2022 Genesis G70 Shooting Brake First Review

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The best-looking Genesis yet is also clearly the best to drive, even if its slightly flat four-pot will dim its appeal to keener drivers.

The Genesis G70 Shooting Brake is a little different to the G70 sedan, and not just because of its swooping wagon rear.

Unlike the G70 sedan which is very much a global Genesis model, available for sale in markets all over the world, the Shooting Brake’s focus is mainly around Europe, and that has allowed Genesis Europe’s German-based development engineers a much freer reign in how it is tuned. And of course, Australia is a beneficiary of that, as there is no local tuning and we take what the German experts have come up with.

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A rival for the likes of the BMW 3-Series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant, the car has just gone on sale in Australia, and is priced from $79,000. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo coupled to an eight-speed automatic, and comes in rear-wheel-drive form only. Output from the 2.0L is 179kW of power and 353Nm of torque, good for a 0-100km dash in under 6.5s, and incidentally is the most powerful engine Genesis currently has for the Shooting Brake; lesser-powered 2.0L petrol and diesels are available in Europe (which we’ve also driven, but won’t talk of in this international first drive review) and the 3.3L V6 twin-turbo from the sedan is not yet an option.

It’s available in one specification, equivalent to the G70 Sedan with Luxury and Sport Line Packages, including Brembo brake package and a limited-slip differential. A no-cost optional Sport Line Styling Package is offered which brings Sport Line interior, 19-inch sport alloy wheels, sport grille and dark chrome exterior highlights.

The car looks European, and as much like something handsome enough to have made a very passable Saab, Jaguar or Alfa Romeo in another life. Those swooping C-pillars, that floating rear spoiler and Genesis’ split taillights make the car’s rear aspect particularly appealing and distinctive.

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The cabin is very appealing, too. The driving position could be lower, but Genesis prefers to put the 200mm sub-woofers for the Lexicon premium audio system (which sounds pretty potent) underneath the front seat cushions rather than elsewhere; so at least they don’t take up space in the boot. There are clever ‘stereoscopic’ digital instruments which trick the eye with some apparent three-dimensional depth, and there’s a useful head-up display too. Material richness is great in places (the leathers in particular), though some of the ‘chrome’ dashboard fixtures still look quite plain and plasticky by luxury-class standards.

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Rear cabin space is about average for the segment – adults can travel, but it’s a bit of squeeze around the knees and feet – but the 465L boot space offers a sizable advantage over what you might get in a svelte sedan or four-door ‘fashion’ coupe, and the car’s visual appeal suffers not a jot for it. Back seats that fold down 40:20:40 come as standard.

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The G70 Shooting Brake’s ride is a little firm and taut, and noisier than that of the sedan; it has BMW-M-Sport-level connected feel, but also really well-tied down body control and nicely balanced grip levels. It never crashes or bristles over lumps and bumps, but has closely checked, nicely clipped body movements. The 19-inch wheels make for some surface roar and feedback, particularly when you use the sportier driving modes which less forgiving, but good touring comfort levels can be returned to the car by a simple tweak of a knob on the centre console.

Steering feel ebbs and flows from good to numb and heavy, but it’s never a serious bugbear and doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the car’s handling. Cornering poise is certainly good enough to entice you to dial back the stability controls on a winding road, and explore how keenly this car can use that slippy diff to tighten its line under power. As it turns out, it’ll do that encouragingly well.

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This is a chassis that deserves better and more enticing powertrains. The car comes with a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol; but the V6 turbo that might have gone in now feels like a major miss. The four-pot is certainly refined, with very respectable performance and drivability, but hasn’t much character and doesn’t relish being worked hard.

Genesis’s own eight-speed torque-converter transmission feels soft and slushy at times in combination with the four-pot engine. It works smoothly and competently when you’re just mooching along, but can be hyperactive when you’re moving more quickly, upshifting at every opportunity and then jumping around between ratios in response to almost any change in the position of your right foot. It’s not the only modern gearbox of its kind at which you could level that criticism, of course, and you can mitigate the tendency by using paddleshift manual mode (‘D’ is less frustrating in the case of the diesel, which makes more accessible torque for better part-throttle drivability); but the transmission’s shifts aren’t the quickest or the most positive-feeling even here.

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These are respectable and quiet but pretty ordinary-feeling engines, then, which give the G70 Shooting Brake a performance level that’s assertive enough but not enlivening or energetic. There’s no sparkle to them. A good BMW or Alfa Romeo four-pot still feels like a special engine, after all, not a pretty humdrum one that’s been installed in hushed, isolated fashion in the front of a premium product; and perhaps that’s a depth of premium product engineering that the Hyundai-Kia Group has still to fully fathom.

This is a car with an appealing mix of enhanced everyday versatility and design allure, and I suspect that will be the motivating factor for most buyers. It has the makings of an appealing driver’s car in some respects, though it probably doesn’t quite follow up on them well enough that you might recommend it as a really compelling alternative to a BMW 3-Series, Jaguar XE or Alfa Romeo Giulia. It gets closer to that kind of status than many might anticipate, but doesn’t quite seal the deal.

But it does prove what Genesis is capable of, which is a very heartening sign of things to come. If Genesis is going to establish itself, it needs fewer conventional, traditional, forgettable sedans and SUVs and more cars just like this.

Matt Saunders

Final Verdict:
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