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Auto review: Upstart 2022 Genesis G70 outshines its German rivals

Genesis has always tried to set itself apart in the luxury automotive brands with dealers coming to their clients’ home or office, whether it’s to bring a car to test drive or pick up a car for service. Since the pandemic, these services have expanded even more, according to Mark Del Rosso, president and CEO of Genesis Motor North America.

“Our retailers were already positioned for at home services,” Del Rosso said. “The modern consumer is curating everything from vacations to dating. So, mobility services should be no different.”

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But being a luxury retailer requires more than exemplary service.

One of the key qualities of luxury is scarcity, he said. “You know there’s authenticity, materials, craftsmanship and scarcity. I think that’s our challenge, to make sure that it’s always in desire, and we’ll do that very, very carefully.”

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The G70′s mid-cycle refresh is part of Genesis’ plan that includes a slew of new products, all recently redesigned or introduced, including the midsize G80 and full-size G90 sedans, and the GV80 midsize SUV. Joining that list: the 2022 Genesis G70 compact sedan.

Knowing it’s an underdog fighting the German triumvirate of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Genesis did more than expected for the G70′s refresh. Rather than merely updating the its grille, front fascia and taillamps, Genesis wrapped the compact luxury sedan in fresh sheet metal, although its roof and doors remain unchanged. Nevertheless, the new look significantly enhances the car’s allure. Lower air intakes give the car a lower, wider appearance. The brand’s signature grille is flanked by quad headlamps — a handsome design that’s uniquely Genesis and quietly elicits its winged logo. Walk around to the back, and you’ll find a design that recalls the front end without mimicking it. The trunk’s cut lines suggest the crest grille, while its curved rear edge creates an integral rear spoiler. Quad taillamps frame it.

Inside, the changes are less dramatic, although the G70′s driver focus remains, with accents of aluminum and quilted leather, augmented by faux leather elsewhere.

The showpiece is the G70′s a 10.25-inch high-def touch screen. Engineered on an all-new electronic platform with cloud-connected software, owners can check on their car remotely or lock the head unit when the G70 is being valet parked. It even provides over-the-air software updates. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and Android phones can be used as a digital key to lock, unlock and start the car, and to access the trunk. In addition, Genesis also supplies an NFC card that can also lock, unlock and start your sedan.

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Taken as a whole, the car feels like it should be far more expensive than its competitors. But the real treat comes when it’s time to drive.

Standard and Prestige models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Other trim levels get a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 that produces 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive, capable of sending 100 % of the engine’s power to one end or the other, is a $2,000 option. An eight-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard. The six-speed manual transmission, previously optional on rear-wheel-drive four-cylinder models, is no longer offered, but a full complement of driver-assistance safety features are.

Interestingly, while the majority of the G70′s competitors in this segment are four-cylinder models, that’s not the case with the G70. Its six-cylinder models account for 50 % of sales, thanks to a price point that undercuts its rivals.

Better yet, the 2022 Genesis G70 is an absolute blast to drive, adroitly balancing European and Korean priorities of deft handling with impressive ride compliance. The vehicle naturally rotates around in corners, beautifully balanced and clearly communicating what’s happening. There’s little body lean in corners or excess rebound over bumps. But the company also remains true to the G70′s raison d’être as the brand’s most athletic vehicle. Engaging the car’s Sport or Sport+ driving mode holds the transmission in gear, preventing it from automatically upshifting. These modes also adjust the mechanical limited slip differential and electronically controlled suspension for more vigorous driving. But best of all, the Sport+ mode allows all-wheel-drive models to drift — something you never experience with all-wheel drive. It’s a whole mess of fun.

There are those who would never consider a Genesis given its lack of a European badge — even though any number of Europeans were key to its creation. But that’s OK. Let them overpay for their Teutonic indulgences. Truly perceptive buyers will realize this car outperforms its rivals with superlative performance and handling, a perfect tech package and a more extravagant interior. And it does for thousands less.

While low price isn’t a luxury buyer’s priority, an exceptional value is, regardless of price. This is the 2022 Genesis G70′s ace-in-the-hole.

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2022 Genesis G70 Launch Edition

MSRP: $37,525-$52,900

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6

Horsepower/Torque: 365/376 pound-feet of torque

EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 17/25 mpg

Length/Width/Height: 184.4/72.8/55.1 inches

Cargo capacity: 10.2 cubic feet

Weight: 3,774 pounds

(Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. Readers may send him email at TheDrivingPrintz@gmail.com.)

©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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