I found myself with a little extra free time this weekend and decided to stop in to my local Genesis “dealer” (a.k.a. my local Hyundai dealer that added a new Genesis sign out front but no separate showroom, yet) to check out a G70 3.3T. It was pretty good!

This visit was purely out of curiosity as I’m not really car shopping right now, but I might be ready for a new car in another year or two. My 335xi is certainly fun but the lowered suspension and super low profile 19" tires make for an occasionally punishing ride. While nothing on it has broken lately, I’m well-acquainted with BMW parts costs.

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The big knock against my 335xi is it doesn’t pass the wife test. My wife’s a nervous passenger. Since we moved to the DC burbs last year, she’s become an even more nervous passenger on the highways here. If we go on a highway trip, I do the driving, and we take my wife’s CX-5. We took my car a couple times but for her it’s too low, loud and bumpy and she doesn’t feel safe in it. Her CX-5 is a nice enough highway car, but I’d like to have something more suited to my tastes that I can still drive with her on the highway.

Enter, the G70 and Stinger. With their 3.3T motor, they make plenty of power, and the Stinger has been out long enough that tuners have started to mess with it. They have the all-important adaptive shocks that provide the nice comfy ride but enough sporty handling. At least on paper.

Coming from Hyundai/Kia is a huge plus for me. I hate the BMW image and no matter how much I actually use my turn signals, I am nonetheless a toolbag in a bright blue BMW coupe sitting low on big wheels, that makes loud noises and has tinted windows. BMW is off my list anyway until they start supporting Android Auto.

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There’s a Kia dealer real close to my office that I could hit on a random lunch break when they’re not busy, but last time I checked they had no rwd Stinger GTs, only awd, and I want rwd. I bought my 335xi when I lived in Wisconsin. I don’t need awd here in DC. Snow tires on rwd with an LSD and traction control is more than fine for the little bit of snow we get here.

This past Saturday afternoon, I had popped in to the city, and realized the Genesis dealer was going to be on my way home. I checked their website at a stoplight and they had 3 rwd G70 3.3Ts listed, so I stopped in.

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Here’s what I learned from my too-short drive of the G70.

The ride comfort is as good as I’d hoped for. Maybe I shouldn’t lead off a sporty car not-review with “it’s comfy!” but hey that’s what I want right now. Even in sport mode, the ride is well-controlled but it absorbs bumps great. This is huge. I didn’t get an opportunity to properly throw it around some corners but in my little bit of low-speed maneuvering I at least felt like it was well balanced.

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The steering is on the light side, and there’s not a ton of road feedback, but it’s no worse than the typical BMW electric steering. You don’t feel much as you turn the wheel, but the car still goes where you want it to. If you’re used to feeling the tires biting through the wheel, you have to re-train your mind a little to feel the lean and yaw of the car rather than the sensation of traction in your fingers. I could go for a bit more resistance, even if there weren’t any feedback gained as a result. But for relaxed around-town and parking lot driving, the lighter steering effort is nice. The ratio is quick enough and I felt like I could point the car where I wanted, effectively.

The steering wheel rim is distinctly normal, not some extra fat girthy wheel that BMW seems to do in ever-girthier amounts. It’s like over at BMW there’s one dude saying, repeatedly, “und ya, zis is ze performance model of ze ultimate driving machine, ve must convey zis through the girthiness of ze schteering wheel!”

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I didn’t get to test the brakes, but they’re Brembos with red calipers and Brembo logos for the hypebeasts. Rotors appear to be nothing fancy, no aluminum hats or floating rotors or anything like that.

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Acceleration is perfectly acceptable for what you’d expect out of a modern turbocharged 6-cylinder luxury car with a good automatic transmission. The experience isn’t as dramatic as my stick shift 335xi with a bunch of mods on it, but it’s quick enough to be quicker than most mainstream cars on the road. If you want more power, BMS already has a JB4 tuner for the Stinger that works on the G70, and intercoolers and intakes are interchangeable. Downpipes may or may not be but are apparently in the works, and there’s at least a couple catbacks specific for the G70 so far.

The front seats are very comfy. They have the right bolsters and adjustments and everything to settle in and spread out while still holding you in place in turns. The ventilated seats were very welcome on the muggy humid 95 degree day I test drove the car.

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The interior layout is simple and intuitive and there are straightforward, un-fussy buttons for most functions where you’d like buttons. The UI on the infotainment screen is the usual Hyundai/Kia setup, which is a positive for me as it’s simple and easy and the options you want are in the places where you’d think they are. The tacked-on tablet style infotainment screen is reasonably big but it has a large bezel around the sides. It feels taller than necessary. Ideally it would have a wider, less tall aspect ratio and smaller bezels, but it’s inoffensive.

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There are only a couple minor usability quirks that don’t bug me much, but barely cross the threshold into being worth mentioning.

1. The sunroof is a not-quite-panoramic setup that Hyundai calls...wait for it...a wide sunroof. It’s a glass panel that spans basically the whole width of the roof, but there’s no second glass panel over the back seats. I like sunroofs! More sunroof is better than less sunroof. The problem is there’s a power sunshade without its own separate control. You press the one-touch open sunroof button, and first the shade opens, and then the glass opens. If you want to only open the shade, you have to hit the button again at juuust the right moment to stop the sequence before the glass starts opening.

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2. While there are plenty of HVAC control buttons, there’s no separate HVAC screen. Whenever you press a button, that information is shown on the infotainment screen instead. At least it has friggin buttons.

Overall the interior was nice enough, with some premium touches, but it definitely doesn’t blow you away with the design like a Volvo or Mercedes at this price point would. I’m not very picky about my interiors, and my main thing is I want them to be functional.

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There were however a couple minor fit & finish things that I noticed. The rear view mirror was loose on its ball socket mount. There was a little bit of play in it so you kind of moved it in position but it drooped down a little bit. So I had to adjust, droop, adjust, droop, until I got it where I wanted it. Also, the silver around the shifter, in my particular car there was a small chip in the silver paint at the front of that trim piece where it meets the storage bin with the 12V & USB ports.

The back seat is a little on the small side vs. what I’d hoped for. I was able to sit behind myself, barely. There was enough headroom and the seat was comfy, but legroom was tight. I’m 5'11" with a relatively long torso and shorter legs, so those who are lankier might cause rear seat passengers more grief. I think part of this is an illusion caused by the shape of the backs of the front seats.

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It’s hard to tell here but the very bottom of the front seat back is less sculpted out in the ankle area compared to other cars. Which means that even if the seat back is reclined a fair amount, the angle of the back of the seat appears more upright than the front. Getting in back after adjusting the driver’s seat for myself, at first I thought there wasn’t going to be room for my feet and ankles, but once I got in, I had juuuust enough room for my ankles, and knees. Go figure.

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Fun tidbit: there are controls on the side of the front passenger seat for the person in back to move the seat, like they’re being chauffeured. I don’t know how many people will be chauffeured in a compact sporty sedan, but the controls are there!

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Now, let’s talk styling. I don’t love the looks of the G70. It’s a generally decently attractive sedan but the proportions are unremarkable and I don’t like the look of the grille. The Stinger is way cooler looking. But apparently the G70 with its shortened wheelbase is better to drive, and the Stinger’s roofline restricts rear headroom.

The big irritant for me with the G70's styling is the damn grille, the shape of which doesn’t quite flow with the shape of the rest of the front car.

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The Genesis grille shape, in and of itself, is inoffensive. But Genesis has done a poor job of integrating it into the styling of their cars, with the exception of the G80.

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Here, the grille shape totally works! It’s got its own section of the fascia that continues the shape of the grille, and the inner edge of the headlight is somewhat of its own line, and upright.

But on the G70, the headlights come to more of a point at the middle of the car, and the overall shape of the front is somewhat rounded with pointy details, but then there’s this giant blocky chrome grille slapped right in the middle.

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The blobby/pointy Alfa Romeo and/or Dodge Dart headlight shape is alllllmost touching the sharp upright corner of the blocky Genesis grille and it bugs the shit out of me. Not enough to not buy the car but it irks me. These pics are of the Sport trim which has smoked chrome trim. It’s even worse with the regular plain chrome. I’m only willing to tolerate the Sport.

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Here’s the regular version, vs. the Sport.

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There are actually two things going on here that make the Sport at least tolerable to me.

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On the regular version, there’s the plain bright chrome grille, and that’s all of the brightwork on the front of the car outside of the lights and badge. But on the Sport, you get the smoked chrome to make the grille pop out a little less from the paint, and the little additional smoked chrome strip that runs from the fog lights around the bottom of the bumper. That strip of plastic is plain black plastic on the regular version. By having something else that’s smoked chrome, it balances out the overall look of the bright trim instead of only having the bright-ass chrome grille.

Is it pretty? No. But it’s a big, subtle improvement.

I’d like to get more seat time on a proper driving road, but so far, in spite of the nitpicks, I’m impressed. It’s quick, a competent handler, and nails the comfort, while providing the peace of mind of Hyundai’s long warranty and cheap parts/repair costs. Genesis is pushing the dealers to kiss customers’ asses with their concierge service. They’ll drive a loaner car to wherever you are, leave it with you, take your car to the dealer, and then bring your car back to you when the work’s done. Generally I’m not impressed by car dealer ass-kissing enforced by manufacturers, but I have to admit that’s pretty nice.

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Oh, and there’s one more dark horse that is the Dynamic Edition, which the sales lady gave me a brochure for. Apparently this is some special G70 launch trim that unlike most silly launch trim packages I don’t give a shit about, retunes the adaptive shocks to a sportier damping map. But Genesis is only selling 400 of them in the US and I doubt I’d be able to track one down by the time I’m ready to make a move.

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I can’t find any information about the thing online, outside of this press release which says the Dynamic Edition “optimizes weight with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (replacing Pilot Sport 4) and a tire repair kit, adds performance brake pads, and offers a bespoke key cover.”

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All of the trim stuff (with one exception) is the same as on the 3.3T Sport. The only differences on the Dynamic Edition, apparently, are:

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires instead of Pilot Sport 4
Donut spare tire replaced with tire repair kit (“strategically optimized weight”)
More aggressive brake pads
Blacked out taillight housings
Bespoke key cover
Suspension “tuned to elicit more precise handling”

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None of this is make-or-break stuff, but I’m very curious what exactly they did to the suspension to elicit this more precise handling, and maybe the aftermarket finds a way to get this suspension software flashed onto the regular version of the car, since it sounds like there’s no difference in parts.

For folks who are legit into luxury brands, this is just one more entry in the compact sedan segment. But for me, I’ve never really appreciated the image and cost baggage of luxury brands, especially European ones. I live in a wealthy area. There are tons of luxury cars everywhere. They’re unremarkable, but still have an image problem. I was willing to put up with the baggage for the driving experience.

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Added reliability would be great. Yeah, the Japanese luxury brands have that, and the full-fat Lexus F models are cool, but below that, nothing in the Lexus, Infiniti or Acura lineups has been in this segment of daily drivers with that extra something, outside of the Infiniti Q50 & Q60 Red Sport 400. Those are on an old platform with an old transmission and no Android Auto. So, meh.

Between the G70 and Stinger, I vastly prefer the looks, hatchback, and rear legroom of the Stinger, but the G70 is a more manageable size and apparently the better drive of the two. I’ll have to try a rwd Stinger when I get the chance, but the G70 is right at the top of my list for my next car in a year or two.