UPDATE 8/26/21: This review has been updated with test results for an all-wheel-drive 3.3T model.
It’s hot. Palm Springs, California, gets heat-wave-mirage hot in the summertime, but not all the shimmer during this drive is due to the 100-plus-degree temperatures. The updated 2022 Genesis G70 adds glitter to any scene, what with its diamond-hatched front end and beveled, gloss-black wheels. Genesis’s compact sports sedan has a new, glitzier look and a more comfortable feel for 2022, but its quick and composed character on the road remains very familiar.
The G70 has impressed us before—it has a 10Best award to prove it. Line it up against the German luxury equivalent of your choice and it can pretty much hold its own in terms of performance. The latest all-wheel-drive V-6 model’s 13.1-second, 109-mph quarter-mile pass puts it in front of the Audi A4 and Mercedes C300. Those drag racers at BMW still claim the acceleration crown in this class; when our long-term M340i was new, it ran the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds at 115 mph. But the G70 pulls ahead again when it comes to price and warranty coverage.
For 2022, Genesis wanted the G70 to have more driveway presence and brought it more in line with the newer G80 sedan and GV80 SUV. Thus the G70’s front and rear ends have been redesigned. The most dramatic change is the adoption of the large shield-shaped grille and whiskery horizontal headlights. Even the front fenders were restyled, and they now have a functional vent behind the front wheel. The rear also has new taillights. Genesis is good at carrying design themes throughout its cars, from the recurring slim lights to the crosshatched grille pattern that repeats across the stitching of the G70’s seats and interior door panels. Like all good design, this gives the car a sense of cohesiveness. Consistency just seems so trustworthy.
Fortunately, the G70’s driving dynamics—which were in part what won us over when the G70 first came out in 2019—remain engaging and entertaining. Our recent drive was spent in an all-wheel-drive model with the optional twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6; a 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four remains standard. With 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, the G70 3.3T can push you back into its seats hard enough to imprint their diamond stitching across your shoulders. Our testing resulted in a 60-mph time of 4.5 seconds, with a launch hard enough to chirp the front tires. When it’s time to slow down, the brakes are responsive but not grabby. We might prefer them to be a bit grabbier, though, since the stop from 70 mph took 178 feet with some slight fade after repeated use. On the skidpad our test car managed 0.84 g, a reasonable amount of stick considering its 19-inch Michelin Primacy Tour A/S all-season tires; we’ve previously recorded a far more impressive 0.95 g with the optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires.
On a mountain road with nobody in front of you, the G70’s new Sport+ driving mode will better hang on to gears. A new optional active exhaust for the V-6 ensures that people hear you coming and frees the engine of three additional ponies, although our base all-wheel-drive model recorded 76 decibels of noise at full throttle, three decibels quieter than before. When you get stuck in the inevitable traffic jam, you can throw the G70 back into the regular driving mode and practice meditations on patience. At 70 mph, we registered a subdued 69 decibels, and our test car posted a solid 34 mpg on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, topping its EPA highway rating by 9 mpg. The G70 is positioned as a sporty machine, but if it’s good at sport, it’s even better at luxurious comfort—at least in the front seats.
The best seat in the G70 is the driver’s. Everything is angled toward the side with the steering wheel; from the back seat it almost looks as if someone tipped the car on its side and all the controls slid slightly to the left. The 10.3-inch center touchscreen and the buttons beneath it are subtly angled toward the driver for easier reach. In the dash, the one analog gauge—the speedometer—sits on the left side, while the tach and customizable digital display fill the rest of the cluster. Wireless phone charging helps keep clutter down in the console, which gives up space to house an actual shift lever rather than a knob or a series of buttons. It feels old-fashioned in the best way, familiar and well placed. There’s no longer a manual-transmission option, a philosophical sorrow more than a technical one. The eight-speed automatic was always our preferred gearbox in this car, and it now offers its driver greater control via paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel and snappy rev-matched ratio swaps in Sport+ mode.
The major failing we can find in the G70 isn’t new: Back-seat space is not just limited, it’s downright uncomfortable. At first glance, it doesn’t look that cramped. There’s decent headroom and kneeroom, even for taller passengers, but the bottom of the front seat juts back and hangs low, making foot space almost nonexistent. This affects even shorter passengers, as the long seat cushions push your legs forward into the front seatbacks. It might be more comfortable to fold the rear seats down and sit facing rearward, with your legs in the trunk. We’re kidding—don’t do that—but the seats do fold nearly flat, and trunk room is capacious for nonliving cargo.
Genesis has several advantages when it comes to winning over buyers in the sports-luxury segment. The new G70 certainly looks the part, all elegant yet athletic. It offers plentiful active safety equipment as standard, from adaptive cruise control that can preemptively slow for curves to a center airbag designed to keep the driver and front passenger from colliding in a side impact. The price—$38,570 to start, $45,745 for a V-6 model like our lightly optioned test car, and a little over $50K for a top version with all the extras—remains well below those of its competitors. Most important, it’s still good fun to drive. Even outside Palm Springs, the new G70 proves that there’s still heat left in the sedan segment.
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