Tested: 2022 Genesis G70 3.3T is Superbly Multi-Talented
The new, revised Genesis G70 has arrived and is even more excellent than its esteemed forebear - Full review and photos.
Words and photos by Mitchell Weitzman
The original G70 was genesis. That is, the formation of something great to come. Several years later, we have the updated G70, which has addressed the minor, nitpicking shortcomings of the original - The result is nothing short of excellence. With their endless onslaught of new models including several fantastic SUVs, this should be the time where Genesis takes off to be taken seriously in the luxury realm. No more "Oh, what's a Genesis?" bollocks. It's with this car that Genesis is what other competing luxury sedans ought to be compared to. Well done.
What is it?
The Genesis G70, their mid-size 'executive' sports sedan in the vein of the BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-class, and Audi A4. What makes the Genesis different than its esteemed German rivals, though, is its entry point. As the Deutsche brands have inflated their prices over the years, the Genesis lands aggressively with a bargain price that makes luxury cars more attainable than ever before, because yes, this is a luxury car - wait until you get a glimpse of this interior...
With this refreshed 2022 model, there are a raft of style changes with a new triangular, large grille as seen in other Genesis models, new dual-stacked headlights, and a rounded, elegant butt. Inside is mostly the same (it was already quite lovely), but the big news is a much-needed new center display/infotainment system. It replaces the geriatric system in the old model. After that, it's all mostly the same underneath, and that's a blessing considering how great to drive the G70 has always been.
This particular example was a 3.3T RWD Sport Prestige, about the most expensive G70 you can buy (an AWD will run you a slight bit more). Yet, the sticker is only $51,945 at a time when a loaded-up BMW 340i can be nearly 70 grand. Starting at a base price of $43,145, options here include a $4,300 Sport Advanced Package (19" wheels, Lexicon stereo, ventilated seats, etc.) and $4,000 Sport Prestige Package (heads-up display, Nappa leather, microsuede headliner, Brembo brakes, 360-degree cameras, and limited-slip differential). You can view the Monroney yourself to see the exact price breakdown and options. Of course, being a Genesis, included as new is a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty, and 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, both of which are the best warranties of any new car.
Many, many things. I could start with the way it looks, that sumptuous, enveloping interior, or the riot-like driving dynamics. Let's start with the looks. As mentioned with the design changes, they work well to give the G70 a distinct and recognizable look. Whereas the former 2021 was a bit generic, a bit too safe, the 2022 is instantly its own thing. All Genesis cars now have a consistent language, both for the whole brand, but also on each individual models. Take the stacked, slit-like headlights for example. The rear lights follow the exact same motif. That's nice. Cohesive. I think the Genesis on the whole is a very good looking car, combining upscale elegance without going too far to be vulgar in the same way that a Hublot watch is. This is much more Breitling and Omega.
Inside, the Nappa leather is invitingly soft with lovely quilted surfaces. I like the red contrast stitching, but don't enjoy the red seatbelts. That's a tad too far for me. All throughout, there is a level of true quality here that defines luxury vehicles, as everything you touch bestowed with the sense of being well-made and using great materials. All the switches on the center stack and wheel give off an air of assurance, too, in their action. The front seats are very comfortable and offer great support with the adjustable side bolsters inflated to the max. Above you is a microsuede headliner that both looks nice and is pleasant to the touch; When bored at traffic lights, I found myself petting it at times just because.
The infotainment system is vastly improved and inherited from other Genesis models. It replaces the ancient and smallish unit of the original G70. It's definitely an aesthetic and operational improvement, but it still isn't the best in the business. However, it's plenty good enough now. The entire cabin offers an exciting and opulent environment, attracting the admiring gaze of many who were left deeply impressed.
On the road is where the G70 makes its case known. With a forgiving ride quality, it can be comfortable when cruising on the freeway long distances, further helped by a quiet cabin that's mostly devoid of road-noise. It's even fairly economical when making long highway runs, with an average MPG of 32 MPG (an increase of two over what I experienced in a 2020) on the highway before falling to 24 MPG overall in mixed driving. So, it plays the comfy luxury part quite well, but what as a sports sedan? Yes. That is all.
Okay, I'll say more. Yes, it's a wonderfully dual-natured machine, as a prod of the throttle is all that's needed to completely change the dynamic of the G70 into an angry and rorty sports car. I had the chance to try out the G70 along the magical Highway 128 near Lake Berryessa. As I adjusted to it, the G70 came alive into another dimension of character. This wasn't a solo drive, rather, it was with a group of Porsche owners, with several 997s, a 996 GT3, Cayman GT4, and 991s. Using the car's navigation as World Rally Championship-style 'pace notes,' I was able to extract a lot from a sedan that looked so modest among this company. However, all were shocked at the Genesis' capability by the end. 128 is a fantastically winding road, with a mixture of elevation changes, off and on-camber corners, and with so many tight-radius turns, you can push a car hard without reaching crazy speeds. Utilizing the Genesis' digital map, and following other cars, the G70 stuck right with them. Actually, a Cayman GT4 was holding me up even, and the 996 GT3 behind me disappeared from my rear-view mirror; This G70 can really boogie. The only car that drove near me that was decisively quicker on these roads was an Audi RS3, a modified one at that with coilover suspension and ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires. Even he showed amazement at how well the G70 was doing afterwards.
So yes, it did great on this drive, but why was it so great? To be blunt, it's how natural and organic the car and all the controls feel. Having a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 in front of you helps, too, with enough grunt to seemingly clear out the Suez Canal all on its own. Steering has a good weight to it, and while it could do with a bit more information, it's tactile in its own way and responsive to every input. The front tires do start complaining earlier than I'd like, likely owing to the skinny nature of the rubber (225 front, 255 rear), but the Michelin Pilot Sports excel when being pushed, even when singing and bordering on squealing. I did run into understeer a couple times, but for the most part, you can be aggressive with the wheel and command the G70 to change whichever direction you desire despite the tire noise. With a softer suspension tuning, this also allows you to more accurately lean on each corner while providing more information as to what each and every tire is doing underneath you. Going up and down endless undulations and crests, the G70 did have its rear end skitting and hopping about quite occasionally, but it was never unnerving nor suffered from complete loss of composure. The Brembos worked well, too, reliably and ably slow you down in these situations.
In most slow corners, I had the traction control lights flashing and intervening a little too intrusively, but it did well to keep all 365 horsepowers in check on the public road. Turn these aids off and the G70 can be transformed into an oversteering drift monster. Use at your own discretion, though, as it's keen to hang its 'arse around in lovely, progressive oversteer.
Performance wise, it's quick. Very, very quick. To prove a point, I tested the G70 0-60 MPH with every seat taken up by an adult. So with 5 people in the car (about an additional 600 pounds over if it was just myself) the G70 whisked to 60 in five seconds flat, with full load! It's no quicker than the old car, but it doesn't need to be any faster. The fact that this G70 costs the same as most four-cylinder options from the German Big 3 and yet you get such bombastic speed as this is all you need to know when it comes to value.
Sports mode isn't. To be honest, my first drive in the G70 was met with severe disappointment. I couldn't believe how much I disliked it when I remembered enjoying prior examples so much. However, I realized the culprit were the sport driving modes that only ruin the party. Turning the dial into sport brings about a heightened sensitivity to the steering and throttle while firming up the suspension. Normally this would be great, but on these technical roads, it was a huge mistake.
By raising the controls' sensitivities, it spoils the organic nature and renders everything twitchy and disconcerting. The steering loses adjustability and the heavier weight combined with a strong self-centering force makes it feel like a tightly wound rubber band ready to snap back at any moment. I hated it. Furthermore, the throttle became impossible to use because of how aggressive it was in conjunction with all that grunting turbo boost on tap. It basically becomes an on/off switch, with even just 15% throttle in the lower gears wanting to induce wheelspin. So, that first section of our drive was on a knife's edge then, with me getting the feeling the G70 was ready to pit me into a ditch at any moment if I wasn't careful with my inputs. Maybe these modes would work really well on a wide-open racetrack, but here on these splendid canyon roads, they ruined the driving experience. Luckily, there's a custom mode that allowed me to put the suspension and the suspension alone in sport mode and leave the other controls in normal. After that, I was in driving heaven.
Other peculiar choices that I think need changing are in the door locks. This G70 had proximity-sensors to unlock and open the doors by just placing your hand on the handle itself, but it's only on the front doors. Other cars in this segment are the same, but I think Genesis can really make a simple and convenient difference by placing this feature on all doors. The other confusion came when I opened the door to get in for the first time at night. With another passenger waiting on me, I searched for the unlock button on the inside of the door, but to my amazement, the switches inside the doors do not illuminate when opened like so many other cars. The interior dome lights turn on, but they're not enough to be able to see the door buttons. Many other cars illuminate them upon opening for this very reason, but strangely not the G70. Once you turn the car on, then they brighten, so please, make the door panel switches illuminate during ingress.
After that, the rear seat could be more spacious. On a day trip to Bodega Bay, there were no complaints made, but it could have more seat and leg space to be properly comfortable back there. Also with the back seats, I was often told to check the rear seats when I exited the car. This is fine, it's just being courteous to tell me I might have forgotten something back there, using weight or other sensors. However, I got that warning when there was nothing back there. How strange.
Drive it right, and it's brilliant.
I learned where the unlock switch was after a couple drives, but it ought to still be changed. What really matters though is how well and engaging the G70 is, albeit when you have the proper and correct drive modes. A true sports sedan this is, able to hang with and even bully the best Porsche sports cars. And yet, its killing blow to the competition is the incredible value the G70 represents, having the performance and luxury of a $60,000+ car, but it costs only a tick over 50 as equipped. It's an unbeatable proposition at the price. If looking for an executive, luxury sports sedan, you'd be needing to see a neurologist if the G70 is not on your consideration list.
2022 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport Prestige
Price as-tested $51,945
Pros: Elegant looks; fantastic interior; fun and riotous performance
Cons: Careful of certain drive modes
Verdict: The genesis of greatness