Starting at Only $35,895
The Upstart Genesis G70 Is a Truly Worthy BMW Competitor (Updated with Pricing)
Updated September 19, 2018: Genesis has released pricing figures for the G70 sedan’s six trim levels: Advanced, Elite, Prestige, Dynamic, Sport M/T (manual transmission) and Sport. The entry-level car, dubbed 2.0T Advanced, sports a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four and will start at just $35,895.
Other trim levels feature a combination of the 2.0 turbo or a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6, automatic or manual transmissions and all-wheel drive. AWD will be a $2,000 option on all trims but is not available with the manual transmission. At the top of the price spectrum will be the Sport trim level car equipped with the V6 — the 3.3T Sport — which will cost $50,495.
You’ll read below that the G70 is a direct competitor to the likes of BMW’s 3-Series. Car and Driver points out that the G70 prices above also reflect over a $5,000 discount compared to comparable BMW cars. That’s… significant.
The Genesis G70 will be available in dealerships this week.
The bold run at the premium-luxury segment from South Korea’s Genesis continues with the mid-sized G70, a spry and sporty model that in no way feels like the product of a novice carmaker. It’s just too good.
Of course, it’s not really a novice carmaker. The young brand — this is its third vehicle, and third sedan, in as many years — has the not-insignificant business chops, deep engineering bench and hefty funding of Hyundai Motors behind it, as well as the benefit of having had that parent company take the learning-curve hit with its largely unsuccessful (in the U.S. anyway) Equus sedan over the last decade. But still, it’s entering a ridiculously tough venue. Going up against the likes of Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes for U.S. dollars — carmakers that are giving our own hometown heroes Cadillac and Lincoln plenty of grief — leaves very little margin for error. There can be no mistakes with their cars, no weak spots whatsoever in design, build or performance.
Has the G70, available in both a twin-turbo V6 or a turbocharged inline-four, got the chops to run with the big dogs — or, more specifically, the mid-sized dogs — in the shape of the BMW 3, the Mercedes C-Class, and Audi’s A4? Yeah, frankly, it does.
The Good: This is the lowest and widest car in its class, which means the seating position — also unusually low within the car — lends a true sports-car feel to the drive. It’s the first thing I noticed when I got in, and it generated an immediate visceral effect. It just felt right. The second thing I noticed: How that low center of gravity impacts handling. The car feels terrifically flat and steady, thanks in part to that quality. The visibility is also great, thanks to its modest A-pillars, the downward-curving hood and the increased road view generated by — again — that low stance. Also, I’m a big fan of the buttery-smooth six-speed manual transmission. It’s a rare treat in a mid-sized sedan these days — or any car, for that matter — and Genesis insiders confide there’s no business case for it. But it’s such a pleasure, and absolutely among the last truly modern cars you’ll be able to find with one. If the realities of sharing your car with friends and family preclude going all-in on rowing your own, the automatic is perfectly crisp and responsive, especially with the paddle shifters employed.
Who They’re For: The line-topping G90 two steps above the G70 is a proper luxury cruiser — a chauffer-ready waft-mobile that, like its S-Class, A8, and 7-Series counterparts — will ensure that you arrive at work refreshed. You’ll be in a safe place; cared for, with that glint of well-being in your eye. Good for you! The mid-range G80 — shorter, spryer-er — will energize you for your work day. You’ll arrive ready to take on the world, kick butt and still be your best self. With the G70 — well, you just won’t show up for work at all. Screw that. This is a driver’s car, so that’s what you’re going to do with it.
Watch Out For: The optional perforated, quilted, contrast-stitched leather seats look fantastic, but draw grit, crumbs and general schmutz like nobody’s business. Other than that, there’s precious little to complain about with this car, which is a testament to the seriousness with which Genesis is taking its craft.
Alternatives: As mentioned, this car is aimed squarely at the Audi A4, the Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 3-Series, so that’s your direct competitive set. But there are plenty more options, including the Cadillac ATS and ATS-V, the Lexus IS, the Acura ILX or TLX and even the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Indeed, those infernal crossovers aside, this is still the hottest segment among true driving enthusiasts.
Review: I drove the G70 in and around Monterey, California, during the annual Pebble Beach Concourse D’Elegance car show in late August. As you may know, this show — once primarily a vintage car show — is now ground zero for car porn of all stripes, from the classics to the rediscovered sleepers up through the mega-hypercars of today. My point is that there are plenty of cars to admire and ogle while here — yet somehow, this admittedly relatively mainstream luxe ride still drew its share of eyeballs. Partially that’s because people have known the car was coming, and my borrowed samples were among the first in public. (At least three gaggles of car nuts queried me about it, beyond the appreciative glances I received while driving.) But the other part of the equation is that it’s simply a lovely car, with nice proportions, clean lines and enough character to set it apart. The low and wide stance and the powerful grille also give it a subtly aggressive exterior look. People genuinely seemed to dig the car, and that bodes very well for it.
Of course, there’s only so much supercar traffic I can take, so I headed for Big Sur every chance I got. There the demanding curves — largely absent of traffic in the wee hours of Saturday morning — proved a fine match for the G70. Its light weight made it feel tossable without feeling like you couldn’t reel it back in when you needed, and its electrically assisted steering and responsive transmission, whether the manual or the automatic — I took each down there — were always ready to power me out of the turns, with the manual’s well-modulated clutch release effortlessly synced up and completely absent any audible or haptic hiccups during those rare moments of hesitation, while, say, second-guessing your gear selection and slipping into and then immediately out of one on the fly. That’s when you risk embarrassing yourself. The G70 never embarrassed me.
Both engines were easy to enjoy, with the four-cylinder producing barely any lag even if its 260 lb-ft of torque couldn’t quite keep up with the 376 lb-ft in the V6. Still, they each acquitted themselves well, if slightly differently, in the more dynamic stretches of CA-1. Both engines come with an AWD option, which can transfer power almost entirely to the rear wheels as necessary to maintain traction. You also have multiple modes depending on the model you get — including Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Custom — and there’s even have a launch control function in the rear-drive automatics.
Inside, the nicely firm leather and supportive seats kept me as planted as the car in Big Sur, and the overall quality is exceptional — easily competitive with the class-leaders from Germany. The 15-speaker, 600-watt Lexicon audio system, cranking from both my iPhone and Sirius XM, generated a robust and satisfying audio experience for my solo bombing runs down to Le Grande Sur, as nobody in their right mind actually calls it. The audio system has about as many modes as the car itself, which in turn has its own mix of trim levels available, including Advanced — counterintuitively, the base model — Elite and Prestige. So pay attention to what you’re doing when ordering (and driving) this car.
Verdict: Genesis has taken an interesting strategy in its lineup rollout. First, hit all three sedans, then the SUVs and crossovers — three of which are due by 2021 — that seem to be fueling so much demand among consumers. That means that, in short, if it can build its base with customers excited about what many argue is a fading body style — and, in fact, cut its teeth on that style — the SUVs and crossovers could be titanic home runs. What does that mean for the G70? Well, it means the third one is the charm, to twist a phrase, and this car has plenty of charm.
What Others Are Saying:
• “Lighter and nimbler than the Kia, it’s also more handsomely designed and better executed throughout. Its solid chassis, refined demeanor, and vice-free behavior when pressed hard all measure up to the high standards that prevail in this class.” — Kevin Wilson, Car and Driver
• “The V6 is the same engine used in the Genesis G80 Sport and Kia Stinger, but this may be the best application of it yet. The G70 is lighter than the other cars, and its chassis is well equipped to handle the engine’s power. The base four-cylinder engine is less thrilling, providing only adequate thrust. But that engine is available with the manual transmission and, because the four-banger weighs less than the V6, the front end feels more responsive in corners. So, while the V6 is more thrilling in a straight line, the four-cylinder offers a more rewarding overall driving experience.” — Stephen Edelstein, Digital Trends
• “So, the new 2019 Genesis G70 checks all the major luxury sport sedan boxes with attractive styling, a well-trimmed cabin filled with tech and extremely capable performance chops. But the question remains: Will it matter? To those who hold brand prestige in high regard, it likely won’t, because nothing will be able to rip them away from the Audi rings, BMW roundel or Mercedes three-pointed star. But for those looking to break from the crowd and want a genuinely competitive alternative, the G70 is certainly worth your consideration.” — Jon Wong, CNET Roadshow
Specifications: 2019 Genesis G70
Engines: DOHC turbocharged inline four-cylinder; twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic; 6-speed manual (2-liter only)
Horsepower: 252; 365
Torque: 260 lb-ft; 376 lb-ft
Weight: 3,580 lbs (RWD 2-liter) up to 3,887 lbs (AWD V6)
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