When it arrived in the US, the 2019 Genesis G70 was the first sign of genuine effort from the relatively new Korean luxury brand, and it paid off handsomely with many prestigious Car of the Year awards and other accolades. Now, three years later, Genesis applied some updates to its entry-level sedan to take on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series, both of which were either redesigned or facelifted in the intervening time.
The alterations are mostly cosmetic, with some technological updates for the infotainment system and minor packaging revisions. But those slight changes have thankfully preserved the G70’s engaging, fun-to-drive personality, which we learned over a few laps of the Thermal Club’s technical North Palm circuit and a 95-mile round trip into the San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild, California. There are still a few chinks in the armor, but the smallest Genesis remains a pretty delightful compact luxury sedan.
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Applying modern design cues to an existing vehicle can result in a hodgepodge of new and old, and unfortunately, that’s the case with the 2022 G70. The quad lamps that look so cohesive and sleek on the 2021 G80 and GV80 look like an afterthought here, particularly the taillights, which need to fit in the same body openings as the outgoing G70. That means there’s an unusual body-colored plastic insert separating the equals-sign lamps. What’s more, on the G80 and GV80, the head- and taillights rest on the same exact plane when viewing the vehicle in profile, while the G70’s front lighting is much closer to the ground than the rear.
It’s not all bad, though. Working in the compact sedan’s favor are new front fenders, which ditch the outgoing vehicle’s chrome-trimmed fender garnish in favor of subtler, lower openings that recall the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur. What’s more, the vents actually have a purpose, reducing underbody turbulence and improving aerodynamics. Those fenders and a lower, more aggressive front bumper also help highlight the Genesis-signature three-dimensional shoulder line that runs the entire length of the G70. And luckily, the sedan still features the same long-hood, short-deck proportions as always.
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Inside, the 2022 G70 is much the same as it was before. A standard 10.3-inch infotainment display replaces the 8.0-inch unit of before, and there’s a new digital-analog hybrid instrument cluster with a physical speedometer on the left and an 8.0-inch multi-information display on the right. Navigation now comes on every G70 as well, and the designers reshaped the dash fascia slightly to better fit the larger screen. Other new features include standard Highway Driving Assist, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and crash prevention, and forward collision monitoring with junction assist.
The larger center touchscreen now runs the company’s newest infotainment system, which looks beautiful. Unlike the G80 and GV80, the entry-level Genesis does without a clickwheel infotainment controller, relying on the touchscreen exclusively. The G70’s smaller cockpit makes using the far right side of the screen easier here than on the midsize 80-family cars, so we’re not too upset about the omission, and the infotainment is mostly easy to use, with hard buttons for audio, navigation, maps, and a reconfigurable favorite.
Right On Track
The 2022 G70’s powertrain and suspension get only minor retuning. It carries on with the same standard engine – a 252-horsepower, 260–pound-foot turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four – with a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 producing 365 ponies and 376 lb-ft as an option. Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard with both engines; all-wheel drive is optional, but don’t spend too much time looking for the outgoing car’s available six-speed manual, as it’s been officially retired due to slow sales.
A new-for-2022 Sport+ drive mode provides rev-matched downshifts, avoids gear changes during cornering, and prevents automatic upshifts in manual mode. Those additions help the Genesis G70 expand on its already impressive rap sheet of performance goodies, particularly the 3.3T Sport Prestige trim level’s limited-slip differential, Brembo brake package, and electronically controlled dampers. That’s the machine we took around the track at Thermal, and it wowed us in nearly every dynamic situation.
The G70 takes off from a standstill like a greyhound chasing a rabbit.
The G70 takes off from a standstill like a greyhound chasing a rabbit thanks to standard launch control, a barking exhaust note announcing the sedan’s sporting intentions from the very outset. However, we wished for either a snappier transmission – it can be a bit slow to downshift on its own – or more responsive paddle-shifted gear changes. Those Brembo brakes do a masterful job of reining in all 365 horses when called upon, with no perceptible degradation lap after lap. And through North Palm’s elevation-rich corners and sweepers, the G70 turns in sharply and with nearly perfect handling balance… as long as you’re not on the throttle.
On exit, the accelerator results in some hilarious and easily controllable oversteer, with a surprising amount of sideways action before the Sport+ mode steps in and rectifies the trajectory. The throttle feels like an on-off switch – light and medium inputs yield turbo lag, while heavy ones bring the power on all at once, and even after a few attempts, we had a hard time modulating the exact amount of power needed for a smooth corner exit. Of course, a more skilled driver could exact better lap times than yours truly, and drifting the G70 from apex to apex is good fun anyway.
From Palms To Pines
Aptly nicknamed Palms to Pines, Highway 74 winds its way up from the Coachella Valley through steep switchbacks and wide curves. Our route, from Palm Desert to Mountain Center, is one of the less technical stretches of the road, with constant-radius corners and relatively easy transitions allowing us to feel the G70 out in less taxing circumstances. And while the little Genesis is an entertaining handful on the track, it’s much more docile on a twisty road.
In the less aggressive Sport drive setting, the G70 boasts a sharp and entertaining accelerator, but part-throttle behavior is more tractable. Likewise, a slightly slower pace allows the automatic transmission to select gears more effectively, though the firm shifts could use a pinch more smoothness and refinement. Turn-in is still admirably sharp and the Genesis handles mid-corner bumps with poise, but we felt a bit more body roll coming from the rear than expected based on our experience on the track. Once the hindquarters take a set, the G70 engages the driver to make quick (and entertaining) work of a mountain road.
Slowing the pace even further reveals a sport sedan that doesn’t skimp on refinement. The freeway ride is firm, but never harsh, and wind and tire noise are nearly nil. The interior also boasts extensive use of soft-touch materials, including a leatherette dashboard and center console that make it feel richer than its $37,525 starting price would suggest. Quilted leather upholstery is a design choice that’s starting to feel overdone, but the seats themselves are supportive and comfortable – three hours behind the wheel revealed no pressure points or numbness.
Back in Palm Desert and contending with mid-afternoon freeway traffic, we appreciated the G70’s standard suite of driver-assist technology. Highway Drive Assist, which makes the jump here from other Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis products, does a wonderful job of keeping the sedan centered in its lane, even over Southern California’s disjointed concrete-slab highways. The sedan also gets the company’s lane-view camera, displayed in place of the digital tachometer whenever the turn signal is on. Combined with the G70’s polished ride and quiet cabin, the driver-assist tech helps reduce driver fatigue very well.
The 2022 Genesis G70 keeps much of what made it a fan favorite over the past three years – excellent handling balance, an exuberant engine, and a comfortable and well-crafted interior. Its slightly fractured styling is the only complaint we can levy at the updated four-door, which receives enough technology improvements and added standard features to make the 2022 model a no-brainer compared to its predecessor.
Whether it’s good enough to fend off the pricier BMW M340i, Mercedes-AMG C43, and Audi S4 is a matter for another day, but let us throw one more number at you before you go: $51,945. That’s the price of a fully loaded rear-drive G70 3.3T Sport Prestige, which boasts every performance and luxury feature the brand can throw at the segment. What’s more, the sedan is just about as entertaining and engaging as any of its aforementioned competitors, even if it lacks some on-track refinement. Right at home on the mean streets of Palm Springs or in the mountains above, the 2022 Genesis G70 is yet another bona fide from the brand.
G70 Competitor Reviews:
- Audi A4/S4: Not Rated
- Acura TLX: Not Rated
- BMW 3 Series: 8.7/10 (330e)
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Not Rated
- Infiniti Q50: Not Rated
- Lexus IS: 7.9/10
Gallery: 2022 Genesis G70: First Drive
2022 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport Prestige