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New rival to the BMW 3 Series impresses

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The Genesis G70 asks a question that cuts to the core for luxury buyers. If a luxury car is all about perception, this is not the car for you. If you’re more interested in superior features, quality materials, and vehicle dynamics, you should give Hyundai’s luxury spin-off a chance. Heavily updated for 2021, the G70 now has Genesis’ signature split head and tail lamps, a five-point grille, and polished mesh elements. Pitched as a rival to BMW’s 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class, the Genesis has far more standard features than entry-level European alternatives.

Priced from $63,000 plus on-road costs, it comes with heated and cooled leather seats, a sunroof, wireless phone charging, metallic paint, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with digital radio, smartphone mirroring, and satnav. Though its driver aids aren’t as finessed as some rivals, the Genesis has an exit warning system preventing passengers from opening doors into the traffic path. It will apply the brakes automatically if the rear cross-traffic feature sees something you missed when reversing. A new central airbag between the driver and passenger makes it safer than the previous model.


A $4000 sport package adds Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential, and darkened aesthetic elements inside and out. Spending a further $10,000 on the luxury pack lands great quilted Nappa leather seats with 16-way driver memory adjustment, a suede headlining, a heated steering wheel, a 15-speaker stereo, 12.3-inch 3D digital dashboard, matrix LED headlights, a powered bootlid, head-up display, and more. As before, the Genesis continues with the same pair of engines found in Kia’s Stinger sedan, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Entry-level models have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo motor using 9.0L/100km to make 179kW and 353Nm.

Customers with $76,000 to spend get a more powerful – and famous – 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine requiring 10.2L/100km to make 274kW and 510Nm figures. Those aren’t awe-inspiring numbers – class-leading alternatives use much less fuel to make more power in lighter bodies. But Genesis’ value-packed approach delivers a punchy six-cylinder G70 for less than a four-cylinder BMW or a turbo 2.0-liter version for the price of an undernourished three-cylinder model from the German brand. You also get a five-year warranty with five years of free servicing that the Europeans can’t match. Genesis promises to look after customers with superior after-sales care to more established brands. It’s hard to test-drive the entire ownership experience.

But we can say the Genesis is a generously appointed and impressively finished luxury sedan. Test examples with Sports and Luxury packs finished with rich red leather or black quilted upholstery trimmed with red stitching looked and plush. Part of the prestige sedan appeal lies in a rear-wheel-drive layout offered by BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes. As such, the G70 delivers a more sophisticated drive than cheaper sedans or SUVs, with steering uncorrupted by the need to drive the front wheels. Fixed suspension on four-cylinder versions strikes an appropriately sporty balance between comfort and poise, recognizing buyers of this car are looking for something interesting to drive.

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