Big, raging sports sedans always seem to storm out of Germany, their fat tires and deep-thunder exhausts stirring angry clouds of dust.
Attitude and Autobahn moves get bolted into every one, right?
At least, that’s the myth that still surrounds vehicles from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi like mist from the Black Forest.
While partly true – such as “happily ever-after” or “lifetime guarantee” — budding Genesis apparently never got the e-mail before it released its 2019 G70 sedan.
Though not quite as distinctive or refined as some of the German giants, the sleek new G70 can already romp with the Teutonic Toughs – for $5,000 less than the big boys.
That’s Genesis, by the way, as in the luxury division recently spun off from mainstream Korean automaker Hyundai – kind of similar to what Toyota did with Lexus.
Heck, many of us are still struggling with how to correctly pronounce “Hyundai” and now this.
The spirited metallic-black G70 Prestige model I had a couple of weeks ago intends to shove its way into the sports-sedan niche with a stout 365-horsepower V-6, rear-wheel-drive and well-tuned handling.
It moves with its own style – more jeans and sports coat to the Germans’ pinstripes and silk.
A fairly blunt front, for example, flowed into a long, slightly raised hood with twin character lines cutting through its center.
Meanwhile, the G70’s large, flat polished grille looked assertive without being laughable, topped by a big Genesis emblem that strongly resembles a Bentley badge.
Appropriately cheeky, I guess.
Short overhangs and subtle sculpting tightened the mostly smooth sides on the car, crouched tightly on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 225/40 tires up front and 255/35s in back.
About the only thing I found jarring in the styling was a strange chrome boomerang piece of trim behind the front wheels. Maybe it can be detached for a little fun at the park.
Beats me, but the heart of a real sports sedan lies under the hood, and the Genesis pumps out some strong numbers.
My well-equipped G70 featured a turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 with the aforementioned 365 horsepower – 45 more than BMW’s vaunted 3-liter turbocharged six.
Tied to a slick 8-speed automatic, the huffed V-6 ripped to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, according to Car and Driver, feeling more powerful than its stated 365-horses.
(In comparison, a similarly equipped BMW 340 made the 0-60 run – a good measure of street and expressway acceleration – in 5.4 seconds, according to Car and Driver.)
I never noticed any turbo-lag in the G70. Pin the throttle to the floor and it leaps forward instantly, briefly spinning its rear tires as it pulled with a solid surge and muted growl to 6,500 rpm.
Fuel economy is only fair at 18 miles per gallon in town and 26 on the highway. If you need more, the G70 comes standard with a turbocharged 2-liter four rated at 22/30.
More important to me, the nimble 3,800-pound G70 dove hard into corners, staying flat and composed even when pushed a bit.
Really quick steering – a half-turn was sometimes sufficient to negotiate corners – made the sure-footed sedan feel even smaller.
Like the Germans, it encouraged occasional, uh, responsible outbursts.
As you might expect, the curve-hugging G70 stepped over bumps pretty firmly, but it sported a long-legged compliance that absorbed most road-warts with little more than a clomp and a thump.
At about $49,000, my G70 straddled the near-luxury and luxury segments with decent grace.
A smooth black-plastic dashboard with stitching on the edges, for instance, rolled down onto an interesting slightly rounded mid-dash.
It offered tabs, knobs and buttons for the audio and climate controls, thankfully, with no distracting mouse-pad and multiple menus.
A tablet-shaped 8-inch display screen sat on top of the mid-dash, providing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.
Moreover, the car’s black-plastic door panels were fitted with quilted centers – like some Jaguars and Audis – that matched sections of quilting on the black-leather seats.
It all fit the G70’s ambitious exterior nicely.
However, the back seat felt less accommodating, with limited legroom and a fairly low seating position.
Just tell really tall passengers to grab an Uber, I suppose.
The options on my G70 included the Elite Package with items such as a wireless charging pad and parking-distance warning ($1,750); as well as the Prestige Package with heads-up display and Nappa leather surfaces ($2,500).
As you know, everybody in the sports-sedan segment guns for the top-selling 3-series BMW sedan and some like Audi and Mercedes-Benz occasionally surpass it.
The rookie G70 – one of three sedans in the Genesis lineup — matches the overall performance of the 3-series with its own style.
With the G70, Genesis brings a surprisingly competitive sport-sedan to the U.S. market in its first foray into the segment.
I bet the Germans will soon hear its growl.
- What I liked most: The G70’s spicy blend of performance, handling and even some strong dashes of style.
- What I would change: Let’s toss that chrome boomerang thing on the side of the G70 and hope it doesn’t come back – though I admit it does give the car instant identity.
- MSRP: Base price for the 3.3T Prestige model, $43,750; as equipped, $48,995.
- Fuel economy: Rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on the highway and 21 mpg overall with filler on the left.
- Official color: Victoria Black.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,490 miles.
- Weight: 3,847 pounds.
- Length-width-height: 184.4 inches long/72.8 inches wide/55.1 inches tall.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 15.8 gallons.
- Towing capacity: 1,158 pounds.
- Spare tire: Temporary compact.
- 2019 Genesis G70 in a few words: This is definitely not some gussied-up Hyundai.
- Warranty: Five-year, 60,000-mile overall warranty and 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain protection.
- Final assembly location: Ulsan, Korea.
- Manufacturer’s website: www.genesis.com
- E-mail me at email@example.com
- Up next: 2018 Mustang GT Level 2