Genesis G70

You can make it slide and it will hold drifts cheerfully or correct them reassuringly

by MICHAEL TAYLOR

Look out Germany, Korea is coming to get you

ENGINE 2995cc V6, DOHC, 24V, twin-turbo / POWER 272kW @ 6000rpm / TORQUE 510Nm @ 1300rpm / WEIGHT 1750kg (est.) / 0-100KM/H 4.7sec (claimed) / PRICE $60,000 (est.)

TíS anybody's guess how the BMW 3 Series has prospered as long as it has while hauling a target that can be seen from space.

From Jaguarís XE to generations of assailants from Infiniti and Lexus, theyíve all tried to hit the 3 Series bullseye and failed. Its only consistently successful foes have been the fellow Germans, the Audi A4 and the booming Mercedes- Benz C-Class.

But thereís about to be a new player in the mid-sized premium sports sedan market and it feels a lot more Bavarian in its engineering than other pretenders to the throne, delivering a level of interior quality and comfort that is at least on a par with the C-Class.

Weíve only driven the 3.3-litre, twin-turbo V6 version, but the warning signs are clear: if Genesis gets its brand building right, both here in Australia and globally, then thereís no engineering reason its I G70 wonít become a solid player in the premium fight.

Itís fast enough, with a 4.7-second sprint to 100km/h and a 270km/h top end, and it handles well.

Even with its softer Korean-spec suspension settings, the G70 showed off its rear-drive chassis balance, accurate and fast steering and remarkable stability in direction changes.

With 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque, the V6 is happy to live deep in its torque curve or to bellow out a meaty, aggressive roar at higher revs. Itís no BMW in-line six, but itís right up there for smoothness with any six-pot inside a Benz or Audi engine bay.

Itís backed up with an in-house Hyundai Motor Group eight-speed transmission, with standard paddle shifts, a mechanical limited-slip differential and five driving modes (topping out with the all important Sport setting).

Thereís also a 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor on its way to lead the price point, which will be around $50,000-$55,000 here, for about 70 per cent of the sales split, then tack on another chunk for the V6.

Australiaís cars wonít be allwheel drive (itís not engineered for right-hand drive) and theyíll carry a suspension tune developed on local roads, so Genesis expects it will be firmer and crisper than the Korean versions.

Thatís going to be good enough to bring it somewhere near the Dynamic Edition package Genesis will give the rest of the world, and that thing is a cracker.

Itís a strong drive in Korean spec, but itís a cracking thing with the five-link rear end, the steering and the constantly adjusting dampers tuned to something more like what weíll get when it lands.

Itís very quick and clean on its way into corners, settles quickly and easily onto its outside tyres and is surprisingly adjustable all the way through a corner. You can rest it on the front tyre, the rear one or both, depending on your preference, and the throttle response is fast enough to tighten the nose into the apex without any drama at all.

Unlike the Germans, the Genesis G70 really is more than happy to stay in transition for a long time, rather than racing to get the spring back to a static state, and that makes it just as pleasant and balanced in corners as it is in a straight line.

You can make it slide happily all day and it will hold drifts cheerfully or correct them reassuringly, with the influence of ex-BMW M engineering boss Albert Biermann fairly easy to see down below decks.

The stock brake package is a two-piston front end, though Australian V6s will use a fourpiston Brembo package up front, while following the Dynamic Edition path for handling will give us 225/40 ZR19 front Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber and 255/35 ZR19s at the back (though the tyre package hasnít been locked down).

Itís also comfortable around town, with enough driver assistance stuff to make it easy in town, including active cruise control, autonomous braking and an interior that makes a 340i seem a bit sparse and underdone.

Itís also astonishingly quiet when you want it to be, with the quietest electric seats in the business, though it can be made plenty loud via an optional 15-speaker sound system if you see fit.

Itís a combination of the best of BMW handling with the comfort levels now attained by the C-Class and the A4. All it really needs now is the brand cachet. M

STAR RATING 4.5

Like Dislike Chassis composure; refinement; classy interior; grunt Incoherent ďfaceĒ, shallow front footwell