2020 Genesis G70 makes case for sport sedan glory

Not much has changed for the second year of the Genesis G70 sport sedan, except for the reminder that it is worthy of consideration alongside the BMW 3-Series, long the benchmark for your sport sedan dollars.

That narrow segment is crucial in converting car enthusiasts into brand enthusiasts. While Genesis preps its first crossover for a rabid crossover market, it needs the G70 compact sedan to be good enough to compete with the Germans.

The G70 mostly serves that need. The 2020 Genesis G70 has a TCC Rating of 6.7, which is just a shade off the Audi A4 but off the pace of the 7.7 TCC Rating for the BMW 3-Series.

It’s been about 18 months since I last drove the G70, and now that the newness has worn off, I’m not as keen to fawn all over it. A smaller, spryer, more luxurious take on the related Kia Stinger, the G70 isn’t quite as track-ready as the 3-Series, as technologically sophisticated as the Audi A4, as sumptuous as the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43, or as gorgeous as the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Yet it embodies all of those traits at a price that undercuts them all. Its virtue is not value as much as the harmony of all its parts. And it’s a class above the Lexus IS and other premium entrants. 

A week tooling around town and hitting the highway for a beach day with the kids in the top Sport model with the uprated 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 reminded me of its charms and its shortcomings. 

Hit: Eye-catching style inside and out

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

With red Brembo brake calipers glinting behind 19-inch alloy wheels, side air vents sculpted into the body, a long wheelbase and short overhangs, the G70 Sport is poised to pounce. Passersby paused to stare, and many glances were held as we drove past, most likely to check the badge identity. 

The G70 is even more impressive on the inside. Plush, quilted nappa leather seats (part of the $2,850 Prestige package) with thigh extenders up front made for comfy cruising. The red contrast stitching on black leather, as well as the metal plates on the pedals, give it sporty sophistication, even though the 8.0-inch touchscreen was plopped in from the expansive Hyundai parts bin. Turn it to Sport mode and the seat bolsters mechanically hug your sides. 

Hit: Inner seat controls

2020 Genesis G70 front seats

2020 Genesis G70 front seats

The hallmark of luxury is attention to detail, and Genesis put such simple touches on the front seats it’s a wonder other automakers aren’t doing the same. On the side of the front passenger seat back, just above the center armrest, are two buttons to move the passenger seat forward and back, as well as tilt the seat back. Back seat passengers who are cramped can reach it, or the driver can  press the button to adjust it before the passenger gets in. It’s clever, considerate, and brilliant.  

Miss: Cramped rear seat

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

We used those buttons on the front seats often. The tween riding shotgun wanted to nap after a day at the beach and her 5-foot-2 brother in back barely tolerated it; a slushie was exchanged. Negotiations and compromises must be made with the narrow seating configurations in back. The G70 is only 1.3 inches shorter than the 3-Series, which has grown to large enough proportions to be a mid-size sedan, yet the G70 feels much tighter in the second row, despite similar dimensions. It’s better for couples, as in, one couple, than it was for the three of us. With just 10.5 cubic feet of trunk space, it required folding down one side of the 60/40 split rear seats to fit our hammock, umbrella, and other sundry sunny day items. The 3-Series has 17 cubic feet of space in the trunk. 

Hit: Performance

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

The 365-horsepower 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 delivers its power off the line without hesitation. It can hit 60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds. Genesis quotes a 4.5-second 0-60 mph time with rear-wheel drive, but my all-wheel drive tester’s optional AWD added 220 pounds to bring the total to just under 4,000 pounds. The power evoked grins and giggles alike, even without using launch control. Though I didn’t get the chance to push it hard into corners, it stayed low and composed on esses that I wouldn’t dare take as fast in lesser cars. The 8-speed automatic transmission was smooth and predictable overall, but even when using the paddle shifters in manual mode it would automatically shift between 5,000 and 6,000 rpm. I wouldn’t mind flirting with red a bit more. 

Miss: Wound a bit too tight?

At highway speeds, the small steering wheel vibrated. Switching from Sport to Eco or Comfort mode slightly lessened the vibrations, as did slowing down to 70 mph, but it still thrummed. The trade-off was a hefty steering feel and a direct connection to the road via the rack-mounted electric-assist power steering in more spirited driving. If only there were a way to neuter that while cruising. 

The throttle pedal’s short travel  also took some getting used to. The car jumped off the line, but from there it was a short push to the floor. It took some adjusting to feather the throttle when I didn’t want to dart around. 

Hit: Value

Most luxury compact sport sedans start at about $40,000, but that is typically for a 2.0-liter turbo-4. For six-cylinders and all-wheel drive, only the G70 can be had for under $50,000. The 2020 G70 with the twin-turbo V-6 with all-wheel drive and top Sport trim is $47,645, without options. A similarly equipped 2020 Audi S4 starts at $50,895; a 2020 BMW M340i with the turbo inline-6 and all-wheel drive starts at $56,995; the C43 is just under $60,000 with similar equipment. 

The G70 also comes with 3-years/36,000-miles of complimentary maintenance, a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That is the best warranty package in the business. The price and the promise should be enough to get shoppers to test it, and the total package should make it a tough call between the G70 and its vaunted rivals. 


2020 Genesis G70 Sport

Base price: $46,650

Price as tested: $53,245, including $995 destination

Drivetrain: 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 17/25/20 mpg 

The hits: Gorgeous styling, plush interior, tight ride, priced right

The misses: Narrow pedal travel, vibrating steering wheel, cramped rear seat.