In 2017, Kia listened to the automotive enthusiast segment of the Internet and built the Stinger, a four-door performance car of the kind more normally the preserve of the German brands. The Stinger turned out to be a darn good car, particularly the rear-wheel drive version. But some people can’t get over the idea that Kia isn’t just the brand you turn to for cheap econoboxes, even if these days it does build more reliable vehicles than just about every other OEM. Those people are responsible for Genesis, which got spun out of Kia and Hyundai to create a luxury Korean car brand. Which is to explain the Genesis G70 sedan. It uses the same underpinnings as the Kia Stinger. It’s slightly more expensive than the Kia, but it’s also a little shorter, a fair bit lighter, and comes with an amazing interior.
If you’ve come this far and have a feeling of déjà vu, that’s understandable. In February 2019, we reviewed the 2.0L, four-cylinder G70, and back then I explained the link with the Stinger and the fact that the G70 is lighter and looks better inside and out. But as I also explained at the time, I’d asked Genesis’ press office for a rear-wheel drive model, and at the time all it had in the area was a preproduction G70 2.0T Sport that came with an automatic gearbox instead of the six-speed manual that you should really order if you’re buying the cheaper, smaller-engine G70.
At the time, I wrote that I wished I’d asked for the V6 instead, particularly because the V6 Stinger was better than the 2.0L version. It seems all good things come to those who wait. Because eventually the local press fleet manager got in touch to say that my wish had been granted. Even better, it was also rear-wheel drive, which meant it did without a few hundred pounds of extra (and honestly unnecessary) weight over the front wheels.
The car in question—the $50,250 Dynamic Edition—packed the 365hp (272kW), 376lb-ft (509Nm) 3.3L twin-turbo V6 under the hood, coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. (All-wheel drive is available for an additional $2,000, but you’d do better to spend that on a good set of winter rubber instead.) Even better is the standard mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear axle, bigger Brembo brakes, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, so it corners and stops the way you would expect of a sporty sedan. Fuel efficiency is slightly worse than in vehicles from rivals like the Audi S4 or Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 at 20mpg combined, 17mpg city, and 26mpg highway (11.8/13.8/9l/100km).
That stuff is great for those early morning weekend drives out on deserted and twisty roads, but it’s not the car’s standout attribute, at least not to this reviewer. That honor goes to the G70’s interior, a black quilted-stitched leather affair that is proof that you can take the designer (Luc Donckerwolke) out of Bentley, but you can’t take Bentley out of the designer. It’s without a doubt the classiest interior in this particular market segment, and since it’s what an owner will spend most of their time looking at and touching, that’s a definite advantage in the cutthroat luxury sedan market.
Which brings me to the G70’s biggest problem (other than the need for people to get over their Korean car stigma). The luxury sedan market is not only cutthroat, it’s also in terminal decline. Everyone wants a luxury crossover instead, and Genesis is only just getting to the point where it has those to offer, starting with the GV80 that was finally unveiled, later this year. And for the last couple of years, anyone who does want a sporty rear-wheel drive sedan (and can plug it in at night) has eschewed even the Germans in favor of one of Uncle Elon’s Model 3s.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how good a car you make is if it’s out of step with the car-buying public. Which is a shame for the G70, because more people deserve to find out how good it is.
Listing image by Genesis