First Drive: 2021 Genesis G70 Review

Gunning for the 3 Series, A4 and C-Class, how does the G70 fare..?
28th September 2021
Ethan Jupp



If we had a pound for every time someone tried to take the fight to the holy trinity of German executive favourites, well, we’d probably have around ten pounds. Not much money but plenty of attempts over the last three decades or so, with mixed results, to loosen the seemingly impermeable stranglehold that Mercedes, BMW and Audi enjoy. Many have been good, even great. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is wonderful and the Jaguar XE doesn’t get the love it deserves. In spite of this, neither have made for enjoyable quarterly sales reporting for their respective higher-ups, at any point in their lives.

None of this has deterred Genesis from trying, though, with the new G70. A fresh face in Europe, Genesis has been Hyundai’s more luxurious sibling in America for a number of years. But can it succeed here where so many others have failed? An Asian-American import falling embarrassingly flat on its face in Europe is nothing we haven’t seen before. Genesis hopes and is adamant it won’t repeat such mistakes, with an entirely different approach focused on the product and the experience, with more realistic volume expectations.

We like

  • Distinctive looks
  • Good ride, fine dynamics
  • Cool tech

We don't like

  • Lacklustre powertrain
  • Interior design a missed opportunity
  • Pricing sturdy next to the Germans



On first acquaintance, Genesis is off to a great start. While ‘sports saloon’ is a tried and true silhouette, we reckon they’ve done a fine job of carving out a distinctive look. It’s well-judged and uncluttered but by no means featureless. The quad lighting signature and ‘matrix’ crest grille are through lines for the entire range and we reckon, look best in this installation. Unsurprising, given Genesis claims the G70 is the sportiest interpretation of their design ethos. It has a premium and expensive look to it.

Performance and Handling


The G70 comes with two four-cylinder engine options – a petrol and a diesel – and both put power exclusively to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.0-litre petrol we tried had 244PS (179kW) and 353NM (260lb ft). Sadly, neither quite feel like they deliver the performance you’d hope for and neither will be rushed into attempting to do so. The engine sounds gruff and feels suffocated when being pushed and the transmission can be indecisive. It won’t be a crying shame once Genesis embraces full electric power beyond 2025.

Both the engine and transmission are much more comfortable being allowed to blend into the background, whisking you along at a spirited pace down an entertaining A-road. Happily, that’s where the chassis really comes into its own too. There’s a reassuring solidity to its balance and the way it carries itself. It’s refined and poised, doing well to isolate you from the rough and tumble of British roads, even if the 19-inch wheels somewhat betray the cause. What it won’t do quite so well, like the powertrain, is push on just that little bit harder. There’s a good base platform in there but the calibration of the Sport and Sport+ modes in terms of the steering and suspension, and no ‘Individual’ option, just don’t quite let it breathe. It’s not bad but the Bavarians needn’t get their notebooks out.



Genesis does some absolutely fabulous luxury-feeling interiors in almost all of its other cars, including the GV70 SUV we drove alongside this. So why does the G70 feel a generation behind design-wise?

The optional comfort seats (£1,850) are good, a lot of the materials are nice and we’re happy buttons are retained. The 14.5-inch infotainment and 8-inch instrument displays are responsive and attractive and don’t dominate the user experience. But that driver-oriented climate and audio area feels a bit derivative and honesty, dated on arrival. Some of the grey plastics are tinny to the touch and while the wheel rim and controls are nicely done, the centre feels a bit cheap too. We can’t stress enough, the GV70 suffers with none of this, with a higher-quality more distinctive cabin, even down to a totally different steering wheel. Functionally and technologically, there’s not a lot wrong with this but when the competition is what it is and the rest of the Genesis family has what it has, the potential of the parts bin renders this somewhat a missed opportunity.

Technology and Features


Genesis is pushing a technological narrative with these cars, saying that many of its key customers are self-made tech enthusiast types. As such, the G70 has some genuinely clever features, including the blind spot view monitor which displays what’s behind you over either the left or right ‘binnacle’ in the LCD driver display, depending on which way you’re indicating. The ‘3D’ driver display feels a bit more gimmicky. We’d sooner turn it off, flatten the image and enjoy the recouped brightness and clarity. Both come as part of the innovation pack (£3,250).

There’s also a safe exit warning system, monitoring surroundings for traffic and passers-by when opening a door, and rear LED projection to better-warn road-users and pedestrians you’re about to reverse. Overall, Genesis claims to have a broader selection of enhanced safety and driver-assistance systems than a number of key rivals. As a part of the Genesis five-year care plan, software and maps get updated over-the-air free of charge, too.



Genesis is taking a very different approach to its debut in the UK. There aren’t dealerships: instead you get a Personal Assistant with whom you build a rapport throughout your experience with the brand. They’ll do everything, from bringing you a car to test drive, to helping you spec your car, delivering it and taking it away for servicing. It’s a more personal and convenient experience we think could be very appealing if well-executed. That’s not to mention the reduced overheads. It’s pushing a service over sales ethos, which we think is a good thing because the G70 isn’t a car we would expect to fly off dealer lots. All told, it’s a good effort with some confusing omissions made in its skillset at what is an aggressive price when judged alongside established rivals. A fine start that could’ve reached higher, for a more secure foundation upon which what is a promising future could’ve built. Can the G70 evolve into something of a Korean Tesla challenger in an electric future? That sounds more like it.


Engine 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Power 244PS (179kW)
Torque 353Nm (260lb ft)
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
Kerb weight 1,675kg
0-62mph 6.1 seconds
Top speed 149mph
Fuel economy 35.4mpg
CO2 emissions 182g/km
Price £33,400 (46,330 as tested)