Genesis G70 3.3T Ultimate Sport 2019 Review

Many prestige cars are currently offered in today’s market, including the BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS, Audi A4 and Infiniti Q50.  South Korean manufacturer Genesis has recently entered into the prestige market with the G70 3.3T.  Genesis isn’t a widely known manufacturer in Australia, but is the luxury division of Hyundai.

To give a brief history lesson, the Hyundai Genesis was the first luxury sedan released by the brand back in 2008.  In 2015, Genesis was separated from Hyundai and made into its own luxury division.  In 2017, the G70 was released; offering a choice of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines.  The car on test is the twin-turbocharged six-cylinder G70 3.3T Ultimate Sport.  Considering the Genesis has largely the same mechanical package as the previously tested Kia Stinger GT, it’s a good opportunity to compare the two.

Interior

The interior of the G70 3.3T is well equipped.  The front and rear ‘Sport Grey’ Nappa seats feature light grey diamond pattern stitching.  There’s also light grey stitching on the dashboard, steering wheel and front and rear door cards.  Front seats are electrically adjustable, with the driver’s seat being 16-way adjustable.  A nice feature of the G70 3.3T is how the side bolsters of the driver’s seat tighten when Sport mode is selected, really holding you into position.  They also offer heating and cooling, while the steering wheel can be heated.  The steering column is electrically adjustable for both tilt and reach.  The steering wheel is almost identical to the one found in the Stinger GT, while the cluster design and infotainment screens are shared with Hyundai’s i30N.  There are high quality paddle shifters to operate the eight speed automatic gearbox.  Rear seat passengers have ample headroom, but legroom isn’t as good as in the Stinger GT due to the G70’s slightly shorter wheelbase.  There are two drink holders for front seat occupants as well as two for rear seat passengers.  Boot space is small for this segment at only 330 Litres and there’s also a space saver tyre in the boot.  In the boot, there’s a First Aid Kit and Roadside Assistance Kit on offer.  Like the Stinger GT, the view out of the rear window isn’t great, but the side mirrors are excellent.  All buttons and controls on the centre console are easy to operate, and the electrically operated sunroof is also easy to use.

Exterior

Genesis has given the G70 3.3T a muscular sports sedan look, with styling cues from Mercedes, Alfa-Romeo and BMW.  Looking at the car from the front three quarter view reminds me of Alfa’s Giulia Quadrifoglio, with similarly designed front headlights.  The rear lights remind me of the ones used on BMW’s E82 135i.  This example is finished in Mallorca Blue with dark grey five spoke 19” alloys, in my opinion the best looking combination for this car.  This G70 3.3T also scores red Brembo brake calipers all round; four-piston at the front and two-piston at the rear.  Front ventilated discs are 350mm while the rears are 340mm.

There’s a piece of black plastic on the front grille that covers the radar gear.  The radar gear operates features such as the adaptive cruise control, emergency automatic braking and frontal collision warning.  It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing piece of design, but at least some effort’s been made to make the plastic look like part of the grille.  Functional side vents are included on the outer edges of the front bumper for brake cooling.  There are also silver trim pieces on the front three quarter panels.  Twin exhaust outlets and a black rear diffuser give the car a real performance look.

Standard equipment

In the G70 3.3T, there’s an 8.0 inch touch-screen navigation system with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto.  This Ultimate variant also includes a head up display, front cornering lights, 360-degree camera, 15-speaker premium audio and panorama sunroof.  Other features include an electronic park brake, a sensor key with push-button start and a hands-free opening boot.  Safety is exceptional with seven airbags, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision assist (autonomous emergency braking or AEB) with pedestrian detection and lane-change oncoming function, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, reversing camera and tyre pressure monitoring.  It’s not surprising that the G70 3.3T comes with a five-star safety rating.  Some nice touches include gauges for oil temperature (50-150°C), torque (0-550Nm) and turbo pressure (0-40psi), while there’s also a lap timer and g-force meter.  The instrument cluster is clear and easy to read, featuring a 300km/h speedometer.

Drive modes

Genesis offers five drive modes in the G70 3.3T, including Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom.  Custom mode has separate adjustments for the engine/transmission, steering wheel and suspension.  You can select from Eco, Comfort and Sport for engine/transmission, Comfort and Sport for steering wheel and Comfort and Sport for suspension.  The Drive Mode switch is located behind the gear lever on the centre console.

Driving impressions and performance

Like the Stinger GT driven previously, the driving experience is dominated by the powerful twin-turbocharged engine sitting up front.  The 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6, shared with the Kia Stinger 330S, develops 272kW of power, while torque is a generous 510Nm, driving the rear wheels.  The G70 3.3T is by no means a lightweight car at 1762kg, but is slightly lighter than the 1780kg Stinger GT.  Despite the car’s weight, with Launch Control activated and with Sport selected for engine/transmission, it manages to accelerate to 100km/h in a rapid 4.9 seconds and cover the 400 metre sprint in 13.15 seconds.  The G70 3.3T really pushes you back in the seat under power, and it builds speed effortlessly and with a minimum of fuss.  Low down torque is a highlight of this car, making overtaking easy, and the way the car accelerates from 60 to 100km/h in the lower gears is very impressive.  Power delivery is very linear the whole way through the rev-range, with very minimal turbo lag.  The engine sound is a little uninspiring however you can hear a faint whistle from the turbo’s as they gain boost.  An enhanced engine sound can be selected, but it’s artificial and not to my personal taste.

The variable ratio electric steering system offers good feedback, enabling the driver to position the front of the car exactly where it’s required.  When pushed, the car feels more prone to oversteer, whereas the Stinger GT felt more biased towards understeer.  It delivers a comfortable ride on a smooth road, but is not as composed over rough surfaces.  Over imperfections in the road surface and under heavy throttle, the rear of the car felt skittish and could potentially catch out the inexperienced, particularly with so much power and torque on offer.  I didn’t notice a big difference in Comfort and Sport in the suspension mode however it’s more comfortable than the Stinger GT, and like the Stinger GT, the G70 3.3T has local suspension tuning for Australian roads.  The big Brembo brakes not only look the part but are excellent in hauling up the heavy car.

On this Ultimate Sport model, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are fitted and are 225/40/19 profile at the front, while the rear tyres are a wider 255/35/19 profile.  There’s also a mechanical limited slip differential and multi-link rear suspension.  With this setup in the rear, it’s a surprise that the G70 3.3T can scrabble for grip under hard acceleration, even with traction and stability control turned on.  Perhaps an even wider set of tyres at the rear would help put the power down more effectively.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox is a good enough unit under normal driving conditions.  It will mostly hold gears when everything’s set to Sport mode and stability and traction control off.  However, if the car’s in a higher gear in the lower part of the rev range (below 3,000rpm) it will still kick down to a lower gear if 100% throttle is used.  The car has enough engine torque to pull out of corners in higher gears so it’s a bit annoying that the gearbox sees the need to drop down gears.  When driving a car in its Sport setting, I want to be the one who selects the gear that I want and not have the car hunt around for the gear that it wants.  Another frustration is the lane departure warning being too intrusive, and it’s annoying that it always defaults to the on position when starting up the car.  The Genesis is also quite thirsty and can use as much as 16L/100km when pushed.

A couple of handy items include the Auto Hold function and how the head up display can also be adjusted to your personal preferences.  The side mirrors fold down automatically when reverse is selected, enabling the driver to have a better understanding of what’s behind the car, in particular being able to identify smaller objects.

Final thoughts

This model will be sold from concept stores instead of dealerships. There’s currently only one solitary studio in Sydney, Australia but there are plans for around 10 studios in the future.  Warranty for private buyers is five years/unlimited kilometres, currently the best in the luxury class.  This includes five-year roadside assist and five-year inclusive servicing.

I was left with mixed feelings after testing the G70 3.3T.  To start with the things I liked, the engine is a real powerhouse and the surge of power from the twin-turbocharged six is addictive.  It’s also good looking, fast, safe, extremely comfortable and well equipped, and it certainly has more features than the similarly priced Lexus RC350F.

However, like in the Stinger GT, I feel that the gearbox lets the car down.  It’s far too happy to search for gears and is a nuisance when wanting to drive the car in manual mode.  I also think that it could do with more tyre grip under heavy throttle, and it’s quite thirsty when driven hard.  It’s a car that’s more suited to long distance cruising over outright performance.

At $79,950, I don’t think that the extra premium is justified over the Stinger GT, a car that has roughly the same mechanical package and features list.  However, I do believe that Genesis has a place in the luxury car market with the G70 3.3T, and this is a car that will no doubt improve with future updates.

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