The BMW 3 Series has long been regarded as the pinnacle of performance and handling among compact luxury sedans, and despite having a huge target painted on its rear bumper, few cars have come close to delivering this car’s high level of driving pleasure. There’s no denying how much the 3 Series changed the performance luxury landscape over the last 40+ years, but as modern sport sedans get bigger, heavier and softer, the all-new 2019 Genesis G70 looks to be the next game changer of this segment with a refreshing amount of style, performance and luxury.
Over the past year, we’ve spent plenty of time checking out Hyundai’s fledgling Genesis luxury division with test drive reviews of the G80, G80 Sport and the range-topping G90 Ultimate. These models are just the stepping stone for Genesis, though, with plans to have a six-model lineup by next year. The latest offering is the 2019 Genesis G70 that is aimed squarely at compact sport sedans like the 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. With such lofty goals, we spent a week in the 2019 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport to see how this entry-level Genesis can compete on the global luxury stage.
2019 Genesis G70 Sport Exterior
The styling of the 2019 Genesis G70 is a clever mix of both of the other sedans in the Genesis lineup. Up front, the G70 reveals the narrow headlights and massive grille found on the G90 flagship sedan, while the rounded, sporty roofline and short decklid are closer to what we’ve seen on the G80. Compared to its larger siblings, the G7’s compact dimensions result in sportier proportions with a long nose and short overhangs.
There are actually very few design differences between a base G70 and the top-of-the-line model, which might be a good thing for buyers looking for more of a low-key sport sedan. All V-6-powered G70 trim levels do get full LED headlights, Genesis logo approach lights and dual exhaust with stylish oval tips. In terms of exterior design, opting for the G70 Sport adds a little extra pizzazz with dark chrome grille and side window trim, tinted taillights, copper headlight bezel accents and dark 19-inch alloy wheels, and it’s only a $1,500 option. This tester’s Mallorca Blue paint was the perfect accent to the dark wheels and trim and the bright red brake calipers.
2019 Genesis G70 Sport Interior
In contrast to its distinctive and expressive exterior design, the interior of the 2019 Genesis G70 definitely shows its relation to other Hyundai products especially when it comes to the look, feel and fonts of the buttons and controls. The G70 Sport more than makes up for this with an interior that is packed with luxury, technology and style – from the suede-like headliner to the thick floor mats. Granted this tester was loaded with all available options including the Elite Package (wireless smartphone charging pad, a “wide” sunroof, rain-sensing wipers and park distance warning), Prestige Package (head-up display, 360-degree backup camera, heated rear seats and the aforementioned microfiber suede headliner) and the Sport Package (black nappa leather with quilted and contrasting stitching).
You don’t have to splurge on the options to get luxurious G70, though, because this sedan comes loaded with plenty of standard content. On the technology/entertainment front, you get an eight-inch touch screen infotainment display, navigation and 15-speaker Lexicon audio system, while the cabin is equipped with all the upscale touches you could want from a sport sedan like the real metal accent trim, power tilt and telescoping steering column, integrated memory (for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and steering column) and alloy pedals.
Being a compact sedan, space can get a little tight in the back seat, but the front seats are comfortable and supportive – the driver’s seat even adds a little extra bolstering when the car is put into Sport mode. For a little extra space, the rear passenger is able to tilt and slide the front passenger seat as we’ve come to expect in higher-priced, chauffeur-minded sedans.
2019 Genesis G70 Sport Powertrain
The 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T is powered by a 3.3-liter twin-turbo and direct-injected V-6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, and it’s a big step up from the base G70’s 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The one benefit of the small engine is that this is the only way to get the G70 with a manual transmission (rear-drive only), but the V-6’s eight-speed automatic, five drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport and Individual) and paddle shifters still equate to plenty of driver enjoyment. The AWD G70 Sport returns EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway* and requires premium gas.
When it comes to road manners, the 2019 Genesis G70 will stand up to anything else in this segment with amazing handling abilities when pushed to its limits and a smooth, quiet ride demanded of a true luxury sedan. All V-6-powered G70s come with sport-tuned suspension, limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes, but G70 3.3T Sport kicks things up a notch with electronically controlled suspension and the sport alloy wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires. Genesis has nailed this sedan’s steering response making one of the best electric steering systems on the market. Bottom line, 20 years from now, the 2019 Genesis G70 could very well be to the Genesis brand that the E30 3 Series is to BMW.
2019 Genesis G70 Sport Safety
The 2019 Genesis G70 has not yet been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it does come loaded with lots of safety tech. In addition to seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, the G70 comes standard with Genesis Active Safety Control suite of safety and convenience technologies such as Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Driver Attention Warning.
2019 Genesis G70 Sport Overall
Since its debut, the 2019 Genesis G70 has received almost universal acclaim including being named the 2019 North American Car of the Year, and it isn’t hard to see why. This compact luxury sedan has the look and feel to put it on par with one of the greatest sport luxury sedans ever made. Even more incredible is that Genesis has managed this after just two years of existence. Talk about a promising future!
The Genesis brand continues to show that, just like Hyundai, value still plays a significant role its lineup. The G70 2.0T is an incredible buy with a starting price of just $34,900**, and even better, unlike traditional luxury automakers Genesis doesn’t nickel-and-dime its customers with expensive option bundles that balloon the bottom-line price. On the G70 3.3T, the $1,500 Sport Package requires the $1,750 Elite Package and $2,500 Prestige Package, but that is nothing compared to the five-figure prices tags that some luxury brands affix to well-equipped option packages. As it sits, this 2019 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport had an as-tested price of $52,495, which is extremely competitive against comparable 3 Series and C-Class sedans. And Genesis finishes off its luxury experience with three years or 36,000 miles worth of complimentary scheduled G70 maintenance, and that includes complimentary service valet where Genesis will pick up your car when it’s ready for service and offer a courtesy replacement vehicle in its place.
If you’re willing to overlook badges, then the 2019 Genesis G70 should be at the top of the list for buyers looking for a small, sporty, stylish and fun-to-drive sedan. In all likelihood, the 2019 Genesis G70 could be to current enthusiasts what BMW’s compact sedans have been since the mid-’70s.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Genesis dealership and test drive the 2019 Genesis G70 today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.