The Genesis G70 3.3T Sport Is Flat-Out Good

Brick by brick and model by model, Genesis is making quite a name for itself.

Arthur St. Antoinewriter, photographer

The new G70 3.3T Sport from Hyundai's upmarket Genesis division shares its underpinnings and powertrain with the Kia Stinger GT, but it's not a clone. The G70 rides on a wheelbase truncated by three inches, while its overall length is nearly half a foot shorter than the Kia's. The Genesis is slightly lighter, too. The result is a nimbler, even sweeter car.

My first observation of the G70 after a few minutes behind the wheel: It represents a refreshing departure from today's norm of using fiddly screens instead of simple buttons. The Genesis does have a big central display—a clear and quick-responding touchscreen—but it's well supplemented with knobs and buttons for the climate-control system, switches and knurled rotary controls on the wheel, and a helpful row of tabs on the center of the dash that can take you straight to main sections of the infotainment system, such as "Radio" or "Nav." As for the touchscreen itself, it's intuitive to use. There's nothing frustrating about interacting with this vehicle—and that's something you can't say about a lot of modern luxury sport sedans.

The cockpit is richly appointed and loaded with technology. Quilted Nappa leather graces the seats and the doors while aluminum accents tastefully trim the dash and center console. Standard convenience features include proximity entry with pushbutton start, heated and ventilated front seats, a 15-speaker Lexicon premium surround-sound audio system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The standard safety gear is comprehensive, too: everything from lane-keep assist to blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic collision warning, and forward collision-avoidance assist. Beefy Brembo brakes and a limited slip are here, as well.

My test car also boasted the Elite package ($1,750), adding such extras as park-distance control and a large sunroof; the Prestige package ($2,500), which brings the Nappa leather, a head-up display, a surround-view monitor, and heated rear seats; and the Sport package ($1,500), whose additions include an electronically controlled adaptive suspension and 19-inch wheels clad in Michelin PS4 summer rubber.

The G70 is clearly intended as a BMW 3 Series fighter. It's nearly identical in size, and while a direct Genesis competitor to the mighty M3 isn't available (or even in the works), the 3.3T is no slouch. Under the hood lies the same twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 that serves in the Stinger GT; it's good for 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque—enough to rocket the car from zero to 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds. An eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters is standard. The powertrain feels plenty gutsy, pulling hard from low revs and winding out to its 7,000-rpm redline with an exhilarating howl. For those who live in snowy climes, an all-wheel-drive system is available, but on dry Los Angeles pavement my rear-drive test car had no issues putting down the power.

Switching into Sport mode livens up the proceedings. Immediately you feel the engine note speak up, the throttle become far more insistent, and the suspension firm up considerably. Frankly, it firms up too much. Over anything but billiard-table-smooth asphalt, the ride is unnecessarily taut, even jarring. I say "unnecessarily" because in Comfort mode the ride is smoother but the chassis still displays gobs of stick. You'd probably only want to use the Sport suspension setting on a track. Fortunately, a Custom setting allows you to adjust the various parameters (steering, throttle, suspension, etc.) independently—you can have, say, the dialed-back suspension and the dialed-up throttle. Set up that way, I made a few blitzes through my favorite stretches of SoCal twisties, and the G70 Sport shined. It's neutral on turn-in, doesn't roll much, hangs on tenaciously through turns, and stops with plenty of power (credit those Brembos). Using the shift paddles, the eight-speed isn't the quickest unit to respond to downshift requests, but it's still enjoyable to use. Steering feel is excellent, with nice weighting. Much as I enjoy pushing the Stinger GT, I like the G70 Sport more.

Perhaps the best news is that the G70 switches personalities with ease. Finished with my string of mountain passes, I cruised home on the highway in Eco mode, the engine muted, the shifter unobtrusively managing the torque, the excellent Lexicon audio system filling the cabin with sonic splendor. The G70's cockpit is comfortable and, when you want it to be, relaxing. Rear-seat legroom isn't stellar on that shortened wheelbase, but it's respectable. The trunk is big enough for a bag or two of golf clubs. Oh, and the standard Smart Cruise Control system was handling all the throttle and braking chores when I came upon a long stretch of stop-and-go traffic. The system can bring the car to a complete stop and then get it going again, all on its own. Nice.

Starting at under $45,000 and just over $50K for my well-equipped example, the G70 Sport is an impressive value. It's tightly built, good-looking, quick, luxurious, and brimming with amenities and safety tech. It represents a solid value against a comparably equipped regular 3 Series, the 330i version of which couldn't touch the G70 in a stoplight romp. While the 425-horse M3 is considerably quicker and racier, it starts at more than $67,000.

As my time with the G70 Sport confirms, brick by brick, model by model, the Genesis division is building an enviable name for itself.

2019 Genesis G70 RWD 3.3T Sport Manual Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $44,675/$50,495 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 3.3L DOHC 24-valve twin-turbo V-6; 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT  4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, RWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 18/26 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H  184.5 x 72.8 x 55.1 in
WHEELBASE 111.6 in
WEIGHT 3,800 lb (est)
0-60 MPH 4.6 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 155 mph (est)
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