2023 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport Prestige
After my initial test-drive of the new Genesis G70 RWD I had this to say: “I like this G70 but I’m curious about the all-wheel drive model just to see how the driving dynamics change.” That was nearly 4 years ago and now I get to drive an AWD G70 this time on all-season tires and milder conditions.
While the automotive world fawns over the latest and greatest EV reveal, sitting just offstage is a handful of gas-fueled cars that feel as though they’ve been relegated to the island of misfit toys. No marketing dollars, little social media interest – if it’s not an SUV or electrically powered it might as well be labeled a legacy model. That’s why the G70 is such a hidden gem. Now in its fifth model year and coming off of its first refresh, this is a luxury sport sedan bargain like none other. The base rear-wheel-drive G70 with a 2.0-liter turbo can be scored for about $40,000. At the top end resides this all-wheel drive, twin-turbo V-6 fortified with the comprehensive Sport Prestige Package for $56,445.
At 20 MPG in combined driving on premium gas, fuel economy is not a G70 strong suit. But this 3.3-liter engine is set to high output – 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque – and with the assistance of launch control and all-wheel drive, the grip is capable of putting down a 0-to-60 MPH time in the mid-4s. There’s enough thrust here to really shove you into your seat. My initial G70 test week was in a rear-wheel drive model with this same powertrain and it could be a handful when the turbos kicked in; not the kind of car recommended for inexperienced drivers.
Adding torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential vastly improve the G70’s handling dynamics while still conveying a sense of rear-wheel friskiness. This car can be driven harder and more confidently than that first G70 I drove, though the turbos’ boost still comes on very quickly so stay alert. The new Sport+ drive mode delivers the most spirited experience by disabling traction control in addition to putting the powertrain on full alert and tuning the suspension to its firmest setting.
The steering feel and all-wheel drive torque distribution can be tinkered with as well as part of the Custom mode. A dial just south of the shifter sequentially moves through the six choices which are shown in the driver’s display. Riding on 19” wheels and staggard width all-season tires, the electronically controlled suspension does a beautiful job of maintaining a luxurious ride quality while also sharing more road feel when desired.
The rear-drive model is fitted with summer-use rubber which would do wonders here in furthering cornering prowess so if you’re serious about such things it would be worth investing in some Michelin Pilot Sport 4s’. Genesis discontinued the manual transmission option after the 2021 model year but it’s been the 8-speed automatic from the get-go for the G70 AWD and it’s a good one.
With paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching. it fires off quick gear changes and spawns some exhaust sound but I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a rousing soundtrack. The variable exhaust system opens wide in Sport and Sport+ to combine with the synthetic sounds in the cabin producing a convincing grumble while also contributing an extra three horsepower. And when dialed into those drive modes the driver’s seat side bolsters automatically grip a little harder to hold you in place. Brembo has been tasked with braking the two-ton G70 and does so resolutely with a precise pedal feel.
In this jaw-dropping Sevilla Red Nappa leather cabin, the G70 can be luxurious or devilish depending upon the driver’s mood. Comfortable quilted seats, an exquisitely crafted atmosphere, and simple-to-use controls – I love the feeling of being behind the wheel. Quality touchpoints and robust convenience features are foundational to the sporty ambiance that’s pervasive as soon you open the door.
A Genesis logo light carpet and a short musical composition greet occupants and lay the groundwork for a premium experience. Heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, a power thigh extension for the driver, a wide sunroof, a 15-speaker Lexicon surround sound system and a surround-view monitor are model highlights. The acoustically laminated glass keeps the cabin relatively quiet considering its sporty nature. A hands-free power trunk has also recently been added.
What the G70 doesn’t have is much room. Rear seats are pretty tight even with the deeply positioned bottoms and foot room can be non-existent – a persistent Genesis issue. It’s also tricky getting in and out of the rear so watch your noggin.
The driver display is analog on the left but digital on the right two-thirds. That arrangement means the blind spot view monitor – triggered when signaling a lane change – is on the right side regardless of intended direction. There’s also a fancy head-up display replete with Genesis logo animations and blind spot alert.
The 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen houses Hyundai’s leading electronics in terms of breadth of features and intuitiveness but of course, still lacks wireless phone projection. A USB-A port in front of the shifter connects your phone which can then redundantly rest on the wireless charge pad. Also of note, the G70’s phone as a key feature only works with Android devices whereas newer Genesis cars also include iPhone compatibility.
Concerning advanced safety technology, there’s navigation-based smart cruise control which automatically slows the car in curves, Highway Driving Assist which can perform some limited hands-free driving (not the latest version with lane change assistance,) and all the camera and radar-based tricks designed to avoid collisions.
Considering its voluptuous output, alluring style, and stocked pantry of features and performance enhancers the G70’s sticker appears to be mislabeled. For those who still appreciate the principles of cunning handling, the physics of a low balance point, and the engineering proportioning athleticism with a soothing ride then the G70 is calling.
It may be dialing from another area code mind you as Genesis dealers are still few and far between, but if a sporty car that can be driven every day, year-round is on your shopping list the G70 is a must-look. Projections have the G70 moving to an all-electric platform in 2025. Until then enjoy the ride; it’s a unique car at a phenomenal price.
2023 Genesis G70 TEST DRIVE | TESTDRIVENOW.COM (c)2023