2019 Genesis G70: A Familiar Furmula, but a little bit sweeter

I had a good idea of what to expect from the 2019 Genesis G70. After all, the new sport sedan boasts a powertrain, suspension setup and list of features nearly identical to our long-term 2018 Kia Stinger GT2. The Kia was good enough to win our 2018 Roadshow Shift Award for Vehicle of the Year, and with bones like that, the G70 seemed very promising.

As it turns out, the devil is in the details. There are small differences between these Korean sports cars, and the Genesis packs a few pleasant surprises that make it more interesting.

What’s familiar

the Genesis G70 shares its underpinnings with the Kia Stinger. The engine bay is home to a 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but my example was equipped with the optional HTRAC all-wheel drive system.

The V6 delivers excellent power across the band with a strong leap off the line that only gets better as the RPMs build. The gearbox feels nicely suited to the engine, and features paddle shifters that help when having a bit of back road fun. The automatic’s programming isn’t bad at all, but is best when left to the G70’s Sport mode, which keeps the engine revs up and the throttle responsiveness tight. The other drive modes — Smart, Eco and Comfort — felt fine around town, but lazy for my taste.

The G70 is also available with a smaller 2.0-liter, turbocharged, inline-four cylinder engine option. In this trim, the sedan makes 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, which sounds like a reasonable amount of power (I’ve not yet been able to sample the four-banger). However, the smaller engine has the advantage of being offered with an optional six-speed manual transmission, if you’re into that sort of thing.

What’s different

Stylistically, I prefer the fastback proportions of the Stinger, but after just moments behind the wheel of the Genesis, I knew that I preferred driving the G70 sedan. The differences are subtle; the G70 starts with the same basic suspension geometry, the same optional adaptive suspension on my Sport test model and the same optional Brembo brake upgrade. However, the G70 is 5.7 inches shorter (184.5 inches total) than the Stinger, with a wheelbase that is 2.8 inches shorter (at 111.6 inches). It’s also about 100 pounds lighter than its Kia cousin, at approximately 3,900 pounds, as tested. These small tweaks to the G70’s dimensions and proportions make surprisingly large differences in the sedan’s on-road performance.

Lighter and smaller, the G70 feels more nimble on the road. The sedan is more responsive to turn-in and direction changes than the already fairly agile Kia. Throttle response also feels like it’s been turned up a tick — I’m not sure if a slight software retune or the simple physics of carrying less mass are to thank for that. Either way, my grin was fuller behind the wheel of the G70.

Looking beyond Korea, the G70 feels like more than a low-cost alternative to a BMW or Audi. Rather, it feels like a bonafide competitor that can run alongside a 3 Series, A4/S4 or C-Class.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, the G70’s engineering and development was overseen by BMW M Division ex-patriot Albert Biermann, whose sole mission is to make Hyundai Motor Group’s cars more “fun to drive.” He’s done a fantastic job so far, and I’d go as far as to say that the G70’s driving dynamics feel sharper and more German than even the most recent 4 SeriesI’ve tested, which is high praise.

2019 Genesis G70 Sport AWD

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