Sport sedan is the real deal — it doesn’t dis­ap­point

Car Re­view: 2019 Ge­n­e­sis G70 3.3T Sport AWD

The Observer (Sarnia) - - DRIVING - NICK TRAGIANIS DRIV­ING.CA

Pre­mium com­pact sport sedans might not sell in big num­bers, but they surely are a hall­mark of le­git­i­macy. It seems man­u­fac­tur­ers have been chas­ing the BMW 3 Se­ries — ar­guably the gold stan­dard — for decades, with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess.

Say hello to the lat­est up­start, the Ge­n­e­sis G70. Ah, but this ef­fort is not such much a shot over the bow as a punch to the so­lar plexus. It’s the real deal.

You could never ac­cuse the South Kore­ans of sit­ting on their lau­rels when it comes to au­to­mo­tive pur­suits. Ge­n­e­sis is now a stand-alone lux­ury brand and its grand de­sign with this all-new G70 is to mus­cle in on the Mercedes-Benz C Class, BMW 3 Se­ries and Audi A4. The brand has snagged some ma­jor tal­ent from Ger­many, in­clud­ing chas­sis guru Al­bert Bier­mann from BMW’s per­for­mance M divi­sion. Chas­sis tun­ing is the piece of the puz­zle that the Kore­ans, up un­til now, just couldn’t crack.

Bier­mann has his fin­ger­prints all over the G70. What­ever Hyundai is pay­ing him (and you know it’s a lot), is money well spent. The Ge­n­e­sis G70 ex­hibits poise, com­pli­ance, and body con­trol that puts it at the head of the class. It’s de­cid­edly sport­ing yet equally re­fined and com­fort­able, and that is the kind of alchemy that money ap­par­ently can buy.

Un­like BMW et al, Ge­n­e­sis does not pick the buyer’s pock­ets with a litany of “re­quired” pack­ages and op­tions that quickly swell the bot­tom line. This top-spec G70 3.3T Sport AWD has an all-in price of $57,500 (des­ti­na­tion charge in­cluded), and for that sum you’re get­ting a whack of kit, start­ing with a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes a class-lead­ing 365 horse­power and 376 pound-feet of torque from 1,300 rpm. A brainy eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with pad­dle shifters does the cog swap­ping, and power gets to the pave­ment though 19-inch wheels wear­ing 225/40R19 (front) and 255/35R19 (rear) Miche­lin Pi­lot Sport PS4 sum­mer tires.

Other stan­dard good­ies in­clude LED head­lights with cor­ner­ing func­tion, launch con­trol, adap­tive damp­ing, me­chan­i­cal lim­it­ed­slip dif­fer­en­tial, Brembo brakes and torque vec­tor­ing. There are five drive modes (Eco, Com­fort, Smart, Sport and In­di­vid­ual) that tai­lor throt­tle re­sponse, steer­ing feel, trans­mis­sion map­ping, sta­bil­ity-con­trol func­tion, and adap­tive damp­ing. Se­lect­ing Sport mode also has the driver’s seat’s in­flat­able side bol­sters of­fer­ing a snug em­brace. Nice.

Crea­ture com­forts in­clude heated steer­ing wheel, heated rear seats, heated/ven­ti­lated 16-way front seats, and a 15-speaker Lex­i­con sur­round-sound sys­tem to die for. No CD slot, though. On the safety front, Ge­n­e­sis be­stows it all: blindspot warn­ing, head-up dis­play, rear cross-traf­fic alert, adap­tive cruise with stop and go, for­ward-col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion, lane-keep warn­ing and lane-keep as­sist.

Of course, pre­mium sport sedans have to be so much more than a list of fea­tures, and while this Ge­n­e­sis G70 3.3T Sport AWD can be le­git­i­mately clas­si­fied as an ex­cel­lent value propo­si­tion, there’s never any ques­tion of its le­git­i­macy to hang with the big boys.

First off, it’s very quick. To get this kind of out­put in a BMW, MercedesBenz or Audi, you’d be look­ing at the semi-hot M Sport, AMG and S vari­ants, re­spec­tively. A sim­i­larly op­tioned 362-hp Mercedes-AMG C43 costs about $15,000 more.

I did get to drive the G70 on Hyundai’s chal­leng­ing test track in Korea last year, and its chas­sis acu­men does not fade when re­ally ham­mer­ing on. Bier­mann was at the event, and said with a boy­ish grin, “I burned a lot of tires get­ting the chas­sis where I wanted it.”

In­side, the G70’s cabin im­presses with ex­quis­ite build, high qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and lovely de­tail­ing. The seats show a su­perb blend of com­fort and sup­port; here in top spec they are quilted Nappa leather. Bier­mann’s ob­ses­sion with driv­ing po­si­tion pays div­i­dends in this area as well: it’s an in­ti­mate cock­pit with ide­ally placed con­trols.

The dash is dom­i­nated by an eight-inch touch screen sup­port­ing An­droid Auto and Ap­ple CarPlay, and ku­dos to Ge­n­e­sis for its log­i­cal er­gonomics and well-marked but­tons. For once I don’t have to harp on the in­dus­try’s ob­ses­sion with ob­tuse, dis­tract­ing and dan­ger­ous touch-screen in­ter­faces.

The G70 is a hand­some sedan, if not par­tic­u­larly dis­tinc­tive, here spruced up with dark chrome trim. Its mus­cu­lar rear haunches are rem­i­nis­cent of cer­tain BMW sedans, and the snout is dom­i­nated by the Ge­n­e­sis cor­po­rate grille and a flurry of hun­gry air in­takes. Lat­eral LED sweeps within the head­lights in­tro­duce a new de­sign theme for the brand.

While its ex­te­rior di­men­sions are some of the most gen­er­ous in the seg­ment, back-seat room is tight and the trunk is dis­ap­point­ingly shal­low.

No ques­tion, the Ge­n­e­sis G70 has the goods to chal­lenge the Ger­man es­tab­lish­ment, and this com­pre­hen­sively equipped 3.3 Sport AWD model’s all-in price of $57,500 makes for a hel­luva bar­gain. Yet per­haps the en­gi­neer­ing of this im­pres­sively co­he­sive car was the easy part. The big­gest hur­dle will be con­vinc­ing the bran­dob­sessed sport-sedan clien­tele to give it a shot. Those who do will not be dis­ap­pointed.

PE­TER BLEAKNEY/DRIV­ING.CA

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