Jaguar, Cadillac and Volvo can tell you a thing or two about this – there are easier markets for foreign luxury brands than germany. But the strength of domestic premium vendors doesn’t stop newcomers from trying. This is also the case with the G70 from genesis.
After two decades of lexus cutting its teeth on audi, BMW and mercedes, and infiniti having just capitulated, genesis is on its way to europe. The distinguished sister of the Korean market leader hyundai is on the move and ventures into the den of luxury lions at the start of the new decade.
In addition to a few off-road vehicles that have yet to be presented, the Koreans are focusing primarily on the G70, which is currently the freshest model in the small fleet and competes against cars such as the A4, the 3-series and the C-class. The larger G80 and G90 models, on the other hand, which are holding their own against the 5 or 7 in korea and the USA, will still be updated before the european launch.
A new face
The best argument for the outsider is its design. Because regardless of whether you like the demanding front end with the radiator grille pulled far down, the sleek silhouette and the coupe-shaped rear end or not – the genesis certainly looks fresh and unconsumed.
The shape may be unique, but in terms of format the Koreans have fallen into line with the mainstream: with a wheelbase of 2.84 meters and a length of 4.69 meters, the G70 is in the middle of the market. That’s enough for very comfortable space in the front, but the back is comparatively cramped. Adults, in any case, not only have to tuck their heads in, because otherwise the flat roof will rub against the top of their heads, but they also have to bend their legs sharply so that their knees do not touch the front seat.
Noble ambience and plenty of equipment
The passengers are compensated with an elegant ambience and plenty of equipment, from the head-up display to the air-conditioned seats and the wireless charging cradle for the smartphone. Not to mention the numerous assistance systems.
But as fine as the G70 looks, it is a little behind the times: the touchscreen is too small compared to the competition, and analog instruments are hard to beat in these days of flickering cinemascope cockpits.
At the front of the pack when driving
For this, the genesis G70 is ahead of the game in terms of handling. It offers a new rear-wheel drive platform with the option of all-wheel drive, precise steering, a tight chassis, a cleanly tuned eight-speed automatic transmission and three driving profiles, each with a very distinctive character. So the G70 is fun off the highway, too, and comes much closer to the german competition than lexus, for example, does.
After all, it’s not for nothing that the Koreans brought the former head of development at BMW M gmbh to seoul and entrusted him with the tuning of the genesis models.
Three gasoline and one diesel
At home in Korea, the G70 is available with a 3.3-liter V6 gasoline engine rated at 272 kW/370 hp with a top speed of 270 km/h and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 188 kW/255 hp. In addition, there is also a diesel with 2.2 liters displacement and 149 kw/202 hp, whose export prospects are still rather vague in view of the current mood.
The small gasoline engine may sound a bit strained, but it cuts a good figure on its first drive out and can easily compete with the corresponding models from the german south. With its maximum of 360 nm, it has sufficient starting power and accelerates the roughly 1.6-ton sports sedan from 0 to 100 km/h in barely 6 seconds. When overtaking, all it takes is a kickdown and you’re past the car in front, and if there’s no general speed limit by then, you should easily be able to do 240 at full throttle.
Conclusion: just being good may not be good enough
It looks good, is generously equipped, has competitive engines and drives very well. If the prices are right and the Koreans build up a reasonable sales network, genesis will be on a par with the German top dogs as soon as it debuts.
But as good as that may be, it may not be good enough. Because if the newcomer can’t do anything better than the regulars, it’s only left with the role of the outsider, which at best is bought because it’s different. And how difficult it is to base a success on this is something that infiniti, not least, has had to learn and has therefore bowed out of europe.
Data sheet: genesis G70 2.0 T-GDI
Engine and drive: four-cylinder turbo direct-injection gasoline engine
cubic capacity: 188 kw/255 hp
max. Torque: 360 nm
drive: rear-wheel drive
transmission: eight-speed automatic