Head to head

HYUNDAI GENESIS SENSORY

WORDS JAMES WHITBOURN

A FAST ’N’ FURIOUS FACE-OFF

HYUNDAI GENESIS SENSORY

The mid-level Genesis Sensory costs $71,000, just $2100 more than the Q70 GT, and they’re both loaded. Standard safety is strong – each boasting autonomous emergency braking, and lane-departure, blind-spot and rear crosstraffic alert systems. And the Hyundai goes even further, adding rear side and driver’s knee airbags. 16/20 Hyundai’s 3.8-litre V6 is powerful but not especially sonorous; musters 397Nm at a steep 5000rpm and 232kW at 6000rpm. Eight-speed auto keeps it spinning for 0-100km/h in 6.5sec, while combined-cycle consumption is only okay for a two-tonne limo, at 11.2L/100km. Thankfully, the Genesis is happy with a (77L) tankful of 91 RON. 14/20 Initial dynamic assessment from a quick track session suggests the Genesis is quite good fun, but away from its natural habitat, it’s no Ultimate Driving Machine. Yet it’s well balanced, with accurate steering and decent drive out of corners. However, the rack-mounted motor-assisted steering is low on feel and ESC can be over-zealous. 16/20 Analogue clock underscores a classy cabin, yet it’s modern enough to feature slick ambient lighting, though ‘leather appointed’ trim is not all actual leather. Masses of rear legroom and there’s an armrest with controls for front seat position, audio and the rear window shade. Boot opens hands-free when it detects the key; hauls 493 litres. 17/20 Encouraging initial ride and refinement impressions from the back seat, and similarly positive from behind the wheel.

Isolates tyre, wind and suspension noise superbly, with no unwanted road and drivetrain vibes, and rides beautifully.

Conservative combination of 245/45 Hankooks on 18-inch wheels with locally tuned suspension do the job. 17/20 80/100

INFINITI Q70 GT

Shared equipment includes a reversing camera, auto wipers, dual-zone climate control, powered and heated front seats, electric steering column, smart key, sat-nav, bluetooth connectivity and tyre-pressure monitoring. But the Q70’s lane-departure and blind-spot systems provide corrective input, and it has ventilated front seats and a sunroof. 16/20 Smaller 3.7-litre V6 makes less torque (360Nm) but spins to 7000rpm to produce 235kW and has a purposeful, if coarse, note. It’s a bit quicker (and sportier) than the Hyundai, sprinting to 100km/h in 6.2sec. Relatively light 1719kg kerb weight helps Q70 deliver 10.2L/100km economy. And sevenspeed auto’s downshift rev-match function is cool. 15/20 On smooth roads the Q70 is entertaining and reasonably well balanced, its variable-assist, speed-sensitive rack-andpinion steering moderate in its responses. However, the common bumpy Aussie road removes much of the Infiniti’s poise and ultimately betrays a lack of chassis cohesion and dynamic polish. 13/20 Infiniti features semi-aniline leather and terrific build quality.

Design is a bit fussy but the overall vibe is modern Jap-luxe.

Foot parking brake is old-fashioned, though driver’s memory function adds exterior mirror position and climate control setting to the usual seat and steering wheel position. Rear compartment is generous; likewise its 500-litre boot. 16/20 GT level is the Q70 sweet spot if ride comfort is a priority.

With sports suspension – and pretensions – dropped, along with the Sport Premium’s 20s (in favour of modest 18s with 245/50 tyres), the Infiniti takes on a more relaxed touring persona. All versions are quiet inside but the GT is even better on narrower rubber with fatter sidewalls. 16/20 76/100

V PRICE & EQUIPMENT

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INTERIOR & VERSATILITY

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PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY

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RIDE & REFINEMENT

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STEERING & HANDLING

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VERDICT

The front-engine, rear-drive layout usually provides a fine basis for a good handler, and here it’s the Hyundai that makes the most of it.

Neither car will trouble a 5 Series or E-Class, but the Genesis is certainly more comfortable and more capable than the Q70. It’s a better tourer, or limo, the latter especially considering a warranty no Bee Em or Merc can match. You get a mid-level Genesis for base Infiniti money, though they’re close in terms of spec and equipment.

The Hyundai is a bit roomier, with a more appealing cabin design, but both do non-Euro prestige respectably well. On the flipside, the Q70 gets the nod in the drivetrain department, being sportier, quicker and thriftier. Yet, as we summarise in Showroom, the ‘Hyundai Genesis is a better luxury sedan’.