GENESIS AND REVELATION?
KOREA’S LUX0-SPORT MID-SIZER IS OUT TO TAKE ON THE WORLD. FIRST STOP, THE WHEELS GARAGE
THE DRIVER of the white Kia Stinger pulled alongside me in the cafe car park, an expensive racing bicycle fastened to racks on his roof. I noticed his eyes drinking in the profile of the Genesis G70, admiring the luscious, tri-coat metallic Havana Red paint and stylish, black-chrome 19-inch wheels. “Nice car, mate; the V6?” he asked. I nodded. Then came the kicker: “So you bought the one in the dinner jacket, eh?”
There was no malice in his quip; more just a joking observation that he knew his Stinger and my new long-term G70 were cuddling Korean cousins.
But hopefully this bloke is in a minority, because if you’re a company like Hyundai, embarking on the monumental task of establishing a global premium brand, you could probably do without people associating your debut sports sedan with the circa-$20K cheaper offering from sister company Kia. But did the pedal-pushing Stinger driver have a point? This G70, which I’ll be running for the next six months, and priced at $79,950 in top-spec Ultimate Sport guise, does share a platform, engine, gearbox and plenty of other hardware and systems with the two upper-spec Stingers, priced at $50,190 and $60,790 respectively. So yes, part of my mission will be to establish just how successfully the G70 distinguishes itself from its group stablemate. Of greater relevance, though, given Genesis’s brand positioning, is how the G70 rates as an ownership/value proposition compared to a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, or the local segment king, the Mercedes C-Class.
So how does the Genesis stand up to the showroom-browser test against the
established Euros? My first impressions are positive, with a couple of caveats. The front seats are brilliant, with fantastic adjustable under-thigh support, and their perforated leather, with red diamond-pattern stitching, feels premium, as do the generous splashes of aluminium trim around the logically laid-out cabin.
Less impressive is the dinky
8.0-inch multimedia screen and its basic-looking graphics. There’s nothing wrong with the system’s functionality, but given how important this feature is to buyers, especially those in the premium segment, I’m mystified how Genesis thought such a budget-looking installation was going to cut it.
In terms of equipment, I’m yet to notice anything missing that I’d consider of real value. There’s no auto-parking function, which I’d never use, nor any kind of pilot-assist self-driving system, which would likewise be a mere novelty item. The stuff I do really care about – a legible head-up display with speed-sign recognition, heated and cooled front seats, and a belter of an audio system from Lexicon, with 660w of amplification and subwoofers (mounted here in the floor under the front seats) – is all present. The only option for lesser G70 models is a sunroof; in this spec it’s standard, meaning there’s nothing for buyers to consider adding.
First driving impression is how well the refinement brief has been nailed. At idle, the seat cooling fans are more audible than the engine, and on the move in normal driving, it remains silken and super hushed. The calibration of the eight-speed auto is nicely intuitive in Comfort mode, and there’s a shedload of torque – the V6 feels stronger than the figure of 510Nm suggests. I’m also cheering that the low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber doesn’t incessantly convey every surface imperfection into the cabin. The ride has real compliance and isolation.
I’m looking forward to a full exploration of the G70’s sporting cred in a few weeks on a drive up to Forster, about 3.5 hours north of Sydney, which will take in the blissfully bendy Lakes Way. I’m excited not just to have a proper pedal, but also because I’ll be collecting a very precious bit of cargo. Actually, if Jake and Elwood Blues had a dyslexic brother, he may have even paused to observe, “We’re on a mission from dog…”
It’s early days, but so far life’s a beach with the G70, which is loaded with standard equipment – no options in this Ultimate Sport spec – and packs potent V6 twin-turbo punch