smarts to hold a ratio when it makes sense; on and off the throttle between bends, for example.

All but the base 2.0T get grippy 19-inch Michelin tyres that make the most of a well-balanced, brisk machine. Precise and predictable steering points the nose smartly and classy poise maintains the composure mid-corner. Push on and the G70 has serious talent, its maturity in disposing of bumps without a jarring ride reinforcing the engineering efforts that have created an engaging, competent machine. 

All of which adds up to an impressive – albeit occasionally underwhelming – debut for the latest luxury newcomer.

Just don’t go looking for Genesis dealerships. There’s only a single ‘studio’ in the Sydney CBD for now, with one to follow in 2020 in the Melbourne CBD. From August, Genesis will be offering come-to-you test drives anywhere in the Melbourne metro area.

Close up of an engine in a Genesis G70
Close up of side front mirror on Genesis G70

With 179kW and 353Nm the 2.0-litre turbo in 2.0T models is eager and flexible.


Genesis G70 2.0T

Genesis G70 3.3T

PRICE

Price as tested: $69,300 plus $6800 on-road costs (estimated). 
Model range: $59,300-$69,300 plus on-road costs.

Price as tested: $74,950 plus $7000 on-road costs (estimated). 
Model range: $72,450-$79,950 plus on-road costs.

DRIVETRAIN

2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive. 
Power: 179kW@6200rpm. 
Torque: 353Nm@1400-3500rpm. 
Tyres: 225/40/R19 (f), 255/35R19.

3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo, eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive. 
Power: 272kW@6000rpm 
Torque: 510Nm@1300-4500rpm. 
Tyres: 225/40/R19 (f), 255/35R19.

FUEL

95 RON petrol, 60-litre tank. 
Consumption: 9.0L/100km (government test). 
CO2 emissions: 199g/km to 205g/km.

95 RON petrol, 60-litre tank
Consumption: 10.2L/100km (government test). 
CO2 emissions: 238g/km.

STANDARD SAFETY

Seven airbags, blind-spot warning, driver-attention alert, auto high beam, lane-keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, active bonnet, tyre-pressure monitors, active bonnet.

(Safety features additional to the G70 2.0T)

Larger Brembo brakes.

STANDARD FEATURES

8.0-inch infotainment screen, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, nine-speaker audio, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, heated and electrically operated front seats, heated and auto folding exterior mirrors, DAB+ digital radio, wireless smartphone charger, keyless entry and start, LED headlights.

(Standard features additional to the G70 2.0T)

Various trim and design changes, adjustable dampers, 19-inch alloy wheels, alloy pedals, sports instrument cluster, limited slip differential.

WARRANTY/SERVICES

Five years/unlimited-kilometre warranty. 
Free servicing for five years or 75,000 kilometres; service intervals every 15,000 kilometres or 12 months.

Five years/unlimited-kilometre warranty. 
Free servicing for five years or 50,000 kilometres; service intervals every 10,000 kilometres or 12 months.