Genesis G70Luxury without the eye watering
It’s very early Sunday morning and, as the cloak of darkness fades, dawn’s light hardens the soft silhouettes of buildings and trees. I swallow my last mouthful of coffee and slip on a leather jacket before heading into the crisp morning air. Picking up the elegant key fob from the coffee table and glancing out the window, I couldn’t help but admire the long coquettish outline of the hellion parked in the driveway.
Neither British nor German, yet it captures the best design elements of both. As a predator surveys its surroundings, its muscular stance, long bonnet, and short overhangs solicit attention. As the morning dew covering its glossy outer surface transitioned into a mystical vapour, slowly rising off the bonnet and the roofline, I wondered if this latest Genesis G70 was a genuine rebirth that had finally closed the gap on Euro’s elite.
With a little nip and tuck to complete the makeover from its predecessor, it offers distinctive split-level front headlights and taillamps, an integrated dovetail rear deck, dual exhaust tips and lower diffuser, plus gorgeous dark 19” rims, low-profile tyres and red Brembo brakes. The prodigious diamond weave black shield grille, large ominous lower air intake for the intercooler and vents on the front quarter panels for brake cooling, all accentuate the G70’s athleticism and suggest an aggressive challenge to European dominance.
While Genesis might not yet surpass Euro’s elitist benchmarks, it is well positioned to be considered worthy of a comparison; especially at the attractive price point of $86,000 MLP for the G70 3.3T SPORT LUX.
Unlock the vehicle via the captive-touch body-coloured door handles and the heated and auto dimming side mirrors unfold outward. Pull open the driver’s door and the first impression is one of resplendent luxury.
Both the heated and cooled front seats, along with the rear seats, have soft quilted leather inserts, with matching highlight door panel inlays. Nappa leather covers the seat bolsters, upper console panels, and mid-dash facia to complete the opulent style that is distinctly Genesis. Artful placement of elegant metal and satin chrome highlights throughout the cabin, some having special unique swirl patterns, adorn the interior and cover various switch controls, advocating this vehicle’s sporty nature.
But it’s the functionality that is appreciated, and I’m referring to the usability of the vehicle’s features. Genesis has paid careful attention to the critical aspect of driver to vehicle interaction. There are large rotary dials for rapid and intuitive operation of heating and cooling, an array of well-placed shortcut buttons for quick access to commonly used functions, with the digital touch screen for a menu driven graphical user interface. And they’ve done it in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.
The touch screen is larger, with a 10.25inch display; and the revised interface provides a more uniquely Genesis look and feel. It’s reasonably quick to respond, and the menu options are intuitive, making it easy to navigate. Plus, it now has over the air ATO updates for the navigation system.
There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as you’d expect, however, no wireless connectivity—disappointing on a vehicle of this calibre.
The voice recognition system didn’t like me at first, but we eventually got things sorted, after my wife told me to stop mumbling!
Front seating is where I award extra points. The seats are not only comfortable; I love the fact the bolsters will move inward to hug you in a tighter embrace when dialling in Sport+ mode. The seating position is also noteworthy. Yes, there’s lots of power adjustment for those who incessantly fiddle—but what I mean is that you sit in the Genesis and not on it. This naturally lifts your chin upward, allowing you to focus on reading the road ahead as opposed to staring at what’s just in front of you. This is a vehicle you enjoy wearing and not just riding in.
I like the convenience of a valet mode and the 360-degree view camera is superb. Especially when parking as the seductive tapered roof line and curved C-pillars impede rear corner visibility slightly.
Rear seating is comfortable, but not what I’d call roomy. Should someone be sitting directly behind you, do not start lowering your seat to get that perfect driver-focused seating position. The yell will typically occur just before you peg your passenger’s toes to the floor.
Head room is OK but not stellar, and Genesis has scalloped out the back of the front seats to provide a modicum of additional kneecap clearance. Speaking of kneecaps… Why are we persisting with shin-cooling AC vents in the back of the console, when we know it’s possible to place them in the roof lining or on the mid-section of the B-pillar for much better effect?
As for other practicalities; connectivity wise, there’s a 15W wireless phone charger, 12v cig socket and USB A in the front, an additional under the console lid with a single USB in the rear. For storage, there are mesh rear map pockets and door bins all round with dual morning Java holders front plus rear holders in the arm rest.
At the tail end, if you have the lux pack installed, just press the electric boot lift to open things up, although it isn’t overly endowed with storage at only 330 litres. But let’s be honest. If I’m buying a G70, it’s most likely because I want one, not because I need to carry passengers and luggage all the time. It’s a bonus to stash a small suitcase or a couple of overnight bags.
Note that if you need to cater for a family and the necessity of practicality outweighs personal indulgence, then don’t despair, because you can have the gorgeous G70 styling and savoir faire, along with practicality, in the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake.
Get behind the nicely sized three-spoked leather clad steering wheel, honker down into the leather seating, close the door, and click on the belt.
The instrumentation panel is a crisp 12.3” 3D virtual instrument cluster providing a good array of vehicle information which changes in appearance to suit the various driver modes ECO, Comfort, Sport, and my favourite Sport +. There’s also a custom option if you like to make your own selections.
This is all accomplished by rotating the stylish and tactile knurled rotary knob ergonomically located within easy driver’s reach in the centre console.
With eager anticipation given the voluptuous interior, alloy racing pedals and seductive outward body curves, you press the start button and… there’s an anti-climactic muted, somewhat flat, exhaust note, as the G70 mumbles into life.
Although, truth be known, I came to appreciate the subdued enthusiasm, as it allowed me to sneak off early in the morning without raising eyebrows.
Around town, in stop-start traffic, comfort mode allows the G70 to waft along in a relaxed manner.
The laminated side and front glass keep external traffic noise to a minimum, allowing you to enjoy the audio system and stay calm in stressful peak hour traffic.
ECO mode is pretty much self-explanatory, with vehicle systems being optimised for maximum efficiency and economy.
Sport is where things get a little more entertaining. As the instrument cluster changes colour, the vehicle awakens and responds attentively to driver input. Yet it’s not too abrupt or aggressive during daily commutes, where having a little fun breaks the monotony. And you really appreciate the tractability of the V6’s broad torque cure to pull effortlessly from low speed in a relaxed manner.
Sport+ is not so forgiving. Off come the gloves, and it’s too aggressive for suburbia.
Get free of the city confines and onto the open road with higher permissible speed limits where you can enjoy engaging the paddle shifters for direct control.
You instantly notice gear changes become brusque and throttle response is pugnacious. There’s no doubt the G70 has ripped the covers off its muscular 3.3liter twin turbo V6 to unleash eye-widening acceleration of 0-100kph in just 4.7’s generated by the hefty 274kW of thrust and a lusty 510Nm of tyre punishing torque.
Straight line acceleration means the ever-widening smile on your face is equally and oppositely proportional to the rapidly consumed distance in front of you.
Gearing down in rapid succession and assertively pushing the brake pedal deep into the foot well, the Brembo brakes respond in kind, with unyielding tenacity as they grip the large disc rotors to arrest the G70’s momentum before entering the corner, providing a reassuring confidence to explore the G70 talents in short bursts.
On rougher surfaces of dubious quality, the adaptive suspension works feverishly. Utilising a number of sensors it measures cornering forces, steering input, throttle application and, based on which drive mode you’ve engaged, it will optimise the damping force by changing the compression and rebound response independently on each wheel to compensate for changing surface conditions. Peg the throttle on exiting the corner, and the upgraded dual-mode variable exhaust provides a pleasing rasp with each up shift. The tacho and speedo synchronise in a rapid, choreographed and coordinated upwards swing.
A quick twist of the dial to comfort mode, and the G70’s ebullient nature quickly recedes as its settles back into a relaxed calm cruise of a luxury saloon, suitably fashionable as you enter through the front gates to an elegant winery for lunch with friends on the lake.
When it comes to safety, a vehicle of this calibre having a full ANCAP five-star rating is pretty much a given. There is a long list of the latest safety tech, as the Genesis G70 is one vehicle that will appease discerning owners with high standards.
If you want a great looking car that’s powerful and quick, is superbly appointed and, at this price point, really stacks up the value for money; then the G70 ticks all the check boxes. There is no argument the G70 is a comfortable vehicle to drive, it is luxuriously finished, and its lavish body contours will turn heads.
The G70 absolutely does not disappoint, and it has a cracking personality hidden within its highly polished veneer.
But it is trying to be the best of compromises, to be everything to everyone. It’s promoted as a mid-sized, rear wheel drive, hard-edged performance sedan. But it presents as a luxurious and opulently appointed saloon. While one is not mutually exclusive of the other; trying to do both tends to blur the best and most desirable attributes for either.
So, what’s the catch?
I’m not sure there is one as I’m being very pernickety by holding Genesis to their own very high standards. But there is a nuance of subtle difference in execution of these two attributes. Having to walk the line means that sometimes the G70 feels a little too insular and refined as a performance sedan.
By insulating the driver, it’s shy when displaying the quirks and idiosyncrasies that make it fun, perhaps due to unwarranted fear of being seen as too hard-edged for a luxury saloon.
Perfecting the level of balance and refinement in a constantly evolving product only comes from decades of R&D and engineering experience. But Genesis is clearly focussed on meeting or exceeding the benchmark of having every element of the vehicle’s design, engineering and manufacturing achieve perfect synergy.
Make no mistake, that margin is ever smaller and the Genesis G70 is punching very close to the benchmark standard for luxury motoring and pure driver engagement.
Best of all it’s at a price point that will make Europe’s finest wince.
Model: G70 3.3T SPORT LUX
- Manufacturer’s List Price: $86,000
- Engine: 3.3L Twin Turbo V6
- Output: 274kW/510Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Safety Rating: ANCAP 5 Stars
About our Motoring Editor: Ray has been passionate about all things automotive since he first started collecting Matchbox and Hot Wheels models when he was five. Since leaving his executive role at General Motors (GM), he’s been sharing his driving experiences with Australian audiences for nearly 20 years, commencing his automotive journalist career with a popular WA-based magazine and was writing his own column in The West Australian for 8 years.
Ray’s strong love of automotive engineering and clever design has seen his articles and photography featured in prominent national magazines in Australia and the UK. He loves sharing his passion with other drivers, including via a long running stint as Senior Instructor for Land Rover Experience, providing training and education for new vehicle owners.
Recently Ray has been presenting on TV shows including Ready for Adventure and the very popular Caravan and Camping WA, to showcase some of the great products, vehicles and companies that make getting out and exploring Western Australia that much more enjoyable.