It all started with one question: Is the Genesis G70 comparable to a BMW 3 series or an Audi A4? Will it break the German dominance of the compact luxury sedan segment?
Undoubtedly, the Genesis G70 is designed to fit into the arena of luxury sedans and targets the same customer category as those who are considering a Mercedes C Class sedan, rather than a specific age or gender group.
But the biggest reason to pick the G70 over its German rivals can be summed up in two words: It’s different.
The Genesis G70 has been on many lists of the most anticipated new cars of 2017. At the core of this is a curiosity toward how much Hyundai -- as a late starter not only in the mass market segment but also in the luxury category -- has to show both in terms of technological and design aspects.
The first impression of the latest Genesis marque is sharp, elegant and tempting.
The color variation creates a distinct impression, as previous Genesis sedans have stuck to black as their signature color. Bolder options are now put forward, such as “blazing red” and “lapis blue.”
The short overhangs and fluid body sculpture, embellished with a stylish boomerang-like feature on both sides to reduce air resistance, demonstrates how much Hyundai’s hand-picked designers led by ex-Bentley design chief Luc Donckerwolke wanted to make the Genesis concept young and dynamic. But they didn’t forget to keep it elegant.
On a 65-kilometer ride from Walkerhill Hotel in northeastern Seoul to Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday, a 3.3-liter V6 Turbo Sport version of the compact sedan proved that Hyundai has reached a new level in terms of driving performance.
Forget about the bounce and softness of a typical Hyundai vehicle.
The rear- or four-wheel drive reaches 100 kilometers per hour in 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 270 kilometers per hour.
The steering wheel got heavy during the city drive where there was frequent stopping and the speed limit was generally 60 kph, raising concerns that it could be hard work for many women to drive despite being a compact sedan. But on the highway, the hefty weight provided stability, while offering a pleasant driving experience. It has five driving modes -- eco, comfort, smart, sport and individual.
The sport mode instantly unleashed the G70’s explosive power. It felt like flying.
Another noticeable feature of the G70 is that it might be the smartest Genesis so far.
When driving below 80 kilometers per hour, you can take your hands off the wheel and let the G70 take over using its advanced driver assist system, offering a glimpse into the era of self-driving vehicles. Smart features of the sedan also include voice recognition for the navigation system, which Hyundai developed in collaboration with mobile tech firm Kakao. The service, which operates on LTE network, even recommends restaurants near your destinations.
The G70 has many similarities to the Stinger, a sports sedan launched by Kia Motors in May. The two are alike because they share a platform, but the driving experience is quite different. Performance-wise, the Stinger is more like a sports sedan. But the G70, in general, is much more refined.
Even though the G70 has an exquisite exterior design and outstanding performance, more could have been done with in-car design elements, such as the navigation screen and manual buttons for air conditioners. It is still luxurious inside in terms of the materials, with premium leather Nappa and metal finishing on the buttons and gear box.
As if to prove the automaker’s confidence that it is ready to rival its German competitors, the G70 went through intensive tests in challenging areas from Sweden to Death Valley in the US.
Biermann was right to say the G70 was the “true Genesis with long-term durability and reliability” and offers “the most entertaining driving within the Genesis family.” One more claim could be added -- that it shows a side of Hyundai that hasn’t been seen before.
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com