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2019 Genesis G70 First Drive

Rumor has it that the traditional four-door sedan is in the throes of a prolonged death spiral, squeezed into irrelevance by crossovers on one end and EVs on the other. But apparently Genesis hasn’t gotten the memo. Although its own SUVs are right around the corner, the 2019 G70 comes ready to stake a claim in the still-breathing entry sport luxury sedan market on its own terms.

2019 Genesis G70

It’s a risky yet necessary gamble on the part of Genesis, which launched about three years ago as a standalone luxury brand above parent company Hyundai. With the G70, Genesis is aiming straight for the middle of a crowded pool filled with German and Japanese competition.

Biermann insists that all the “fancy options” competitors offer tend to go largely unused and unnoticed by most customers, even if having those features implies an enhanced level of performance. “Maybe it is a bit more of a challenging route,” Biermann concedes, “[but] we have a different strategy.”

Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic which delivers shifts without drama, and there’s even a mechanical limited-slip differential (standard on 3.3T and 2.0T manual, optional on 2.0T RWD). All-wheel drive can be had on either engine. Feeling a bit rebellious? Engage Drift Mode on either drive system and light up the rear wheels in a cloud of rubber vapor.

Of course, the true ace-in-the hole can be found in the 2.0-liter G70 Sport model, which comes standard with the aforementioned Brembos (but at all four corners) with upgraded pads, and an enhanced exhaust system. Oh, and—get this—a stubby lever in the middle of the console, connected to an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual transmission. Throws are light and direct, and the transmission helps to make the most of the 255 horsepower under the hood—3 hp more than you get with the automatic.

A few variables still hang in the balance, such as when the G70 is going on sale here and how much it will cost. Expect to pay around $35,000 for a base 2.0T, and more than $50,000 for a fully loaded 3.3T AWD model.

Given the importance of the segment (and the fierce competition), Genesis has one chance to make its impact felt. And we’re happy to say that for the most part, it’s succeeded. If Hyundai’s luxury arm can nail this whole image thing—and given the talent involved, there’s a good chance it will—the G70 will be instrumental in establishing Genesis as a luxury brand with a distinct identity.

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