First drive review: 2022 Genesis G70 ramps up the style as it grows up

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Genesis is done with understated designs. The South Korean luxury brand has metaphorically moved into its toddler years with the associated kicking, screaming, and demand for your attention right this very second. Sounds like my five- and seven-year olds.

For the 2022 model year, the Genesis G70 changes what you can see, but keeps what you can’t. That’s just fine.

The 2022 Genesis G70 adopts a new exterior look to better mesh into the automaker’s expanded lineup, gets updated technology, and drops the manual transmission. How it drives, its size, and its value remain intact.

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

Look at me, I’m beautiful

The G70’s initial design was unassuming yet handsome, and it didn’t attract much attention. The compact sport sedan no longer flies under the radar.

For 2022, Genesis overhauled the front and rear fascias, incorporating the brand’s Superman-shield grille andquad-element lighting theme with four strips of LEDs for the headlights. But the grille sits lower than it does on the G80 and G90 to give the car a sportier look. The eye-catching design looks like nothing else in the class. Other drivers turn their heads on the interstate, bikers stare as you drive by, and pedestrians point as it passes, but few know exactly what it is.

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

The updates inside aren’t as dramatic. The dashboard still cants toward the driver, but the standard infotainment touchscreen grows from 8.0 to 10.3 inches. The system features a slick new graphics interface shared with Hyundai and Kia, with simple-to-understand iPad-like icons, and it accepts over-the-air software updates.

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

Base cars retain last year’s analog gauge cluster with a 7.0-inch digital display for trip computer functions. My 3.3T Sport Prestige tester had the upgraded cluster from the mid-spec GV80, which features an analog speedometer augmented by an 8.0-inch screen that displays a digital tachometer and trip computer. The base analog cluster looks sportier and has nicely textured dials, while the upgrade cluster looks more upscale thanks to a chrome speedometer needle and a brushed dial background.

Quilted leather, a color head-up display, and a Lexicon 15-speaker audio system all carry over as worthy luxury options. Unfortunately, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto weren’t added with the refresh; you still have to plug in.

The front seats offer plenty of room and support. Flick the console-mounted toggle to Sport or Sport+ mode and the thick side bolsters cinch up to give you a bear hug. The rear seat remains a tight fit that will leave 6-footers dreaming of more leg, knee, and foot room. Even kids will complain about a lack of room while strapped into their car seats or booster seats. I heard plenty of it. Pack lightly because the trunk still only holds 10.5 cubic feet of stuff.

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

Smooth turbocharged powertrains

The G70’s standard powertrain remains a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, but my tester featured the smooth and powerful twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 with 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. It imitates the best from Germany with a low-rpm snarl when the tachometer crests past 2,500 rpm, but it misses some of the BMW inlline-6’s high notes at full song. Those who #GiveAShift will be disappointed to learn of the demise of the manual transmission (it was only offered with the turbo-4), but the 8-speed automatic transmission fires off quick shifts and holds to redline in Sport and Sport+ modes when driven with vigor.

The rear-drive turbo-4 gets 31 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA, and my twin-turbo V-6 tester had EPA ratings of 18 mpg city, 27 highway, and 21 combined. Over the course of a week, the G70 matched its EPA fuel economy ratings in the real world. The trip computer reported an average of 21.5 mpg over 110 miles of mixed driving, and 27.3 mpg on a 421-mile road trip.

2022 Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70

Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive remains an option. Rear-wheel drive saves 220 lb, which makes the G70 feel more frisky and tossable. My tester’s $4,000 Sport Prestige package added strong Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential to help put the power down when exiting turns, and adaptive dampers that provided a firm, yet never jarring ride. The G70 still isn’t as agile as an Alfa Romeo Giulia or BMW 3-Series, nor is the steering as quick as the Alfa.

At $38,570 in base form and $51,445 for my loaded 3.3T Sport Prestige tester, the G70 undercuts similarly equipped German competition by thousands. The 2022 Genesis G70 has morphed from a fantastic sport sedan that flew under the radar into a gorgeous, head-turning sport sedan that challenges more mature rivals for attention as Genesis steps out from its infancy as a brand.

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