Enthusiasts, listen up: Genesis has something in store just for you
Words by: Adam Allen
It feels like only yesterday you were heaping praise on the Genesis brand’s new sports sedan.
It wasn’t yesterday, but it was July 13th, 2018 to be exact. We look back fondly to the week we had our first encounter with the best sports sedan you can buy today, although that one was powered by a burly twin-turbo V6, had all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission. This time, we find ourselves ensconced in the diamond quilted leather seats of a different G70, the one that’s supposed to snag the attention of enthusiasts- the 2.0 T Sport model. For this go-around, the engine loses two cylinders but keeps the turbo, the drivetrain layout is pure rear-wheel drive and yes, folks, that’s an honest-to-goodness manual shifter you see sprouting from the console.
While the engine, drivetrain and gearbox are different, is the excellence of the chassis left intact?
Yes. The same chassis that caused a tidal wave of positive ink to be spilled when it first started landing in the hands of auto journalists the world over has not been touched whatsoever. One can therefore conclude that a week in a car with such carefully engineered basics is going to be fun and our tester did not disappoint, serving up driving dynamics that are fast becoming the envy of competitors. The same knowing smile crept across our faces as we threw it into a corner for the first time while we thought, “yeah, that’s the stuff.”
And the interior…have they fettled with it?
Not at all. The confines of our 2.0T tester was pretty much an exact copy of the V6 version we drove and suffice it to say that it remains a first-rate place to be while enjoying the harmoniously integrated joys the mechanical bits deliver. In case you need reminding, it has every option you could want as standard kit; in fact, the only option available is colour.
Let’s hear more about how it drives.
Like everyone, we’re prone to bouts of laziness and we entertained taking the easy way out to tell you that it’s the same as it ever was- excellent, and leave it at that. Since the boss wouldn’t be thrilled at the truncated explanation and you no doubt want to hear more, we’re going to delve into greater detail. We begin with the manual gearbox which falls just shy of greatness-we have an idea for a work-around which we’ll discuss later- but it’s still a commendable effort and is better than many other examples found throughout the industry. Remember the Genesis coupe made by parent company Hyundai? That car was supposed to have sound sporting credentials, and the shift-it-yourself unit in the G70 is astoundingly better than anything its distant ancestor could muster. It offers good feel as it moves through the gates, and the clutch pedal offers tactile pleasure as well. Those who enjoy satisfying rev-matched downshifts will love the pedal placement, which is spot on for just this sort of thing. Moving on to the engine, the 2.0 turbo isn’t nearly as powerful as its six-cylinder stablemate but that doesn’t mean it’s slow. It offers satisfying shove if the revs aren’t too low and the benefit of less mass over the front wheels sharpens what was already pretty snappy turn-in characteristics. Better fuel economy is a side benefit as well. We loved this model G70 for what it didn’t have, and that would be a driveshaft transmitting power to the front wheels. Don’t get us wrong, all-wheel drive can be a blessing to have and we rather liked the rear bias unit found on the V6 model. But having a pure rear-wheel drive experience in a car with such a capable chassis and suspension is a real treat. In a swing of extremes, we drove the turbo six model during a sweltering heat wave and the 2.0T Sport during a vicious cold snap punctuated by significant snowfall. Those who doubt that rear-wheel drive layout are fit for a Canadian winter should be rest assured that with all the G70’s traction aids and a good set of winter tires render it not only virtually unstoppable, but incredibly fun too. Turn off the traction control (when it’s safe to do so) and remember why a car with a solid drivetrain and impeccable balance is so much fun when the going gets slippery. We’d smile to ourselves when others wold moan about a messy weather forecast. Those who enjoy driving, no matter what Mother Nature has in store will have a lot to like where the G70 2.0T Sport is concerned.
What might go wrong?
As a first effort from a fledging brand, the enthusiast oriented 2.0T Sport is a herculean first effort but there’s still room for improvement. Starting off under the hood, we’d ask for more power (surprise, surprise) and for a more involving soundtrack. Those bits would be nice, but what this engine really needs is a lighter flywheel. In Sport mode the issue isn’t so noticeable, but in other situations it feels like it builds revs a bit reluctantly and hangs onto them when you stab the clutch pedal. The gearbox as well is very good but lacks the delicacy and precision of something you’d find in a Honda or Mazda. Perhaps Genesis could talk to those brands about building gearboxes for them- a notion that isn’t so far fetched in an age of sharing parts that has yielded an AMG powered Aston Martin and BMW Z4’s wearing Toyota Supra clothes. Lastly, and we addressed this in our test of the 3.3T model, the back seat could use more room.
Should I buy a G70 2.0T Sport?
The North American motoring press collective thinks you should- it was recently announced at the Detroit Auto Show that it took home Car of the Year honors, beating out some very stiff competition including the resurrected and aforementioned Supra. Here’s another reason: it’ the only sports sedan available with a manual gearbox. That’s right folks- this is the last of its breed now that Audi, Mercedes Benz and most recently BMW have turned their backs on the manual gearbox within this segment. Another tidbit to consider: Genesis has shown a relentless dedication to making their cars better in a very short period of time. Given their insatiable thirst towards building compelling cars, we’d say the next few years will be interesting. We are staying tuned, and we’d advise you to do the same.
2019 Genesis G70 2.0T Sport– Specifications
- Price as tested: $45,500
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger Sports Sedan
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/rear-wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Engine: 2.0 litre turbo inline-four, DOHC, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 252 @ 6,200 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 260 @ 1,400 rpm
- Curb weight: 1,673 kg (3,688 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 11.7L/100km (20 mpg)