Kia Stinger-based G70 saloon could do well in Europe – if and when it arrives
The book of Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury sub-brand, continues from the bigger G80 and G90 models to this new G70, a four-door saloon built to rival the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS and Mercedes C-Class.
It’s intended to sit next to the Kia Stinger (whose platform it shares) in South Korean and North American dealerships starting in early 2018. It isn’t slated for the UK just yet, but Genesis is talking about introducing it to European markets by the end of this decade.
The G70 is longer, wider and lower than the 3 Series saloon, which was heavily benchmarked by Genesis during the car’s development. We reckon the result looks pretty swish and purposeful.
Genesis G70 AWD
Engine: 3.3-litre, turbocharged V6 petrol
Torque: 383lb ft
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Top speed: 168mph
Fuel economy: 25.5mpg
CO2 rating: N/A
Under the bonnet is a choice of three turbocharged engines, two petrol and one diesel, all with standard rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. The smaller petrol unit is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 252bhp and 265lb ft, or 255bhp if you opt for the Sport Package. The bigger one is a 3.3-litre V6 with 365bhp and 383lb ft of torque, which is 44bhp and 51lb ft more than the BMW 340i’s turbo 3.0-litre six produces. The diesel is a 2.2-litre four with 202bhp and 332lb ft.
Enthusiasts will enjoy the V6’s sporty feel. It combines low-end torque with a willingness to rev that belies its capacity. The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox doesn’t come up to the same level though, being slow on the uptake in either auto or manual modes, although it is smooth on the actual changes.
Genesis doesn’t label this car as a single-minded performance saloon, but the G70 AWD’s claimed 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds beats that given by BMW for its 340i xDrive. Its top speed is higher too, with 168mph against the German car’s limited 155mph. The catch is fuel consumption: the Genesis official average is 25.5mpg, compared to 40.9mpg in the BMW.
G70 interior design is arguably more successful than that of the exterior. You get real metal detailing, plastics that are pleasant to the touch and no shortage of quilted leather. The A4 and C-Class shade it on quality, but it’s better than the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS and miles better than the 3 Series. That premium ambience is boosted by good noise insulation and comfortable space and seating for the front seat passengers. Sadly, rear passengers are shortchanged on both knee and head room, and while the boot has reasonable depth, its small aperture is less praiseworthy.
The plan for this and other cars from the Genesis brand is to top the opposition on standard equipment. Korean-spec cars certainly have plenty of safety gear under the ‘Genesis Active Safety Control’ banner, including forward collision warning, blindspot warning and semi-autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control.
In line with the main opposition the G70 has multi-link rear suspension. It also has a mechanical limited-slip differential and torque vectoring in four-wheel-drive versions. The overall hope is to provide compliance and comfort, but with an edge of sportiness when running in the most dynamic of the five driving modes.
Our long drive on public roads confirmed this balance of comfort over sport. The handling is predictable and the drive is executive-friendly. Only larger bumps challenged the damping control on our Korean-spec test car. It really impresses with its road noise suppression, however, and is again ahead of the Germans in this respect. It’s a shame that the electronic steering is inconsistent in its weighting.
We also tried out a rear-wheel-drive American-market G70 Dynamic model. With firmer suspension, a different steering feel, bigger brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres it offered a more involving and responsive drive, albeit at the cost of some ride comfort. Developing one of these American G70 models on UK roads could very well produce a serious rival to the established names of Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.