Pedro Arrais review: Upstart G70 takes on sport-luxe leaders

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Genesis, the world’s newest premium brand, has just introduced its G70 as perhaps the first salvo in its battle to establish itself in the entry-luxury segment.

An upscale subsidiary of Hyundai, Genesis recently launched in Canada with three four-door sedans, with the G70 as its entry-level car.

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Entry level in the premium segment isn’t the same as the mainstream market. The G70 faces stiff competition by firmly established brands and models, such as the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Lexus GS.

Most vehicles would be rightly intimidated running with this well-known and highly regarded crowd, but the G70 seems unfazed, having hit the ground running and not bothering to look back.

The G70 comes in six trim levels and two powerplants, starting at $42,000. I drove the top-of-the-line 3.3T Sport AWD, with a list price of $58,000.

Before I delve into the G70, I want to share two business differences that Genesis hopes will set it apart from its competition.

While it is not stated in any literature, Genesis operates on a no-haggle policy — the price is non-negotiable. The price also includes the freight and delivery charge that all manufacturers typically tack on afterward (which generally adds between $1,500 and $2,200 to the final price).

No word to indicate that it might have an occasional sale, but for now it’s firm. (You might have also noticed that all their prices are rounded off — there are no ‘999’ endings.)

The other major difference is that Genesis — at this point anyway — doesn’t plan to build brick-and-mortar dealerships. If you are interested in their product, they will bring it to you to evaluate.

Same goes for service. You call and they will come to pick up your car and return it to you after the service.

You literally won’t have to step into a car dealership again.

That being said, their business model also calls for the installation of a display location in a non-traditional location — such as in a shopping mall — if it makes financial sense and reaches their target audience.

This is similar to the Tesla business model.

These bold and innovative moves are meant to disrupt the well-established world of luxury brands. The hope is that a different way of doing business will establish Genesis’ credibility with consumers.

The G70 might be the first attempt by Genesis at a BMW 3-Series contender, but it looks like it hit the bulls-eye in styling.

It can be difficult to give a four-door sedan a striking design that is attractive to both enthusiast drivers and luxury buyers. You don’t want to look too conservative, but you also don’t want to be too avant-garde and drive off buyers.

The exterior of the G70 is both handsome and aggressive in its execution. Mission accomplished.

Under the hood, there is a choice of two engines, with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four as the lesser of the two. The upgrade is a twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre V-6 producing 365 horsepower and 376 pounds-feet of torque.

The powerplant is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system.

If your primary role in life is to badger luxury/performace sedans and canyon carve, this is your ride.

With staggered 225-millimetre front and 255-mm rear Michelin Pilot Sport high-performance summer tires, the G70 practically sings on corners.

The Sport package comes with welcome performance upgrades such as Brembo brakes, adaptive suspension and a limited-slip differential.

All these components give the G70 a well-balanced and composed feel, inspiring confidence the more time one spends behind the wheel.

Steering feedback is spot-on, delivering just the right amount of information on the road without sacrificing precision.

The upgrades continue in the interior, with quilted Nappa leather seat surfaces with contrast stitching. The 16-way power-adjustable driver’s seat has both power-adjustable bolsters that snugly hold you on corners (revert back to comfort mode and the side bolsters relax automatically) and a thigh extension for those with longer femurs.

The cabin delivers in its promise of a luxury experience, with upscale trim and materials backed up by obvious attention to detail. The design strikes a delicate balance between coddling the buyer in luxury and dazzling from high technology.

For my part, I do appreciate that many of the more common controls are still buttons and dials, not hidden behind menus and sub-menus on a digital interface.

That being said, the infotainment system is user-friendly and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A recess at the bottom of the centre stack hides a wireless phone charger.

If there is a criticism, it would be the trunk, with only a 297-litre capacity. Both the BMW 3-Series and Benz C-Class can easily swallow more than 480 litres of cargo. The back seats fold to expand the cargo capacity, if needed.

Despite this last-minute quibble, the Genesis G70 absolutely shines as the newest member in the compact luxury/performance segment. With its new way of doing business and a solid contender, the Genesis brand is set to fly. (Perhaps that is why its logo incorporates a set of wings?)

THE SPEC SHEET

Type: Luxury compact four-door sedan, front engine, all-wheel-drive

Engine: Twin turbocharged 3.3-litre V-6, 365 hp at 6,000 r.p.m., 376 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,300 to 4,500 r.p.m.

Transmission: Eight speed automatic

Dimensions (mm): Length, 4,685; width, 1,850; height, 1,400; wheelbase, 2,835

Curb weight (kg):

Price (base/as tested): $58,000/ $58,100 (includes freight and PDI and $100 AC tax)

Options: Nil

Tires: 225/40 R19 front and 255/40 R19 rear on alloy wheels

Fuel type: Premium

Fuel economy (L/100km): 13.3 city/ 9.5 highway

Warranty: Five years/100,000 km new car, five years/unlimited km roadside assistance

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