Since it’s establishment as it’s own brand a few years ago, Genesis products have been widely praised as some of the best in their segment. The uber-luxurious G90, with every option you can imagine and more back seat leg room than most limos, is an jaw-dropping surprise. The slightly smaller and sportier G80 uses the same powerful bi-turbo V6 engine found in the G90 to good effect but with a more responsive suspension and less weight to propel. Last year, Genesis introduced the smaller and less expensive G70 to lure even more customers into it’s showrooms and it appears that Genesis has another hit on it’s hands.
Offering two engines in the G70, a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a bi-turbo V6, Genesis presents a dilemma to it’s customers: turbo-four or bi-turbo six? Both could be excellent so we asked to try them both out. Genesis granted our request but has given us one now and will give us the other later this year. This version is the less powerful version of the G70. Still no slouch, the potent little turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine is tuned to make 252hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
That’s impressive. That power can be transmitted through either an 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. We specifically requested the 6-speed manual (1) because we drive too many automatics around here as it is, and (2) we were curious to see how good of a manual transmission Genesis offered. We also requested the rear-wheel drive version instead of the AWD version because it’s more sporting to drive and we already know from the G90 and the G80 that Genesis builds a great AWD system.
Our Himalayan Gray G70 is an attractive looking car. It has very nice lines that include a bit of BMW 3-series through the rear flanks that add a bit of sportiness to the design. Strong character lines give it some structure and the Genesis family grille and the chrome fender vents give it some classical brightwork and a bit of pizzaz. The gray leather interior was also attractive and very comfortable, with controls logically laid out and easy to use.
The front seats are comfortable and well-bolstered for support when wringing out it’s performance potential. The front seats are heated and ventilated too. Genesis calls the interior “Gray” but it’s closer to off-white actually. Which looks great but, as a guy who can’t eat lunch without spilling something on his shirt, I’m not sure this color would be a good choice in my car. We loved the look and feel of the metal pedals with rubber nubbins on them for grip. All the control switches felt extremely well built and had excellent feel. The only real issue we had with the interior was the lack of rear seat leg room. There really isn’t much, making it only suitable for small children and dogs.
You’ll note from the title that this is the “Sport” version. While many car companies offer a “Sport” version of their cars, it’s usually more of an appearance package than actual performance enhancements. Genesis actually provides legitimate sporting equipment to the car. Say WHAAAAAT?! YES. Not only does the little turbo-four provide a TON of torque and wind out to 6,500 rpm, but it’s available with a 6-speed manual transmission that sends power to a limited slip rear differential in order to get the power to the road as efficiently and effectively as possible. Ready to reign in this power are Brembo brakes at all four corners that do a phenomenal job of stopping the G70. Well behaved and frugally efficient, one click of the Drive Mode button on the console switches the personality of the car to “Sport” and intensifies the responses and good sounds that the car makes.
How is it to drive? Well, it certainly lives up to Genesis reputation as a quality car. The ride is smooth and bumps are well dampened. Lean through corners is modest and the car really feels capable in every day situations. Steering is power-assisted and feels excellent. It’s not too light and not too heavy. The steering wheel is a nice leather-wrapped compromise somewhere between fat and too thin. The clutch is light and the let-off point is easy to find. The 6-speed manual shifter feels smooth and accurate; there’s not sloppiness or notchiness here.
The brake pedal is firm and modulates logically. The brakes work extremely well. Flick the Drive Mode button to sport and the engine sound increases and the engine feels quicker to respond, more alive. It encourages you to push a little deeper into corners, brake a little later than you usually do, and push the throttle down further than you normally dare. The G70 is good for it. It responds with confidence and reassures you that you’re not driving some milquetoast compromise but a capable car with some surprisingly good performance.
It was a genuine pleasure to drive a car with a manual transmission again. In this market, with such a heavy premium placed on electronic efficiency, having a 6-speed to row with such a wonderfully light clutch made our week. Hooked up to such a capable engine, with such a confidence-inspiring suspension and fool-proof brakes, the G70 RWD 2.0T really impressed us. This is possibly the first luxury/sport car that I could see in my garage at some point. You could comfortably drive the car all day and not get tired. It’s the real deal, and coming in at $38,895, it seems like an excellent deal as well. Fuel efficiency is listed as 28mpg highway and 18mpg in the city and that’s about what we achieved.
We’re scheduled to drive the turbocharged V6 version later this summer and we expect it to be an absolute rocket. We’ll update you on that in a few weeks.