2019 Genesis G70 first drive review: Getting the details right

While I wait for my turn to attack the track at Tamworth, New Hampshire’s Club Motorsports in the 2019 Genesis G70, I notice some of the car’s details. The diamond-quilted nappa leather upholstery looks like it was sourced from a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. I shut off the traction control and turn the driver selector to Sport mode; its knurled metal dial clearly comes from the Bentley playbook. I grip the small-diameter steering wheel and realize it would look right at home in a Miata. This car mixes fine luxury and thoughtful sporty touches.

With the G70, Genesis appears to have to brewed the sport sedan mix just right.

The G70 sedan is the kissing cousin of the Kia Stinger hatchback. The cars share engines and their architecture, but the G70 is 5.8 inches shorter on a 2.8-inch shorter wheelbase, and it weighs between 55 and 123 pounds less, depending on the model. Genesis makes strategic use of aluminum, though, using it for the hood, front bumper beam, rear differential housing, and the components of the front MacPherson strut and rear five-link suspension. The aluminum in the suspension saves unsprung weight, which is always a boon to ride and handling.

CHECK OUT: 2018 Kia Stinger first drive review: an upscale, sporty bargain

The Stinger has proven to be a capable but somewhat compromised car on the track, and an exceptionally comfortable and roomy car on the street. I had hoped for a little more track focus in the Kia Stinger, and it fell short. Maybe the G70 can deliver.

2019 Genesis G70

2019 Genesis G70

2019 Genesis G70

2019 Genesis G70

2019 Genesis G70

2019 Genesis G70

Go with the flow

This test car is a rear-wheel-drive Havana Red Genesis 3.3T Dynamic Edition. It’s a step above the 3.3T Sport in performance thanks to additions like Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, more robust components throughout the cooling system, stiffer tuning for the adaptive dampers, 2.3-percent stiffer rear springs, and performance brake pads.

The lead car heads out, and three of us follow onto the scenic 15-turn, 2.5-mile track, a flowing road course without tight switchbacks or close esses. Club Motorsports is only a year old, and it will no doubt soon get a reputation as one of the most beautiful tracks in the U.S. Set into the side of a mountain, it has 250 feet of elevation change, which should prove a challenge for the brakes in downhill corners.

Right away the on-center stability of the rack-mounted electric assist power steering becomes apparent, as does its weight, which I like but might be too heavy for some. The G70 flows gracefully from turn to turn, its 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear Michelins singing far before they will lose grip. With my window down, I can hear the tires of the car in front of me, and it reminds me to trail-brake deeper into the corners. The car reacts well to that extra bit of light brake pressure, tucking in its nose to cut a sharper line through turns. It means my tires don’t sing as often, and it lets me get back on the power earlier to build more speed in the straights.

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