THE RISE OF GENESIS
These Koreans are serious to create a brand that will compete in the luxury segment.
If you read our previous post about the G90, the flagship sedan of Hyundai’s luxury brand, you should already have an idea about Genesis.
In our second test with the newcomer of the elite club of cars, I had the opportunity to drive the G70, the sports sedan that offers an alternative to Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Lexus IS.
This car may look just “Made In Korea”, which is true. However, it is more than this.
The Hyundai-KIA Group made big progress to attract and deploy the finest knowledge and experience of automobiles. Peter Schreyer, the former designer at Audi and creator of the legendary TT, changed the faces of dull-looking KIA’s first and then expanded his influence to Hyundai. He is now design director of the Hyundai-KIA Group.
And recently, Albert Biermann, the former VP of BMW’s M division joined the Hyundai/Kia empire. His first signature work was the KIA Stinger, a sports sedan that shares the same platform with the G70. Genesis’ manager of product strategy, Patrick Danielson praises Biermann for his deep involvement in the chassis development.
So, with the best “brains” in the industry, this group has the resources and motivation to change the landscape of the automobile world.
That means the steering, despite being electrically boosted, is as communicative as BMWs of yore. The chassis, shared with Kia’s similarly excellent Stinger, is super stiff, the perfect platform on which to build performance sedan.
We drove the Sport model with 3.3L V6 engine delivering 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque and mated to an 8-speed transmission with manual mode. And with AWD, as you would expect in this class.
Honestly, for me this was an unfortunate situation because I had switched from the big G90 sedan to the smaller G70, skipping even the G80. A sports sedan in this class is not my top choice and it is unfair the compare G70 with the G90.
Having said that, the interior is well executed with everything (even with the optional navigation) you need. Seats are comfortable and sporty. The leather treatment, soft and with quilted stitching is comparable with the best.
The drive is impressive. The chassis is a product of top-class engineering expertise and experience coming from BMW. Ride in comfort mode is very settled despite the low-profile Michelin tires. The transmission requires a software update for the Sports mode.
And at some intersection, as I was waiting for the green light, some drivers were looking curiously asking “What kind of animal is this?”
The design carries elements from Infiniti (grill) and BMW (silhouette). Realistically, for a new luxury brand, it may last up to three generations to get a full design identity and this is a very good beginning.
The price of $57,000 includes PDI and five years of maintenance.
Established players in the luxury class have good reasons to be afraid.
Watch Genesis carefully: It may not take as long as Toyota positioned Lexus.
For more information please visit: www.genesis.ca
Article and photos by Varol McKars