THE genesis of luxury car company Genesis is a fascinating story – one laced with both optimism and cast-iron confidence.
If the name Genesis – the albums Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and Invisible Touch apart – sounds vaguely familiar that’s no surprise, parent company Hyundai launched a premium saloon of that name here in 2015.
But it bombed spectacularly, shifting only 50 examples in the UK before being consigned to the scrapheap a mere two years later.
Now a standalone brand, the new Genesis is armed and ready to take on the might of the big three German rivals as well as Jaguar and Volvo in its quest to win over executive car buyers.
And while well aware of the fate that befell the Infiniti enterprise launched by Nissan, and the fact that it took Toyota decades and much investment to establish Lexus in the same market, the big guns at Genesis are resolute in their determination to succeed.
The global progress of Hyundai and its sister brand Kia has been relentless as the Korean outfit has harnessed the world’s finest design and engineering talents to build cars that have evolved from being budget alternatives to genuine luxury products.
Now Genesis is aiming to conquer the UK, with an emphasis on an ownership experience that puts the customer very much in the driving seat.
So instead of using the traditional dealership model there will be ‘studio stores’ and online sales, with the promise of ‘no hard sell’ as the cars come with set prices and a five-year plan to include servicing. Customers can also arrange cars on a subscription basis.
There is currently a five-model line-up that not only looks the part but includes cars at a price the brand’s rivals find hard to match.
Since late spring three models – the G80 saloon, GV80 full-size SUV and mid-size GV70 – have been launched, followed more recently by the entry level to the Genesis range G70 and sleek-looking G70 Shooting Brake.
We got behind the wheel of the G70, seen as a rival to the long-established BMW 3 Series, at a media driving day in north Yorkshire.
By coincidence I arrived in a Kia Stinger, which uses the same platform as the G70 and boasts a similarly eye-catching design, though the engine options are very different.
The G70 gives buyers a choice of a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine or 2.2-litre diesel, the latter proving both fast and frugal with its average fuel figure of 44.5 miles per gallon.
It was smooth and nicely balanced to drive too, coping confidently with the tricky road conditions left by the remnants of Storm Barra.
Interior design is very much down to personal taste and there are cabins I find more appealing than that of the G70, but there can be no doubting the quality of the soft leather upholstery, the robust plastics and tough switchgear.
Space up front is excellent and adequate in rear, let down only by the slightly perched centre rear cushion seat, and a 330-litre boot capacity is pretty standard for the size of car.
Prices start at £33,400 for petrol and £35,860 for diesel in Premium, Luxury and Sport trim grades, our tested Luxury Line diesel coming in at £38,510.
Its standard kit is comprehensive and includes items like a premium nine-speaker sound system, hands-free phone operation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 12-way powered front seats, ambient interior lighting plus a full suite of safety features.
In true prestige car fashion of course it’s very easy to hike up the car’s price by adding extra cost options, and the tested model featured an Innovation Pack at £3,250, Comfort Seat Pack (£1,850), Lexicon Audio System (£790), Sunroof (£960) and Bond Silver paint (£1,130) taking the total cost to £46,490.
All preferable rather than essential, though the Innovation Pack has a camera linked to the blind spot system showing a live video feed from the sides of the car.
We also put Genesis’ flagship offering, the GV80 full blown SUV with all-wheel drive, through its paces.
This was the 2.5-litre turbo petrol model as opposed to the 3.0 diesel, yet still capable of returning 30mpg despite producing 300bhp of punch and a 0-62mph acceleration time of 7.7 seconds.
With its muscular front, tapered roofline and striking bumper design, it blends practicality with a top notch fit and finish and high-tech convenience features, starting at £56,715 (£56,815 for diesel).
These are interesting times for Genesis and with the promise of electrified vehicles coming on stream during 2022 they look like being exciting ones too.
MODEL: G70 2.2D Luxury Line automatic.
ENGINE: 2,199cc, 4-cyl diesel.
POWER: 197bhp at 3,800rpm.
PERFORMANCE: 0-62 in 7.4 secs, top speed 143mph.
ECONOMY: 44.5mpg Combined.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 171g/km.
BiK RATING: 37%.
PRICE: £38,510 on the road.