2024 Genesis G70 First Drive Review: Keeping It Fresh

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Love It

Leave It

Excellent chassis balance

Tight cabin

Powerful base engine

Infotainment feeling dated

Strong value play

Mediocre fuel economy

For a certain generation of car enthusiast, the letter G followed by two digits holds a certain nostalgic appeal.

It’s true: back at the turn of the century, a certain Japanese brand took the fight to the Germans. Just as fashion is cyclical, so too is the compact luxury sedan scene: it was G35 then, but G70 now. The Genesis G70 has held that torch for a few years however, and for 2024 the Korean luxury brand has updated its entry-level model with a new engine and more tech to keep it appealing to the sedan loyalist. We spent a day with every permutation of the latest G70, on both road and track, to see how it stacks up.

What’s new?

An extra half-liter of displacement, that’s what. The ol’ 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder bows out and the corporate 2.5-liter steps in, the same one we’ve seen in every single Genesis product bar the G90. With a stout 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, the G70 now has the most powerful base engine in the segment, just eclipsing the old-guard Infiniti Q50. As before, the engine sends its power through an eight-speed automatic transmission, either to just the rear wheels or (optionally) all of ‘em. Well, at least in the US; Canada is AWD all the time.

One engine transplant is enough for Genesis, mind you; the 3.3-liter turbo V6 soldiers on in the top model, producing 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. An available sport exhaust unlocks an additional three horsepower. Other mechanical improvements include standard Genesis-branded Brembo brakes and 19-inch alloys; yes, even on the base model.

Genesis has left the sheetmetal alone, only updating the badges and giving the top models a new wheel design. Four new colors debut in the US, and two in Canada; its these latter two, Vatna Gray and Kawah Blue, that star on this event.

Tech-wise, the G70 picks up a redesigned climate control setup along with upgraded Genesis Connected Services and Digital Key tech. While all of the cars at the event featured the combination instrument cluster—analog tachometer plus 8.0-inch screen—the top 3.3T Sport AWD in Canada swaps in a 12.3-inch 3D-capable screen.

Well-mannered on the road

The day starts in a gray 3.3T AWD on the road. From Phoenix right to Tortilla Flat, driving the G70 is akin to catching up with an old friend: instantly familiar, comfortable, and a consistent drip-feed of dopamine. This powertrain is effortlessly muscular in a car this size, feeling just a touch more eager than the last, larger Genesis 3.5L I’ve driven. The eight-speed does its thing without fuss, but will happily take orders from the (admittedly small) wheel-mounted shift paddles. Note that only Sport+ mode provides full control; leave the drive mode in anything lesser and the G70 ‘box will revert back to D after a few seconds without paddle play.

It’s the consistent weighting of the controls that still marks the G70 as something special. The steering has a nicely judged heft to it, providing clear feedback of what those sizeable front contact patches are experiencing. The brake pedal is positive and progressive.

I bookend the day in the blue 2.5T, also with AWD. As much fun as the V6 is, the four-pot is now a very tempting package on its own. The soundtrack penalty comes with a weight advantage, giving the 2.5T a pointier front end. Three hundo is plenty of power these days, and peak torque is more of a plateau, arriving at just 1,650 rpm and sticking around until 4,000. Neither engine is particularly economical, but the turbo-four holds a useful advantage: 23 mpg (10.2 L/100 km) combined against 20 mpg (11.9 L/100 km) in AWD forms. Expect 1 mpg improvements across the board for rear-drive models.

Cabin compromises

On the plus side: the G70 cabin is still chock-full of high-quality materials, including knurled metal, quilted leather, and an available soft-touch headliner. The subtle changes to the upper center stack don’t fundamentally alter usability, and neither do the new climate controls. Yes, they’re capacitive touch, but the screen isn’t too cramped, so it’s still easy to operate on the move.

The Germans shouldn’t feel too threatened by the G70’s tech suite. Its infotainment system is starting to look old, especially the native nav, and it lacks the swishy ease of use of Mercedes’ system. It’s not a dealbreaker, because the system isn’t aggressively difficult a la Acura, but it’s important to note.

The other G70 weakness: a tight second row. I have to squeeze my legs back there with the driver’s seat set to my needs.

Unlikely track star

I did not expect to track the G70 on this trip. An empty Apex Motor Club plus G70 3.3T Sport Prestige RWD makes for a surprisingly satisfying combo, however. With the adaptive suspension and mechanical limited-slip diff, the Genesis is biddable and agile. A neutral balance and prodigious grip makes it easy to approach the G70’s limits, and even once it crosses the threshold, it’s a friendly and predictable car. The transmission does a decent job on its own, but shifts can arrive with a thump; use the paddles and this isn’t an issue.

There was also a short autocross route for the 2.5T RWD models to tackle. Again, the lighter nose is noticeable, as the G70 tucks into tight corners and rotates nicely. There’s enough power to swing the tail out in the hairpins, allowing for that sort of gentle smear that comes from slightly over-rotating rear wheels. I net the second-quickest time of the day.

There is a drift mode in AWD models which deactivates power to the front axle. I wasn’t able to test this, however—road drives, and all that.

Dollars and sense

In America, the 2024 G70 lineup begins with the 2.5T Advanced at $42,750 including destination. The Brembos, power-adjustable (and heated) front seats, 10.25-inch navigation system, and 19-inch alloys are all included. The $46,950 2.5T Sport Prestige adds leather and an upgraded sound system, amongst other goodies. The 3.3T Sport Advanced ($51,200) brings in variable steering, sport exhaust, and the digital key, while the range-topping 3.3T Sport Prestige ($55,600) adds that adaptive suspension, LSD, and Nappa leather. AWD is optional on all four trims for an additional $2,100.

Canada’s lineup is similar, but with tweaked names and standard AWD. The 2.5T models are Advanced ($53,000 CAD) and Prestige ($58,000 CAD); 3.3T comes in Advanced ($58,000 CAD) and Sport ($64,000 CAD) forms.

Final Thoughts: 2024 Genesis G70 First Drive Review

Look, the changes Genesis has wrought on the 2024 G70 are not dramatic—even that new base engine. If you didn’t like it before, chances are you aren’t going to love it now. But for the folks who really do enjoy a good luxury sport sedan, especially one that blends style, performance, and affordability as well as this, the G70 remains one of our favorites in the segment. This latest round of updates should keep it fresh and fun for a few more years.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

Join the conversation