Only two and a bit years separate the moment Infiniti high-tailed it away from Europe and Genesis began its all-out assault on the continent. The brands share much in common - they’re both the luxury divisions of companies known for more humble fare, Infiniti being part of Nissan, and Genesis sitting under the Hyundai banner. Nissan couldn’t make it work on this continent, so can Hyundai?
As noted in our G80 review a few months back, the key will be some good cars. The G80 is a credible alternative to the BMW 5-series, even though it fails to beat its rivals in most areas. The G70, meanwhile, is sizing up to the likes of the 3-series.
It’s a less busy design than a lot of its more established rivals, although that whopping front grille keeps things fairly distinctive. The G70 isn’t as interesting at the rear, but it’s also less awkward-looking than the G80 back there. Under the skin, it’s closely related to a Kia Stinger, with a longitudinal engine position and rear-wheel drive. You can’t, however, have the Stinger’s twin-turbo V6. Instead, you get the engines dropped by that car not so long ago - an inline-four petrol or a four-pot diesel.
Presumably, that’s because the Stinger is supposed to be the sportier one, and this is supposed to be tipped slightly more towards luxury. And so, jump in and in place of the Stinger’s brushed aluminium dashboard is replaced with a more restrained arrangement. It all seems to be well laid out and screwed together, the infotainment system is great, and the leather seats are lovely.
It has the same 2.2-litre diesel and eight-speed automatic gearbox combo as the G80 we tried late last year. Even though there’s fair bit less weight (a drop of around 100kg), it still doesn’t feel hugely eager when you put your foot down. In terms of raw stats, the inline-four offers 197bhp and 325lb ft of torque, making for a 0-62mph time of 7.4 seconds.
Respectable numbers, but we expect more these days. The diesel could also do with being more refined, and a little more efficient. Gear shifts are, at least, taken care of quickly, smoothly and effectively. The other engine option is a 241bhp four-pot petrol, which is probably what we’d go for.
The ride is firmer in all modes than expected, although the payoff is well-contained body roll when you reach some corners. It’s a satisfying thing to drive, with well-weighted and natural-feeling steering and a general sense of good balance. The diesel engine isn’t gutsy enough to trouble the rear wheels to any significant degree, with a little squirm from the back being about as fruity as things get. At the other end, you can get some understeer in tighter corners, but nothing to grumble about.
Overall, it’s a very pleasant and inoffensive car. But that’s its problem - it’s just a little too safe, and a little too average. It’s good at everything without excelling in any area, in contrast to the G80 which has a fabulous interior as its USP. As for the G70, I’m scratching my head as to why you’d have one over something more obvious.
For those determined to avoid the usual German options, the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia are ready and waiting with a blend of style and driving engagement the G70 can’t match. They both ride better, too. The Genesis feels a better quality product inside, at least.
To consider one of these, you have to be absolutely sold on the buying and ownership experience, where Genesis is trying to differentiate itself by providing services like an on-call personal assistant. It’d just be nicer if that stuff was offered alongside a more convincing rival to the main players in this tough to crack segment.