Expert Reviews

2024 Genesis G70 First Drive Review

Luxury sedans aren’t the hot commodities they once were now that we’re firmly in the age of the SUV, but these overachieving four-doors still serve as important touchstones for their respective brands.

Genesis threw itself headlong into the fray with the launch of the G70, with this shapely sedan aimed directly at the likes of the BMW 3 Series – and packing enough prowess to leave a few engineers choking on their wienerschnitzel. Now in its seventh year of production, the refreshed 2024 Genesis G70 is out to prove it’s still able to put up a good fight.

Still Very Pretty

Most of this sedan’s refresh is under the skin. Genesis hasn’t touched the G70’s exterior following its stunning transformation just a few short years ago when it adopted the marque’s new design language. The only visual differentiations for 2024 include dual exhaust and standard 19-inch wheels across the lineup, a pair of new wheel designs for V6-powered models, and four fresh paint colours to pick from. The Genesis badge has also been altered slightly.

Bigger Base Engine

The most significant change to the 2024 G70 is the adoption of a new base engine. Gone is the 2.0L of old, and in its place is a turbocharged 2.5L. It uses four cylinders, just like before, but output now registers at 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque (compared to the old engine’s 249 hp and 260 lb-ft).

Pocket Pleaser

The 2024 G70 is the first Genesis to get the automaker’s digital key that allows users to lock, unlock, and start the car using their smartphone or smartwatch (Apple, Samsung, and Google compatible). This goes hand in hand with standard subscription-free Genesis Connected Services that enables remote vehicle access via an app installed on a paired device.

European Panic

The twin-turbocharged 3.3L V6 in the top Sport trim kicks out a solid 365 hp at 5,800 rpm and 376 lb-ft from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm and drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The G70’s all-wheel drive system runs a default bias that sends 60 to 70 per cent of torque to the rear wheels, while sport mode can boost that number to as much as 90 per cent.

Fifty per cent of torque can go to the front wheels when conditions dictate – be that slippery surfaces or during evasive manoeuvres. Torque-vectoring is standard. There’s also a drift mode that takes the front wheels right out of the equation, calling up a special stability control program that allows for some sideways shenanigans.

Generously Equipped Interior

There’s no denying the G70’s dimensions are cozy, but they provide a friendly reminder that some of its main rivals have experienced serious size creep in recent years. The driving position is spot-on, and the fit and finish is up to the standards of the segment.

The diamond quilted black leather with red stitching in the G70 Sport looks especially nice, and the top trim also sports a head-up display, temperature-controlled front seats, premium stereo, heated rear seats, surround-view cameras, and more. Yes, the G70’s cabin shows its age through a relative lack of digital real estate, but that’s not necessarily a knock against this sedan. However, rear-seat head- and legroom are both subpar.

Interior updates for 2024 include a digital climate control panel (still with rotary temperature controls), new aluminum trim patterns, and a frameless rearview mirror. The 10.25-inch dashtop touchscreen looks a tad modest by modern standards, but the menu structure is easy to negotiate, and the graphics are good.

In Canada, the Sport trim gets an adaptive suspension system, as well as a limited-slip rear differential. The ride is pitter-patter busy on low-profile 19-inch Michelin Primacy Tour all-season tires, but body control and balance are right where you want them. Steering is exemplary – direct and communicative. The G70 boasts a dynamically cohesive package, and when things are dialed up to sport, the four-door flows and carves a path with the best of them.

Engaging Road Feel

Albert Biermann came to the Hyundai Motor Group in 2014 after 30 years at BMW, where his final post was heading up the high-performance M division. With Hyundai, he took over performance development duties, and whatever he’s paid (and you know it’s a lot), it’s money well spent.

The G70 feels distinctly like a BMW, and as Biermann told this writer back in 2018, “For me, the G70 has special meaning. Key targets were driving position and fun to drive, but comfort also was very important.” And then, with a boyish grin, “I burned a lot of tires getting there.”

Matching these dynamics is that brawny twin-turbo V6 engine.OK, it’s not as creamy as the inline units BMW uses, but it bestows the G70 with great gobs of pace and a decently snarly soundtrack when the adaptive exhaust is opened up. Yes, this is a properly quick sedan. The in-house eight-speed auto is smooth and brainy, although perhaps not as crisp and responsive to shift paddle inputs as the ubiquitous ZF unit found in BMWs.

2.5L Punch

The 2.5L turbo version of the 2024 G70 is no slouch, either. With 300 hp and a heady 311 lb-ft of torque on tap, this engine is a big step up from the previous unit – once past an initial bout of turbo lag, that is. It’s an effortless highway cruiser that feels light on its feet, just as a sedan like this should.

Final Thoughts

Following a rapid and rewarding romp through the Arizona desert, we headed to a private race facility where we flogged six-cylinder cars on a fast road course, and autocrossed four-cylinder versions. Best of all, each of them sent torque to the rear wheels only. Rear-wheel drive? Not for Canada. Sorry, eh.

In Canada, the 2024 Genesis G70 is offered in three very well-appointed trims: the Advanced ($53,000) and Premium ($58,000), both of which come with the 2.5L engine, and the six-cylinder Sport ($64,000). These all-in no-haggle prices are head-slappingly enticing. A well-priced entry that can give its European rivals a run for their money in almost every way? It looks like the fight’s still on.