Genesis G70 expands the lineup, aims straight for the BMW 3-Series

Genesis, Hyundai's upstart luxury brand, has fired its third salvo in the form of G70. 

Following in the footsteps of Hyundai-derived G80 and G90, the smaller and sportier G70 completes Genesis' sedan lineup. In more ways than one, this is a crucial launch for the South Korean brand that has the German luxury triumvirate of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in sight. Lest we forget, there is also Jaguar, Volvo, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Cadillac, Alfa-Romeo and Lincoln to contend with.

With such high hopes around it, will the G70 deliver the goods for Genesis? Let's see what stacks up for and against the G70 in its attempt for glory.

The Good

Hyundai is aiming big with the Genesis. Big here means mega. How else would you explain the executive rostrum at Genesis carefully poached from European rivals? Brand chief Manfred Fitzgerald previously served as the director of Lamborghini. Former Bentley and Lamborghini designer Luc Donckerwolke now heads the design team at Genesis. As if that's not enough, Albert Biermann, former head of BMW's M division, was also brought in to give the Genesis cars that near-perfect handling set-up. 

The idea, basically, is to outdo the Germans in their own game and, with the G70, the idea has started to take shape. As Genesis expands and evolves with the aforementioned executives at the helm of affairs, its time for us to get all excited.

So, the next time you see a Genesis, stop short of making statements like "The car looks like an Audi", "Isn't that an Aston-Martin front mated to a Mercedes CLA rear?". You now know why.

The Not So Good

The entry luxury segment is a crowded space. After all, competition here is so intense that Jaguar and Alfa-Romeo, with their storied legacies, have struggled to make inroads recently. Between the three of them, the 3-Series, C-Class and A4 guard their turf so fiercely, fending off threats with ruthlessness and regularity rarely seen in the automotive industry. Genesis is trying to upset this apple cart and the G70 had to 'look' different to give itself a fair shot of success. 

This is where the stunning Sports Sedan Concept that Genesis brought along for the 2016 New York Auto Show would have made the difference. It looked like nothing else in the market and featured distinct design elements that could have easily transformed into identities for the brand!

Did Genesis miss a chance to make an impact by not taking risks with the G70's styling then? It's too early to say that. What's clear, though, is they have chosen to tread the safer path.

The Good

Have no doubts, the designers at Genesis did exercise restrain when they penned the final lines for the G70. But that's not to say the car isn't good-looking. 

In fact, the G70 is quite a looker with a squat stance and measured proportions. The long hood, the swept-back upper half, the coupe-like roof-line and the short boot are classic 'Rear Wheel Drive' cues and the G70 carries them with aplomb. The hexagonal grille with large diamond meshes is a bit in-your-face but the split LED DRLs, a precursor to the quad headlights setup future Genesis models would sport, look great and so does the chiseled bumper. Sporting aggressive lines and multiple contours, the G70 looks taut and muscular when viewed from the sides and the rear.

Unlike the G80 and G90 that were just luxo barges with bland styling, the G70 is refined, modern and stylish. If this is an attempt to set the design direction for the brand, expect things to only get better.

The Good

As much as we say otherwise, fact is, car owners spend most of their time with the car seated inside. In that sense, getting the interior appointments, fit and finish right is more of a priority rather than getting the external styling spot-on. 

Genesis, it appears, has pretty much nailed this aspect. Be it the rich-looking quilted leather seats, the vast expanse of soft-touch materials, the classy brushed metallic inserts and the popular floating touchscreen that pops out of the dash, this cabin  wouldn't look out of place even with a three-pointed star or propeller badge adorning the steering wheel. With a feature list that could put mid-size luxury sedans to shame and top-notch safety equipment, the G70 is in no way a compromise to the established offerings in the segment. 

The Not So Good

What it scores in interior aesthetics and appointments, the G70 loses in rear seat space. Agreed, Genesis' target market here is the sporty entry-luxury segment and space at the rear isn't something potential buyers look out for often. 

But then, there are chances the G70 could be chauffeur-driven in some markets. That's when the sloping roof line and the resultant lack of kneeroom and headroom could come to haunt the G70's prospects. Yes, this is nit-picking, but when it comes to laying things bare, this is a key miss.

The Good

Say what you want but you just can't say the G70 is all show and no go. Staying true to its maker's intentions of pitching it as a sporty luxury sedan, the smallest Genesis on sale has a trio of potent and powerful force-fed engines under the hood. The top of the line is the 3.3-liter V6 petrol unit that develops 365 horsepower and a whopping 519 Nm of torque. With a claimed 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 270 km/h, the G70 V6 is faster and more powerful than the 6-cylinder BMW 340i. Could you believe that?

The other two engines - a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol with 252 horsepower and a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder common rail diesel with 202 horsepower - aren't half as interesting but the performance kit on offer surely is. Launch Control, Multi-link rear suspension, Dynamic Torque Vectoring System, Mechanical Limited Slip Differential (M-LSD) - you name it and Genesis has bestowed the G70 with it. With all these in place combined with ex-BMW M chief's inputs on handling, the G70 could well be the perfect driver's car this side of the BMW 3-Series. 

In short, the G70 is everything Genesis wanted it to be. Will the baby Genesis dethrone the 3-Series, C-Class and A4 from the entry luxury podium? Not a chance. Will it snatch sales off the XE, Giulia, IS and the likes? Hell yeah. And that's possibly what Genesis wants!

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