Automobile

2022 Genesis G70 Heats Up the Sports-Sedan Segment

It’s hot. May in Palm Springs, California, gets heat-wave-mirage hot, but not all the shimmer during this drive is due to the 100-degree-plus temperatures. The updated 2022 Genesis G70 adds its share of 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. Put it against the German luxury equivalent of your choice and it can pretty much hold its own in terms of performance, and it pulls ahead when it comes to price and warranty coverage. For 2022, Genesis wanted the G70 to have more driveway presence and bring it more in line with its newer G80 sedan and GV80 SUV. To do so, 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 gains new taillights. Genesis is good at carrying design themes throughout its cars, from the reoccurring slim lights to the crosshatched grille pattern, which repeats across the stitching of the G70’s seats and door panels inside. Like all good design, it gives a sense of cohesiveness to the car. 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. We spent our hot day in the top-spec all-wheel-drive model with the optional 365-hp twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 and found it plenty cool; a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four remains standard. With 365 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, the G70 3.3T can push you back into its seats hard enough to imprint their diamond stitching across your shoulders. When it’s time to slow down, the optional Brembo brakes are responsive but not grabby.

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 onlookers hear you coming and frees the engine of three additional ponies. When you get stuck behind the inevitable traffic jam, you can throw it back in the regular driving mode and practice meditations on patience. 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 towards the side with the steering wheel, so much so that from the back seat it almost looks as if someone has 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. Even in the dash, the one analog gauge—a speedometer—sits to 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 for the G70, but this is more of a philosophical sorrow 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.

One of the only major failings we can find in the G70 isn’t new: Rear-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 non-living cargo.

Genesis has several things going for it 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 systems as standard, from adaptive cruise control that can preemptively slow for curves to a center airbag that keeps its driver and front passenger from colliding in a side impact. The price—$38,570 to start, $53,445 for a top V-6 model with the $8200 Sport Prestige package like the one we drove—remains well below that of its competitors. Most important, it’s still good fun to drive. Even outside of Palm Springs, the new G70 proves that there’s still heat left in the sedan segment.

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