Genesis G70 2.0T Luxury Line 4dr Auto
How much of a drivers’ car do you want your junior exec saloon to be? The BMW 3 Series has traded on its well-balanced rear-drive Germanic-ness for decades, but it’s always tightly challenged in sales by the decidedly lacklustre Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, neither of which handle with the Beemer’s verve or precision, but massively outflank the sweet-steering Jaguar XE and agile Alfa Romeo Giulia nevertheless.
The Genesis isn’t a drivers’ car. It may be rear-wheel drive, but its chassis is numb. The damping is soggy in the default Comfort setting, but rotate the sprung knob to Sport and it overdoes the effect, becomes fidgety and irritable. The steering’s previous relaxed weighting is suddenly hefty, but offers no sense of the tyres it’s pointing.
The petrol engine, which starts with a rather uncultured growl from cold, is never quite as distantly muted as it is in the Audi, or as responsive as you’d find in the BMW. We tested the 242bhp variant which is good for 0-62mph in a respectable 6.1sec.
We suspect the coding applied to the eight-speed gearbox to make it behave in a European emissions test is to blame for its indecisiveness – it’s prone to a needless downshift when the turbocharged engine itself is actually more than torquey enough to do the job your right foot is asking. It’s all ever so slightly disjointed, lacking the overall polish of the best European junior exec saloons. The brakes are another example: while the callipers say Brembo (for Sport Line models), the pedal says ‘I’m very overserved and tricky to modulate'. Weird, considering it ain’t a hybrid.
Perhaps we’ve arrived at the Genesis with the wrong expectations. Treat it more as a shrunken barge, not an out-and-out sports saloon, and it’s a decent cruiser with more compliance than more corner-hungry rivals. Thing is, the G70 features quite quick, roll-of-the-wrists steering, and that jars with the car’s chilled-out attitude. It’s as though the engineers have cherry-picked the bits they liked of European contenders and mixed it in with a Korean sense of luxury, and the fusion doesn’t quite gel.
Wind noise is minimal, but there’s a fair bit of tyre roar. We’re yet to drive the diesel, which claims to average 42-44mpg, but we were able to get close to the claimed petrol consumption figures of 31-35mpg, with an average of 32mpg.
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