2022 Genesis G70 Review: A Stylish Reminder That Great Sport Sedans Aren't Dead
Over the past few years, Hyundai has fought an uphill battle to get its luxury brand a seat at the table with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. Back in 2018 we called the then-new G70 the best sports sedan that most people have no idea exists, and although sales for this past April showed a 45 percent increase for the G70 year over year (and keep in mind what was going on in April of 2020), we’re still talking about cars moving off of lots at a three-figure rate per month.
Part of this, Genesis seems to (rightfully) posit, is an image issue. Perception of status is a difficult metric to quantify, but it’s crucial to the health of a luxury marque. And to that end, North American CEO Mark Del Rosso explained that a number of dealers across the country are in the midst of building facilities that are dedicated to the Genesis brand. It’s an important step in the right direction, but it’s also worth noting that all of the examples Del Rosso cited during our briefing on the current state of the brand were renderings rather than photos of actual dealerships.
In the meantime, instead of relying on cluster-bomb marketing campaigns or brash limited edition models, Genesis has thus far taken the more noble approach of letting the product do most of the talking. The latest evidence comes by way of the refreshed-for-2022 G70, a car which is relatively low on headline-grabbing stats until you get to the MSRP.
Genesis hasn’t been shy about taking inspiration from its competitors, and some elements of the car still feel like amalgamations of other automakers’ efforts. Where the G70 really makes headway is in the execution, the attention to the details, and the sheer fact that none of its competitors can keep up at this price.
2022 Genesis G70 3.3T Specs
- Price: $50,400 (3.3T with Sport Prestige package)
- Powertrain: 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V6, eight-speed automatic transmission
- Horsepower: 365 @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 – 4,500 rpm
- 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds (est.)
- EPA Fuel economy: 18 city | 27 highway | 21 combined (RWD), 17 city | 25 highway | 20 combined (AWD)
- Quick take: Good road manners, solid performance, and a bounty of features make the G70 a compelling value versus the usual suspects from Europe.
The G70 Starts Standing Out
One of the most consistent complaints when the G70 originally debuted centered on the anonymity of its exterior design, which was something akin to a sport sedan you might see in Grand Theft Auto. The refresh addresses this to a substantial degree, adopting the crest-shaped grill and quad-LED headlamp design language that was first showcased on the 2021 GV80 at the front end, and ramps up the visual drama out back with segmented taillights, a more pronounced decklid spoiler, and a racy rear diffuser. As the brand’s most sport-oriented offering, the new G70 also scores larger front air intakes and functional front fender cutouts that are said to reduce air turbulence in the wheel wells. It’s not a complete re-think, but the new headlights and taillights, in particular, go a long way toward giving the car its own aesthetic identity.
The changes are subtler inside, but there are several key improvements here that make it look and feel more contemporary. The dated 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display has been ditched in favor of a much sharper looking 10.25-inch widescreen unit with navigation as standard. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features still aren’t on the menu, unfortunately, but designers did rearrange things underneath the HVAC controls to make room for a wireless charging pad.
The gauge cluster has been reworked as well, scoring an eight-inch center display with an integrated tachometer, the latter of which now lives on the right hand side of the cluster instead of the left. The display also allows for features like the new blind-spot view monitor, which uses cameras mounted on the bottom of the driver and passenger rear-view mirrors to provide a view of what’s just behind you in the lane you’re about to change into.
The cabin may not have the flash of Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the distinctly techy look of the BMW 3 Series interior, but in terms of features, material quality, and fit and finish, it is absolutely a contender now. What’s more, the controls are straight-forward and well laid out, with a row of hard buttons for primary infotainment features, knobs for quick climate control adjustments, and a drive mode knob that allows you to switch between Eco, Comfort, Sport, the new-for-2022 Sport+, and Custom modes with minimal fumbling.
My seat time with the new G70 started with a jaunt through the streets of Indio, California on the way out to Highway 74, which weaves its way through the San Jacinto Mountains. My tester was an AWD 3.3T Launch Edition model, which scores unique BBS-style 19-inch wheels, Obsidian Black or Sevilla Red interior, and a matte paint finish in Verbier White or Melbourne Gray. Combined with the tweaks to the bodywork for 2022, the spec’s sporting intentions are clear, but not over the top.
Although the interior isn’t brimming with character, it does look and feel legitimately luxurious. Much of the credit for that comes down to the details—the weight of the volume scroll wheel on the steering wheel, or the way the seat’s side bolsters automatically hug you closer when you select Sport or Sport+ drive modes. It also doesn’t hurt that the new infotainment display is sharp and quick to respond to inputs, and the 15-speaker Lexicon audio system sounds fantastic.
I’m usually pretty fussy about my driving position, but because the steering column telescopes out surprisingly far and the 12-way adjustable driver’s seat is so amenable, it didn’t take long to find a setting that my gangly limbs found agreeable. Wafting along in mid-morning traffic in Comfort mode, the cabin is road noise-free and the adaptive suspension soaks up all but the worst road imperfections with minimal head toss. The V6 and its eight-speed automatic are well behaved enough to stay largely behind the scenes here, with the turbocharged mill delivering enough torque in lower rev ranges to pull the car with purpose without the need to step down several gears when minor increases in pace are demanded.
Out on the highway it’s a similar story, and with new convenience features like the navigation-based smart cruise control system roster—which automatically reduces the vehicle’s speed when it notes an upcoming curve and resumes the original speed afterward—it’s clear that this car would be a great option for extended stints at the wheel.
Switching over to Sport mode changes the car’s vibe considerably. Doing so activates the aforementioned seat bolster hug, weights up the steering, stiffens the electronically controlled dampers, tenses up the transmission shift strategies, and actives the new active exhaust system. Exclusive to 3.3T models with the Sport Advanced or Sport Prestige packages, valves in the new pipes open up when Sport, Sport+ or (if configured) Custom drive modes are selected to make the exhaust note deeper and louder, and Genesis says that the reduction of exhaust pressure also adds an additional three horsepower to proceedings. I’d prefer a button to switch between the two exhaust system settings on the fly rather than having it tied to a drive mode, but it does provide a bit more pizazz for those sportier modes, so for now I’ll take what I can get.
Out in the mountains, I discovered that the great ride quality around town does come at a penalty to outright handling prowess. The G70 can definitely hustle down a good road, but there’s enough dive, squat, and roll even in Sport+ mode to necessitate a bit of extra preparation time to get set up for the next corner. Dial your expectations to approximate the Mercedes-AMG 43 line or the M Performance BMW models, rather than their full-blooded counterparts, and the G70 hits the mark.
Tracking the 2022 Genesis G70
The G70 wasn’t born to be a track weapon, but Genesis nonetheless chose not to pull any punches in showcasing its performance capability, setting me loose on The Thermal Club’s private road course with a timed autocross at my disposal between lapping sessions as well.
All the G70s for these exercises were RWD 3.3Ts wearing the optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires, while that Launch Edition model I drove on the street had the all-wheel-drive system and rode on Michelin Primacy Tour all-seasons. AWD G70s score torque vectoring and a “drift mode” (the latter of which, as far as I can tell, is just a long press of the traction control button in Sport+ mode) but since we only drove AWD models on the street, I didn’t have a chance to experience either feature in action.
The G70’s track prowess is a mixed bag. I’m 6’3, and with a helmet on there was no way to find in a seating position that was low enough to provide enough headroom without feeling like I was laying on my back. While that’s par for the course in a Lamborghini Aventador, it’s less forgivable in a sports sedan. The suspension tuning is also a bit too soft, the transmission a bit too lazy, and the Pilot Sport 4 a bit too light on grip to really be surgical with the car. But to their credit, I piloted several different G70s for five or six laps at a time over the course of a few hours in 105-degree desert heat, and none of the cars showed any signs of distress.
Track pace generally necessitates the use of the Sport+ drive mode, and in this setting, leaving the transmission in Drive was good enough most of the time. There were a few slow corners on the course where I wanted the transmission to drop down to second gear so I could roll back on the throttle with a decent amount of pull from the powertrain on corner exit, but it refused to do so on its own unless I buried the pedal, which would kick the back end out if there was any significant amount of steering angle still dialed in. Sport+ allows for more rotation than you’d initially expect, which is fun, but collecting the car costs time and pace, and system’s eventual intervention is less than seamless.
To correct this I decided to switch over to the shift paddles for a few sessions to make those gear changes myself. Genesis pointed out that when using the paddles in Sport+ mode, the transmission will hold gears indefinitely and bounce off of the rev limiter if you reach it without upshifting. That was not my experience with the car—even though the gauge cluster indicated that I was in paddle shifting mode by displaying the number of the gear I was in rather than D, the gearbox automatically upshifted each and every time I reached the redline, which is annoying when you’re using the paddles because it makes it very easy to accidentally step up two gears instead of one.
Now, I can say for certain that I used Sport+ on the track, and that I also used the paddles on the track, but I can’t guarantee that both circumstances were met during the same session. Given that, I’ll just say that the gear-holding feature should have its own button, or be activated by moving the gear lever off-center—as nearly every other automaker does it—in order to prevent potential issues like this.
The G70’s capability shined a little brighter on the autocross course, where the fluctuations in pace were too abrupt to bother with the paddles and the suspension tuning was better suited to the speeds. While the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 provided enough grip to have plenty of fun here, understeer was an ongoing concern when tossing the car into tighter corners, and it’s worth noting that the more performance-focused Pilot Sport 4S summer tire is available in the same sizes as these OE tires (225/40R19 and 235/35R19, front and rear respectively). Though both are classified as summer tires, the 4S is fundamentally more performance-focused, and would likely make this car a more capable dry handler with negligible hits to ride quality and wet handling. Just some food for thought when perusing through the options sheet.
The Value Is Still There
While the G70 ultimately leans more toward luxury than performance, it offers more than enough of both to go toe-to-toe with its pricier rivals. The top-spec 3.3T RWD Sport Prestige comes in at $50,400 with ostensibly every feature available aside from the all-wheel-drive system.
Option out cars like the BMW M340i or the Mercedes-AMG C43 similarly and you’ll quickly find yourself in $60K+ territory. And at that point, you really have to ask yourself whether a badge is worth $10,000 to you.
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