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Would you buy a Korean 3 Series? Hyundai is banking on that answer being yes, unveiling its Genesis G70 sedan in Seoul ahead of its Q1 launch in Australia.
The third Genesis model (though Australia has only seen one to date) is also its most exciting, with the G70 sharing its critical bits - platform, engines and gearbox - with the hotly anticipated Kia Stinger, though Genesis is chasing a more premium feel over the Kia’s out-and-out performance flavour.
But that doesn’t mean the G70 will be a slouch; the most powerful variant will squeeze 272kW and 510Nm from its twin-turbo V6, propelling the all-new Genesis to 100km/h in a brisk 4.7 seconds, and pushing on to a flying top speed of 270km/h.
It shares its key performance components with its Stinger sibling, too, with the same mechanical limited-slip differential, adaptive dampers and dynamic torque vectoring system available, and Australian cars will be exclusively rear-wheel drive.
At 4,685mm long,1850mm wide and 1400mm high, the G70 sedan is actually 157mm shorter, 18mm narrower and sits on a 70mm shorter wheelbase than the Stinger, all of which is expected to shave kilos off the curb weight, too.
Hyundai’s Genesis was launched as a standalone sub-brand in 2015 in an attempt to poach sales from the premium marques. A slow start has only seen two models released to date; the G80 large sedan which launched last year, and the G90 limousine which only appeared overseas. As a result, the Genesis brand is yet to make a significant impact in Australia.
But executives are hoping the G70 will help put the Genesis brand on the map, pitching their premium mid-size sedan into a hugely competitive segment currently dominated by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Year-to-date sales see the C-Class having shifted 5643 units, followed by yet another Mercedes in the CLA, which moved 2303 units. BMW’s 3 Series sits in third place with 1865 sales. Making even a small dent in those numbers would be considered a victory for the new-to-market Genesis, and Hyundai executives are “quietly confident’ the G70 is the car to do it.
“We are very aware we are entering an incredibly competitive segment with G70 - in many ways it's the toughest market segment of them all, where customers are extremely discerning and where luxury and refinement must be delivered in a compact and affordable package,” says Bill Thomas, Hyundai’s general manager of external affairs.
“But we are quietly confident in our ability to design and engineer a high-quality luxury product. The Genesis G70 showcases that ability.
“It’s not realistic to think we can take customers away who are bolted-on to the established German brands. But there will be a certain segment of the market who will be looking at interesting new products, and they’re the people we’re after.”
The G70 will be offered in three yet-to-be-named specification levels, and with two petrol-powered engines. A third diesel option is offered internationally, but it won’t be made available in Australia.
The smallest engine, a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit, will generate 190kW and 353Nm.
The safety offering appears strong, too, with AEB, forward collision warning and a semi-autonomous system Genesis calls Highway Driving Assist all making an appearance. Inside, Genesis is promising a premium interior filled with Nappa leather, aluminium and quality materials.
The smallest engine, a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit, will generate 190kW and 353Nm, and will pair with the only gearbox on offer, an eight-speed torque converter automatic, channeling power to the rear wheels. Hyundai is yet to talk performance figures for its smaller engine.
The pick of the bunch, though, is surely the 3.3-litre bi-turbo V6 mentioned above, which will produce a quicker dash to 100kmh (4.7sec versus 4.9sec) than its Kia stablemate. Launch control, dynamic torque vectoring and adaptive dampers will make an appearance here, too, though Hyundai is yet to confirm final specification details. That engine pairs with the same eight-speed automatic, and while AWD models are on offer overseas, Australian cars will be rear-drive only.
Pricing is still a tightly guarded secret, but the smart money would be on the Genesis range starting from around the $50k mark, a move that would undercut every key competitor in the segment. The C-Class, for example, starts at $61,900, while BMW’s 3 Series kicks off at $57,300. To put that pricing into perspective, fellow challenger brand Infiniti prices its entry-level Q50 at $53,900.
Hyundai has high hopes for the Genesis brand in Australia, with a plan to launch a shop-in-shop dealer network as early as next year - installing a dedicated Genesis area inside existing Hyundai dealers - along with introducing Genesis-specific sales and service staff.