Among a legacy of German sport sedans, Genesis is banking on its refreshed 2024 Genesis G70 to show buyers that Germany has competition.
With a new 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four powerplant, improved rigidity, and standard Brembo brakes, the G70 is even track-use-approved.
Starting at $42,750 and going up to $57,645, Genesis aims to catch a diversity of buyers, from the prospective Audi A4 customer to an S5 Sportback buyer.
Originally previewed at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, the Genesis G70 has only been around in the US since 2019. Sharing a platform with its GV70 crossover sibling, the Genesis G70 is the entry-level offering to the Korean luxury brand, largely competing with models like BMW's 3-Series, Audi's A4 and S4 pair, and the Mercedes C-Class.
Last refreshed as a 2022 model year, the G70 is being revamped again for the 2024 model year, though the associated changes are almost all mechanical. Notably, the upper trim 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 remains while Genesis opted to swap out the former 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four for a 2.5-liter turbocharged four.
Half a liter of displacement isn't hugely significant, but the results are more striking in person than on paper. With 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque, the 2.5-liter G70 makes 48 more horsepower than the preceding 2.0-liter. That's only 65 hp less than its twin-turbo V6 sibling, which makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque.
The standard 10.25-inch infotainment display remains for 2024, though a revamped digital climate control panel adds modernity to the cabin. Digital climate controls are often a hot topic of debate, but the Genesis version is stomach-able thanks to enduring analog temperature control dials and a simple page setup.
Already a handsome sedan, Genesis left the G70 largely untouched, save for a new Genesis emblem and additional color choices. The new emblem is engraved with a Guilloché pattern (often found in luxury watches), while the new color additions for 2024 include global volcano-inspired Vatna Gray and Kawah Blue, plus Cavendish Red and Bond Silver.
The privilege of driving such a stylish sedan comes at a cost, of course. Starting at $42,750 for the rear-wheel-drive 2.5-liter version and going up to $57,645 for the 3.3-liter, AWD, Sport Prestige version, the G70's pricing spans a wide range of competitors and classifications. But you won't miss out on its performance or charm even if your wallet isn't $50,000 flush.
Cruising around the red-rock-lined highways of Maricopa County on a recent test drive, both versions of the G70 provided a plush, relaxing ride without the strain of wind noise or engine noise. Cooled seats on, eighth gear engaged, and the confidence of a well-weighted electric power steering system made both G70 versions superb mile-eating partners in Comfort mode.
Switching through the five different drive modes (Comfort, Smart, Eco, Sport, Sport+), selecting Sport holds a higher gear on the smooth shifting eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission and provides swift pickup as I jump on the gas. On-road power delivery is where the 3.3-liter powerplant really shines, surging full torque through all four wheels at 1,300 rpm.
Both the 2.5-liter and 3.3-liter G70 models feature Dynamic Torque Vectoring when equipped with AWD, though our public road miles didn't immediately reveal the merits of the system. Bending the front-heavy, AWD 3.3-liter into tight double yellow divided corners required minimal steering effort, even while pushing the weight forward under hard braking.
We also got a chance to take the entry-level luxury sedan to the track, specifically at the privately owned Apex Motor Club south of Phoenix proper.
Optioned out at the top of the spectrum, I hit the 2.27-mile circuit in the G70 3.3-liter RWD Sport Prestige, which features active electronically controlled suspension and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Notably, beyond swapping the OEM brake pads for a set of steel ones, these Genesis sedans were hitting the track au naturel.
Charging down the main straight, it became clear that the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 was best in the middle of the power band, as zinging the motor up to its 6,000 rpm peak required some modicum of patience. However, mid-range power delivery was strong, allowing me to stay a gear higher and rely on low-end torque to steamroll out of the slower corners.
Accompanying this low-end torque shove was the presence of seemingly piped-in, raspy induction noise. It's not the kind of traditional tuner-style wastegate noise, relying on the flow of straight air instead. While not entirely pretty or inspiring, it did provide a sense of thrill in the cabin as the induction grew in its pitch.
Approaching slower corners, the G70 needed some coaxing to downshift into second gear, only agreeing to do so when it was sure the over-rev potential was near nill. With a 3.53 final drive ratio, a short first and second gear meant that shifting between third and second was a constant for this track, leading to unresponsive pulls of the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Similarly, the addition of standard four-piston front, two-piston rear Brembo braking hardware is certainly appreciated, but the corresponding pedal feel didn't line up. Instead of an immediate bite upon pushing the pedal, the G70 required some intentional pedal pressure to slow quickly on track.
Dropping a gear could be frustrating, but the G70 largely exemplified positive handling behaviors. The electronically adaptive suspension was tight but compliant (even over curbing) and the limited but reassuring amount of body roll was complimentary of its progressively loaded steering weight.
Even better, the RWD variant displayed the kind of on-throttle behavior that engineers aim for. Gently rotating the rear on power relieved the front wheels of potentially burdensome understeer, making me giggle as I ever-so-slightly counter-steered myself to safety. It's not as sharp as a BMW M340i, but it's just as playful and more comfortable, too.
Piloting the G70 2.5T RWD through the slalom course immediately presented the virtues of a lighter front-end. Instead of a slight front-end push under braking, the 2.5-liter version tucked in nicely, so long as entry speeds were appropriate.
Without a direct on-track comparison, it's hard to say if the adaptive dampers were a missing piece of the puzzle on the four-cylinder version, but the lack of a mechanical limited-slip differential didn't stop me from power sliding around the parking lot. Similarly, the low-end torque found in the 2.5-liter (aided by a 3.72 final drive ratio) adds a peppy push out of corners.
In fact, the real issue with the 2024 Genesis G70 is not the slightly lazy on-track transmission or softer brake pedal. No, it's how you justify buying the 3.3-liter version when the new 2.5-liter version is so good. Starting at $42,750, I would be inclined to walk out of the Genesis dealership with an RWD 2.5-liter knowing I got the lightest, cheapest, and most playful of the bunch.
With only eight years as a dedicated luxury brand in the US, the Korean manufacturer is banking on beating out BMW and Mercedes with its $55,000 sedan just as much as selling a $42,750 to a splurging Acura Integra customer. Making up 19% of Genesis sales (13,246 units) in 2023, we'll bet the improved G70 will likely beat that in the coming year.
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