It’s easier than ever for an automaker to stand out from the crowd. Before the proliferation of touchscreen infotainment systems and advanced safety features, luxury automakers relied on a car’s high-quality interior materials, high-end stereos, and exceptional performance characteristics to differentiate it from the competition.
Those elements have helped give legacy stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class a stronghold on the luxury compact sedan market. For better or worse, those cars benefit from a long history of success. To their credit, both BMW and Mercedes have built impressive safety and technology offerings to weather the competition from automakers like Lexus, Infiniti, Volvo, and Audi.
But there’s an even more recent threat to the luxury-market leaders. Genesis, born from Hyundai’s flagship sedan lineup, arrived with the 2017 G90. Two years later, the company’s 3 Series fighter, the G70, debuted.
We had a chance to drive that 2019 G70 and found it to be startlingly great. With some recent experience in a 2020 G70, we’re left wondering if it’s truly better than the segment’s best, and if so, why? How?
Sport Mode Keeps the G70 Competitive—To a Point
First of all, the 2020 Genesis G70 is not as impressive a performer as a similarly equipped 3 Series. Despite being built upon the Kia Stinger’s platform (or perhaps because of it) and featuring a tweaked suspension, the G70 never truly feels like a dedicated sports sedan. Our car was equipped with the 3.3-liter turbocharged V6, and it absolutely ripped. While the Kia K900 coaxes comfortable, confident acceleration out of that mill, the Genesis approach seems to be more along the lines of dropping a sledgehammer out a window. Point the nose, punch the gas, and before you know it, you’re there. Thanks to the Brembo brakes that come standard on V6 G70s, you’re likely to stop quickly, too.
Unfortunately, the car becomes much more sedate—almost boring—when you switch out of Sport mode. And before you think, “Just keep it in Sport, problem solved,” heed these words: Sport mode turned aggravating as soon as we hit traffic, and our combined fuel-economy number of 15.1 mpg in testing (drinking premium fuel) had us looking to save gas at any opportunity.
The 2020 G70 Has a Price to Beat
Inside, the design is busier than the typically spartan German setups, but it’s incredibly well-appointed. And this, more than anything, is how the Genesis G70 stands out amongst the crowd. On its infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. The seats of our test car featured quilted stitching, which drew oohs and ahs from nearly every passenger. The backseat is tight on space, but the front passenger seat features adjustment buttons easily accessed by the rear passenger, like in the K900.
There’s a lot to love about the 2020 Genesis G70. The car’s silhouette draws plenty of attention, and its LED head- and taillights look great, particularly at night. The optional 3.3-liter engine kicks like a horse, even if the chassis doesn’t carve corners like butter. But in today’s market, performance might not be necessary to win over fans. The brilliant interior design makes a statement, and the G70 is no slouch when it comes to safety or infotainment technology. And, at the end of the day, the G70’s attractive price—which starts at $34,900 and consistently lives nearly $8,000 less than a comparatively equipped 3 Series—may be all a conflicted shopper needs to make the decision.
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