Genesis is now a three-sedan luxury brand in a world voracious for SUVs. The long-awaited 2019 Genesis G70, an entry-level sport sedan sharing its platform and powertrains with the arguably more compelling 2018 Kia Stinger, debuted overnight in Seoul at a “festival” attended by 15,000 people and headlined by Gwen Stefani.
Without careening off into an opinion editorial about the perils of Hyundai’s rushed launch of its luxury brand, consider the new Genesis G70 to be the Giulia to the eventual Genesis GV70 SUV’s Stelvio. If you’re unfamiliar with Alfa Romeo models, let me put it this way: the G70 is the appetizer served in advance of the meal you really want to eat.
Still, based on images and specifications, the G70 looks tasty, especially in G70 Sport format.
Luc Donckerwolke is Head of Genesis Design, a role he took after directing design at Bentley and Lamborghini. Of the new G70, he said:“At Genesis, we shape fascination and desire.”
Whether you find the G70 fascinating or desirable is up to you, but you’re looking at what the company says represents the future direction of Genesis styling.
Like the existing G80 and G90 models, the new G70 features a long hood, a short front overhang, and a look that too closely resembles less expensive Hyundai models. Even the “hockey stick” daylight opening is familiar, similar to what’s seen on the Elantra as well as the Acura TLX.
Around back, the G70 is inoffensively bland, though Sport trim is equipped with a tastefully rendered mesh diffuser panel between sexy oval exhaust outlets. Large, thin-spoke aluminum wheels look terrific, and the trendy fender vents are visually aligned with the trim defining the large front air intakes.
The end result is taut, balanced, and athletic, but that can be said for many of the G70’s competitors. Ultimately, for Genesis to sell the G70, people need to love the design. Liking it well enough isn’t going to distinguish it from the pack.
Inside, Genesis makes a more convincing argument for the G70, and Donkerwolke’s tenure at Bentley is on full display in the detailing. Metal finishes, gloss black trim, piano-key controls, and dramatically stitched and piped Nappa leather seats present a truly lush cabin appearance.
Driver-focused, the G70’s interior aims to deliver top-quality fit and finish, simplicity, and functionality, according to Genesis. Seating positions are specifically chosen to reduce the car’s center of gravity, and a sport steering wheel is standard. An Active Sound Design system adjusts the audible engine and exhaust note depending on the selected driving mode and how the car is driven.
Interior colors include black, gray, beige, brown, and burgundy. The G70 2.0T with the Sports Package and the G70 Sport and can be decked out in unique Sports Gray and Sports Red colors.
Technologically speaking, the G70 ought to provide the infotainment, driver assistance, and collision avoidance systems expected in the segment.
Genesis announced few concrete details about the infotainment system, other than it comes with an 8-inch display screen, can be paired with a 15-speaker Lexicon premium sound system, and supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mirror Link smartphone projection systems.
Graphics are familiar to anyone who’s been in a Hyundai or a Kia lately, which can also be said for the driver information system and many control markings. It sure seems like Genesis is missing an opportunity to differentiate itself on this front but at least the switchgear finishes appear to be a cut above even that of the larger G80.
Something you won’t find in the G70’s competition is the Smart Posture Control System. Genesis debuted this in the flagship G90, and by inputting the driver’s body characteristics the car automatically adjusts the seat, steering wheel, mirrors, and head-up display to provide an optimal position for minimization of stress and maximization of comfort.
Nine air bags protect the G70’s occupants, while an active hood design intends to reduce potential injury should the car hit a pedestrian. To prevent this from occurring in the first place, the G70’s forward collision warning system is programmed with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and automatic emergency braking activates if the driver fails to take action.
Additional safety-related features include blind spot monitoring, driver awareness monitoring, and Highway Driving Assist, an undefined system that likely includes a semi-autonomous element.
Standard for Genesis G70 models, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine makes about 250 horsepower, with the optional Sports Package endowing the car with a little extra oomph.
The G70 Sport is equipped with a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine. Installed in the larger G80 Sport, this engine develops 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter on tap from a low 1,300 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm.
Thanks in part to a launch control system, Genesis says the G70 Sport will accelerate to 60 mph in just over 4.5 seconds. It includes a mechanical limited-slip differential, variable ratio steering, and an adaptive damping suspension. Dynamic torque-vectoring all-wheel drive is also on the menu.
Genesis also plans to offer a 2.2-liter diesel 4-cylinder engine in some markets, though not likely the U.S. It will make about 200 horsepower and churn more torque than the turbocharged 4-cylinder but not as much as the twin-turbo six.
Both the midsize Genesis G80 and full-size Genesis G90 are unexpectedly satisfying to drive, which bodes well for the new G70. But it likely won’t be the dynamics that sell this car, or the interior materials, or the technology, or the styling.
Value for the money, the attribute that has defined Hyundai products since the company first brought the Excel to America in the 1980s, is what ought to ensure that the G70 sells in greater numbers than its larger siblings.
Seemingly custom-tailored for people who lease new luxury cars every three years, Genesis provides G70 owners with 36 months of complimentary service. You don’t even need to take the car in yourself. Genesis will come and get it from you as a part of its Service Valet ownership benefit.
Beyond this, G70 owners will enjoy three years of satellite radio, infotainment and navigation system updates, and Genesis Connected Services. An enhanced roadside assistance program will even reimburse you for overnight expenses if, for whatever reason, the G70 leaves you stranded, which is highly unlikely.
Genesis understands that time is money, and that simplicity is a hallmark of luxury. This, more than anything else, is one of the best reasons to consider the G70, which is expected to arrive in American showrooms in the second quarter of 2018.