The 2019 Genesis G70 is taking the fight right to Germany’s doorstep
“Murdered out.” It’s a common term used to describe a black car with black wheels and trim. Sinister and serious, the look is all the rage these days, from Pro-Touring 1969 Camaros to new German SUVs and million-dollar mid-engine supercars from McLaren and Lamborghini. Cloak your ride in darkness, and it better have the power and performance to live up to that Darth Vader persona. The 2019 Genesis G70 can wear all the black it can carry.
With the exception of its red Brembo brake calipers, our all-wheel-drive G70 absorbs all light like a black hole. It’s completely Batman-spec thanks to the optional Sport Package, which adds dark chrome to its wheels, grille, door handles, window trim, and sizable faux front fender vents. Those wheels are 19 inches in diameter and staggered wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance tires (225/40ZR19 front and 255/35ZR19 on the rear).
Genesis has already impressed us with the larger G80 and G90 sedans, and the newcomer luxury marque isn’t messing around with the G70—the third, final, and most compact rear-wheel-drive sedan it will offer. Two SUVs are on the way by 2021, along with promised standalone dealer body and possibly an AMG- or M-like performance division.
With a 111.6-inch wheelbase and 184.4-inch length, the G70 is aimed at entry-level segment stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. It shares its chassis and drivetrains with the lovely-to-drive Kia Stinger, but it shaves three inches from the Kia’s wheelbase and comes in about six inches shorter. The Genesis also has a traditional trunk, while the Stinger is an open-cargo liftback like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Like the Kia, the G70 is offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, although only Genesis allows you to pair that plant with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. The engine is rated 255 hp with the six-speed and 252 hp with the standard eight-speed automatic.
Backing up our tester’s Buick Grand National color scheme is a 3.3-liter all-aluminum twin-turbo V-6 rated 365 hp at 6000 rpm and 376 lb-ft of torque at just 1300 rpm. This engine is also shared with the Stinger, as well as the G80 and G90 models, and it’s a honey with excellent bottom end torque and a strong mid-range. Around town its performance is smooth and effortless, but nail the gas to the carpet and the V-6 pins you to the G70’s firmly-padded, Nappa-covered, 16-way power adjustable, diamond-quilted bucket seat.
Although the V-6 redlines at 7000 rpm, the eight-speed automatic smartly clicks off firm full throttle upshifts at just 6200 rpm, keeping the engine’s substantial pull uninterrupted. Use the Launch Control and the G70 AWD 3.3T Sport hits 60 mph in about 4.7 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in about 13.3 seconds. That’s a blink or two better than an all-wheel-drive BMW 340i. And rear-wheel drive models are probably quicker since the optional all-wheel drive system adds about 250 pounds to the G70’s curb weight driving it up to 3887 pounds. Genesis says the car is capable of 167 mph.
About 53 percent of that weight is over the sedan’s front tires, so the G70 is well balanced and with its big, beefy summer tires and all-wheel drive it offers plenty of grip. The ride is firm but comfortable and its body motions are well controlled. The steering is well ratioed and communicative, and you can adjust its weighting, along with the throttle response, transmission mapping, and suspension tuning from the driver’s seat. Settings include Sport, Eco, Normal, and Custom, which allows you to mix and match. Unfortunately the system defaults to Normal every time you start the engine.
Loaded as it was, our test car would cost about $50,000, but G70 prices will start in the mid-$30Ks, and its list of standard features is very generous. Overall the Genesis is an impressive package, with performance, features, and interior quality that match up well to its many European competitors. But the 3 Series is not just going to lay there and play dead, especially after many bemoaned the current-generation car for its lackluster steering and bland interior. (The 2 Series seems to be the Bimmer best carrying the brand’s driver-focused torch.) BMW will introduce a new version of its best-selling sedan in 2019 with supposedly improved handling, less weight, and an all-new interior.
The Genesis G70, murdered out or not, is a sport sedan ready to fight.