It’s difficult to take a stab at the BMW 3 Series or the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but Hyundai has stepped up to the plate with their luxury brand. Their goal was to make a better compact luxury sedan altogether: faster, lighter, and feel more compact than BMW’s bet. The result is the 2019 Genesis G70.
The US was finally introduced to the Genesis at the most recent New York Auto Show after the world has already had its chance at reveling at this marvel. It’s a tall order even for the most experienced luxury manufacturers, but Hyundai has managed to pull it off. Their luxury division’s aim was to create a different kind of luxury—one with a tinge of athleticism that’s rare in a German make. According to Hyundai’s design director Luc Donckerwolke, the most important thing for the Genesis was proportion, specifically the design of a long dash-to-axle ratio.
Starting with the Genesis G70’s exterior features, you can easily pick up a lot of triangular and trapezoidal angles just by the first glance. One of the most striking features of the car is the severe inward rake of the sides towards the roofline. This is a major sacrifice on the interior headroom, but it completely satisfies the want for the muscular design. There’s hints at German design cues, as the rear slowly yet evenly tapers off. The front grille boasts the G70 insignia with pride, settled between four thin-lined lamps split as headlights.
The exterior of the Genesis makes way for the function and features of the interior. The Genesis is a statement on its own when it comes to its console and dash details. It has completely strayed away from the typical features of a luxury sedan. You’ll never spot a single wood trim in the Genesis. Rather, you’ll see details made out of brushed or liquid metal. Don’t fret, though, even if you’re a fan of the traditional. The metal details actually look as luxurious as they could be. And there’s more. Other interior details include quilted diamond-stitched leather on the door sides. The infotainment screen is workable, and you’ll also get ample knee and legroom in the front seats. As previously mentioned, the backseat headroom may feel a little squished, but you’ll have good enough visibility to forget about it majority of the time.
As far as the specs are concerned, you’ll get a few familiarities again with the Genesis G70 and other German models. The G70 has about an inch more in wheelbase and roughly 1.6 inches more length compared to the BMW 3 Series overall, which is comparable to the Mercedes C-Class’. You’ll probably be more impressed once you look under the hood with Genesis’ 248-hp 2.0-liter turbo four that can produce 260 lb-ft of torque. There’s an option for a 364-hp 3.3-liter V-6 with 375 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is really Genesis’ pride and joy. According to the manufacturer, the V-6 can do 0 to 62 in an impressive 4.7 seconds. They also said that the V-6 could reach top speeds of 167 mph. While there’s no information released yet on the performance of the V-4, we imagine it isn’t too far off from the option.
Both the stock and option will have eight-speed automatic transmission, but the U.S. market will also get a choice of a turbo-four manual transmission. The turbo-four will also come with 18-inch Bridgestone tires, while the V-6 will get 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 with 6 brakes overall: two-piston rear brakes and four-piston Brembo front brakes. For the sake of pure driving fun, the Genesis G70 will have the option for a rear-wheel-biased AWD.
The short test-track drive of the Genesis G70 was no disappointment. The balance has shown improvements compared to previous Genesis models. There may have been dynamic issues and signs of stress within the car while on drive, but it sure is a promising package from the Korean brand. It’s a good effort to bat against the BMW and Mercedes, but it’s just not quite there yet. However, while the Genesis still might have a ways to go before it’s on the same platform, it’s its own luxury brand and something that Hyundai should definitely be proud of. They’ve taken the first steps towards creating something that one day might surpass the standards of luxury today.