PAS­SION­ATE EX­E­CU­TION

Automobile - - Design -

AS WE EXIT our ho­tel in the 123-story Lotte World Tower, four day­time run­ning lights—the new Gen­e­sis sig­na­ture—wink at us in the early dim­ness, as if ad­vis­ing us of the three-hour drive ahead.

Our des­ti­na­tion: Inje Speed­ium, a 2.4-mile cir­cuit in the north­east­ern moun­tains out­side the South Korean cap­i­tal. Our ride: the all-new Gen­e­sis G70 Sport, specif­i­cally a twin­turbo 3.3-liter V-6 model with an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and all-wheel drive. Af­ter run­ning our hands over the G70’s flared hood and creased sides, we climb into the driver’s seat.

Like the body de­sign, the G70’s in­te­rior is con­ven­tional but well ex­e­cuted with quilted leather up­hol­stery and beau­ti­ful alu­minum trim. An 8.0-inch touch­screen dom­i­nates from its perch atop the dash. Grasp­ing the wheel and mov­ing the stubby shifter into drive, we cross Jam­sil Bridge over the Han River and leave town on an ex­press­way. Gen­e­sis is mak­ing much ado about its Ac­tive Sound De­sign cre­at­ing “an au­ral char­ac­ter that re­flects the en­gine load and driv­ing-mode set­tings.” De­part­ing the city in Com­fort mode, we feel iso­lated from the sprawl­ing Seoul area’s teem­ing mil­lions. So far this is a quiet car.

Thanks in part to the 365 horse­power gen­er­ated by the V-6, Gen­e­sis says the G70 will go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 sec­onds in rear-wheel-drive con­fig­u­ra­tion, though our all­wheel-drive tester is likely a cou­ple of ticks quicker. There will also be a 2.0-liter tur­bocharged four-cylin­der model mak­ing 249 hp, and the pos­si­bil­ity of a six-speed man­ual

trans­mis­sion is on many lips. A Dy­namic edi­tion is also com­ing to the U.S. at model in­tro­duc­tion with Pilot Sport 4S rub­ber, torque vec­tor­ing, and a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial.

To make a bold state­ment, the G70 sports a large grille of mesh­ing di­a­monds. An ad­ven­tur­ous pair of front-cor­ner air in­takes also ar­rests the eye. Rec­og­niz­abil­ity is a must, and the G70 scores above the 90th per­centile on this as­pect. There’s no con­fus­ing it for an Acura or a BMW. It has some swag­ger, and it’s the widest car in the seg­ment, we’re told.

Its de­sign is dis­tinc­tive and cor­rect, with a beau­ti­ful sweep­ing roofline and a touch of fe­lin­ity in the front three­quar­ters view. Some might snipe about the trou­ble­some chrome chevron on each front fender or the rear view’s sug­ges­tion of the Chrysler 200, but the G70 looks ex­pen­sive and pro­claims a broad ap­peal. Vice pres­i­dent of styling Sang Yup Lee can’t ex­ult in a big break­through, but the de­tails are ex­e­cuted with passion. The en­gi­neer­ing is sub­stan­tial, too.

“It’s a very stiff, sub­stan­tial plat­form,” says Al­bert Bier­mann,

for­merly of BMW, who leads the chas­sis de­vel­op­ment pro­gram. Our urge for spir­ited driv­ing is kept in check, though, thanks to an ex­press­way jammed with peo­ple head­ing to their an­ces­tral homes to ob­serve seongmyo, the tra­di­tion of tidy­ing up the graves of de­parted loved ones be­fore the Chuseok har­vest fes­ti­val.

While re­lax­ing at the de­sired rest area at Gwangchiryeong, we try out the back seat and find en­try and egress to be tor­tu­ous. A Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan seems like a limou­sine by com­par­i­son. It’s also a long reach to close any open door, no mat­ter where we sit. An­other of the G70s quirks: The 12-volt bat­tery lurks be­low the cargo floor (and the ex­tended mo­bil­ity kit) in the trunk.

This is a driver’s car that is “well har­mo­nized,” Lee tells us. So when we fi­nally get to the Speed­ium, a wide and rolling cir­cuit with one long straight­away and clus­ters of linked Kama Su­tra-like turns, we’re ea­ger to test the elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled sus­pen­sion, 19-inch Miche­lin Pilot Sport 4 tires, and dual-pis­ton Brembo brakes.

Turn­ing the ro­tary knob on the cen­ter con­sole, we change the driv­ing mode to Sport, the fourth of five set­tings, and ca­ress the pad­dle shifters. Then we stomp on it. The G70 takes off with, ahem, mel­low con­tent­ment. This is not an edgy car. Sorry, no crack­ling ex­haust here. It isn’t slow by any means—we hit 120 mph on the straight— and it car­ries a neu­tral at­ti­tude through the cor­ners, but it also rolls like a C-Class and proves more pros­ecco than tequila.

Ul­ti­mately, the G70 is a well-tar­geted con­sumer prod­uct, a nu­tri­tious bar of au­to­mo­tive al­monds, chia seeds, and flax. Even lack­ing traces of bibim­bap, it’s tasty nev­er­the­less. AM

By RON­ALD AHRENS

THE GEN­E­SIS OF A CARE­FULLY CON­COCTED SPORT-LUX­URY SEDAN

Inje Speed­ium is “my lit­tle Nür­bur­gring in Korea,” says per­for­mance boss Al­bert Bier­mann. Driv­ing pre­ci­sion and ride com­fort were his tar­gets.

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