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2019 Genesis G70 a genuine C-segment sports-sedan option

The new Genesis sports sedan is a genuine C-class player with track-day capable components.
The 2019 Genesis G70 is a new C-class luxury sports sedan from a new luxury marque. Parent company Hyundai is pouring significant resources into its new premium Genesis brand, including a new dealer network and a diverse and experienced global engineering team. The all-new G70 is the third of six new Genesis models expected to debut by 2021, the final sedan of the lineup (after the G90 and G80), and also the smallest and sportiest Genesis model to date.
The G70 spent much of its development on the racetrack, with real track-spec capabilities as platform targets. After a day of driving the all-new Genesis, including street and track time, Automotive Engineering can report that the G70 is a genuine option in a segment populated by some of the world’s most accomplished and capable luxury sport sedans.

Well established competition
The Genesis G70 is aimed directly at some brutal competition, including the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50 and Cadillac ATS. “That was a big challenge for our engineering team,” said Albert Biermann, President and Head of Vehicle Performance Division of Hyundai Motor Group, “because all of a sudden we are competing with premium OEMs in the entry-luxury segment, and there is a strong establishment there.”
The G70 is manufactured at the HMC plant in Ulsan, and went on sale in Korea in September of 2017. Parent company Hyundai appears fully vested in the Genesis brand, with a dedicated dealer network scheduled to debut with the G70’s August on-sale timing in the U.S., and a global portfolio both in terms of personnel and infrastructure.
“It's a global approach,” Biermann explained. “In Namyang we have the facilities, the latest and greatest K&C [Kinematics and Compliance] test rigs, and our Korean engineers are talented, well-educated and very ambitious. We have test facilities at the Nürburgring, our suppliers have test facilities in Sweden, and with our tech center in the US, we did the final tunings for the U.S. market.”

Solid foundation
The G70 is wholly conventional, debuting without hybrid or other electrified features, and is based on the new global C2 platform (a scalable RWD/AWD platform first applied on the Kia Stinger). The front-engined, four-door G70 sedan provides direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder or V6 powerplants, standard rear-wheel-drive (AWD is optional) and is suspended by MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup in the rear.
Though following a long-standing sport-sedan formula, the G70 is a well-sorted execution, and one that will likely provide new value in the storied C-class luxury-sedan set. The G70 is notable as it is perhaps the first performance product from a Korean manufacturer that requires no qualifications. Though our time in the new Genesis was limited, initial impressions of stiffness, kinematics, responsiveness and control suggests the G70 chassis is comparable to anything in the segment.
“The foundation for any kind of car that performs well dynamically is an incredibly rigid platform,” said Biermann. “We used high-strength steel, aerospace-grade adhesives and strategic lightening with aluminum to create the ideal balance of stiffness, light weight and competitiveness.” Biermann knows of what he speaks, having spent decades with BMW, including head of its M-Performance division.

Though it wouldn’t name the competition, Genesis claims the G70 is lower (55.3 in.) and wider (72.8 in.), with a longer wheelbase (111.6 in.) than “key” competitors. Purposeful and handsome in person, the G70’s low seating position, thin A-pillars and 52-/48-percent (front/rear) weight distribution point to the G70’s intentions as a driver’s car.

The G70 uses insertion-type MacPherson struts for the front suspension for increased stiffness, and an independent, 5-link suspension in the rear. Optional are electronically controlled dampers and a Brembo brake system. Standard 18-inch wheels sport Michelin all-season rubber, with two optional 19-inch wheels featuring the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4. Aero tweaks include at least partial underbody covers from end to end, front wheel air curtains and grille-mounted air flaps.
Turbo powertrains, manual option
The G70 will offer two direct-injected turbocharged powerplants in the U.S., with a 2.2L turbodiesel available in other markets. Standard with either engine is a Hyundai-built 8-speed automatic transmission with rev-matching and gear-holding technology. Rare even in the lux-sport-sedan class these days is an optional Hyundai-built 6-speed manual transmission available on 4-cylinder/RWD G70 models. The manual-transmission model is not a base trim, as it’s part of a performance package that includes a unique sport exhaust, Brembo brakes with a trackday-ready brake-pad compound and some small weight-reduction measures.
The G70 base engine in the U.S. is the Theta 2.0L direct-injected and turbocharged inline-4, rated at 252 hp (255 hp with the manual transmission thanks to the unique exhaust) and 260 lb·ft (353 N·m). The engine features motor-driven intake-side variable valve timing, a cassette-type balance shaft module and a 2-stage oil pump.
Optional in the G70 is the twin-turbocharged Lambda 3.3L V6, which Genesis claims produces a segment-leading 365 hp and 376 lb·ft (510 N·m). A mid-position-lock variable valve train is on tap for swift response and improved fuel efficiency, as is a dual-stage oil pump and cylinder heads with integrated exhaust manifolds, which also reduce warmup time.
With either engine, the G70 is available with AWD. Not just an all-weather option, the system can dynamically distribute torque within the different drive modes. Depending on the mode selected, torque-split percentage can vary between 40/60 and 10/90 front/rear, and to increase heat capacity, the transfer case and transmission share the same large-volume oil reservoir. Also available is a quieter, plate-type mechanical limited-slip rear differential, as well as launch control and dynamic torque vectoring.
As part of the G70’s track-ready tuning, significant development time was spent on the cooling system. “For our Dynamic edition, we have a unique upgraded cooling system able to handle the requirements of a high-performance vehicle on a track,” said Chahe Apelian, senior manager for vehicle testing and development at Hyundai America Technical Center. “It's also making sure that you can do it at the track in high temperatures – 70-80 degrees outside could cause no issues. At 90 or 100 degrees ambient temperature, your car could be in hot mode and just parked on the side of the track.”
“Our proving ground is in the Mojave Desert, and then we also confirmed at [California’s] Buttonwillow track. We're not necessarily looking for the fastest tracks, as the slower tracks with lots of corners are much more severe for thermal performance,” Apelian continued. “If you go on YouTube, you'll see other products and their issues because they didn't do that work. We wanted to make it authentic.” With ambient temperatures over 90F during the G70’s launch-event track day, we witnessed no cooling issues.

Exhaust as driver input
Another part of the “authenticity” quest was sound management, a tricky balancing act in the lux-sedan arena, where NVH is a key segment qualifier. Each of the G70’s five available drive modes – Sport, Comfort, Smart, Eco and Custom – get their own unique Active Sound Design (ASD) profile. One of the key goals was to improve driver performance, particularly on the track, by enhancing certain audio cues.
“The main purpose for active sound enhancement is feedback from the powertrain. If you're driving fast on a track, your cue for shifting is usually sound, not the tachometer,” Apelian explained. “Based on our testing, on a two-minute track, you can get three-tenths just by adding sound cues.”
The team also sought to keep the sounds genuine. “Our philosophy is, if it doesn't exist naturally, we don't enhance it. We're not making anything up,” Apelian asserted, noting they will start by tuning the physical exhaust to where they like the sound, even if it’s beyond the legal limits. They then try to get as close to that ideal with an exhaust that adheres to all regulations, then electronically “bump up the levels a little bit.
“The modeling is really to make sure you have the right back-pressure. You don't want to kill power for the sake of sound, but usually it goes hand in hand – good-sounding mufflers have good power,” he said. “A turbo is a muffler, but you still have all the pulses. As long as you have the pulse, and the resonators in the muffler system are tuned for those pulses, you'll get a pretty decent sound.”

Loaded with tech
The new Genesis G70 should cause some disruption in the entry lux-sedan class via value. Expected to start well-equipped around $35,000, fully-loaded AWD V6 versions should barely hit the $50K mark. Standard features will include a 7-inch color LCD multi-information cluster display and a floating 8-inch dash mounted touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity along with Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and HD Radio.
Options include an integrated navigation system, Qi wireless charging, head-up display and surround-view camera parking system. Also available is a 15-speaker, 660-watt Lexicon audio system with two subwoofers mounted underneath the front seats. Most upper trims include these features as standard.
Standard G70 safety tech will include forward collision-avoidance/assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, lane-keep assist and driver attention warning. A complimentary three-year subscription to Genesis Connected Services includes SOS emergency and automatic collision notification. The Amazon Alexa-enabled mobile app will help schedule complimentary 3-year/36K-mile maintenance (including a service valet to collect the G70 via a courtesy vehicle). Also complimentary for three years are SiriusXM® Travel Link Data Services and annual multimedia and navigation updates.

A refined entry
With a track-tuned chassis and savvy suspension kinematics, the G70 is a viable player in the hotly contested lux sport-sedan segment. Even when tossed around on the track, the G70 possess the sort of aplomb and “harder you drive it, better it feels” dynamics traditionally regarded as the realm of the European C-class mavens. There’s also no faulting the G70’s content at the intended price points, which should easily disrupt value discussions in the class.
The six-speed manual option on the track-day focused 2.0L models felt workable if not particularly involving, though that sensation was likely amplified by the seamless and transparent performance of the paddle-shift 8-speed automatic, which could easily have come from a top-tier supplier. The belt-driven electric-assist power steering was precise and engaging without being tiring, and the whole cabin environment should please entry-lux aspirers who still seek some joy in the art of driving.
Body motions on the G70 are taut, but coated with a layer of refinement, even during sharp surface impacts. As a fun but luxurious daily driver, the G70 seems to have hit the sweet spot. “It’s not that hard to make a sporty car that’s harsh,” Apelian explained. “Comfort is not ‘soft’. It’s damped and controlled, and shouldn’t make you tired. The suspension event should occur, be rounded, then be gone. At the end of the day, the goal with the G70 was, ‘You get in tired, you get out relaxed’.” Continue reading »