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      08-11-2019, 06:33 PM   #27
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Drives: BMW/Mercedes-Benz
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Location: Baltimore, MD

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*Update* Genesis G70 Driven + M340i RWD Driven


This weekend I stopped by a different Hyundai dealer and tested out a G70 3.3TT HTRAC - I wanted to test a RWD G70, but none were available - and then stopped by my local BMW dealer and tested out a RWD version of the M340i.

Genesis G70
3.3TT HTRAC - As Tested Price: $52,495

Exterior Design wise I find this car to be quite attractive. Yes, it does mix a bit of Infiniti, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes into the design, but hey, if you're gonna steal, steal from the best. The car overall has many good angles, but the front isn't one of them, the grill just looks weird and feels very empty looking, and doesn't clash well with the Giulia-esque headlights. The rear is the best angle, but I would credit that to what I believe is influence from the C-Class and older 3 series as I see a resemblance in the rear 3/4 view. On the "Sport" package, the copper trim looks weird, and the 4 series like boomerang vent is obnoxiously big, I'd go for the "Prestige" package which has normal chrome.

Interior Interior design is nice and simplistic (aside from the horrid tacked on screen), and materials are actually not bad. The leather is high quality, and the diamond pattern looks pretty cool, although some lighter color seats would be nice. I do think some wood trim would spruce up the cabin nicely. The middle portion of the dash which streams towards the center console is covered in nice soft materials as well. The switchgear isn't the best, the buttons are mushy feeling and the knobs for the climate control could feel more reassuring rather than a bit jiggly, but everything is logically laid out. I really love the seat coolers, every car needs this, especially in the summer! Also the center console has a bit of leather padding the side, similar to a higher trimmed S4/5. Annoyingly the door panels have two different sets of aluminum trim which noticeably don't match.

Technology Technology is too much like that of a basic Hyundai, this is likely where they were able to make the car have a lower price than its competitors. Its simple and intuitive, but looks old, and relies solely on a touchscreen, and it can be hard to reach for someone like myself who puts their seat back. Gauges are nice in that they are analogue but again, look like that of an Elantra. The biggest problem is that while Genesis ranks above Hyundai, the new Sonata is getting better technology than the Genesis. Looks like a refresh needs to come soon! One feature I absolutely love is that the synthesized engine noise can be turned off. BMW needs this on their cars!

Powertrain The powertrain is quite nice. Under the hood is a 3.3L Twin Turbocharged V6 mated to an 8-Speed Automatic Transmission and AWD, known as HTRAC in Hyundai terms. Power is very good and delivered very low in the rev range. The engine's noise isn't the best sounding V6 in the world, and while it may be childish, the car does lack the "pops" and "bangs" of most new car exhausts. The transmission is nice and smooth, but isn't as good as the BMW's ZF sourced 8-Speed or Mercedes' 9G-Tronic, which is faster, crisper, and overall always knows what gear to be in. The AWD system is good at keeping the car planted, but of course, is still RWD bias.

Driving Dynamics Handling wise the car is drives very nicely. Body roll is kept to a minimum, with a nice and rigid feeling chassis, while still being playful enough. It doesn't dive into the corners as eager as a Giulia, and lacks the aggressiveness of the C43 but still offers a pleasant driving experience. The car does feel light off its feet and always ready, and the low down torque at 1300 RPM definitely helps with that. Suspension wise the car always stays compliant, even on the harshest of bumps in sport mode. One problem, again is the engine noise, when going through corners, it isn't the most pleasing to hear, albeit not the worst, but could use a nice exhaust mod.

The most disappointing aspect of the drive is the transmission. Like I said it isn't as smooth as the BMW, but sometimes it just can't find the right gear in auto mode. So, you think to yourself, "OK, I'll just shift with the paddles then," the problem is, there is no true manual mode. Despite using the paddles to indicate that you want to take control, the car will automatically up-shift, even when it hasn't reached redline. I find this super annoying, because if I am forced to use an automatic rather than a manual, I would at least like full control of the transmission when using the paddles. Steering wise, the car is nice and direct, with a nice steering ratio, but the steering is a bit light for my tastes, feeling lighter than the Giulia and Bimmer, and closer to the C43, while also lacking feedback through the wheel.

I didn't discuss this with the other 3 vehicles, but one thing to consider with the G70 is its excellence value for money. German cars are very expensive, and if you have a lighter wallet but still want those thrills on the backroad, the fully loaded price of $52k is a steal in this class, even cheaper than a loaded and less powerful 330i. Another great aspect is the 10 Year, 100k mile powertrain warranty and 5 year, 60k mile basic warranty, which beats any other car in its class. Although, this will require a trip to a Hyundai dealer, as there is no actual and separate Genesis dealers in the US that I know of.

Conclusion This sports sedan may track its roots back to its parent brand Hyundai, but don't let that fool you into thinking that this car isn't worthy to fight with the best of the compact class. With a comfortable interior and suspension, taught handling, strong power, and impeccable value for money, this is a great first attempt of Genesis trying to compete with the big 3. Despite this, there are some areas ready for improvement, such as dealer networks, brand prestige (if you care about that), outdated technology, and some different tuning to the powertrain.

M340i RWD
And now, lets discuss the M340i with RWD.

While xDrive does add traction, practicality during certain seasons, and better grip, I don't think it is the way to go with the M340i, as I find the RWD model improves the driving experience a bit.

The car because of its RWD nature, seems more playful and eager in corners, it still feels planted, but of course now its even easier to kick out the back tires. Of course xDrive makes the car faster, but driving isn't all about 0-60 times, otherwise, I'd buy a Tesla. One perk of the loss of AWD, is that RWD models weigh about 120lbs less, which also helps get rid of some of the unnecessary weight this generation has gained. Does the car still feel big and heavy? Yes, but now the weight feels closer to the rest of the class, although I would like to see BMW make an effort in the future for further weight reduction. The weight loss and deletion of xDrive noticeably make the front end feel lighter, and the littlest bit more nimble. Another unexpected improvement was steering. I don't know whether it was the road I was driving on, whether its different tires, or just the fact that AWD generally dampens steering feel, but I got the slightest bit of feedback with a greater sense of what the front tires were doing compared to the loaded xDrive models I tested prior. Also, I will say, I do generally appreciate how heavy BMW has made the steering weight in sports mode. It may not be E90 levels of heft and feel, but I can tell BMW is at least making some improvements, and I do hope they continue to try more in the next generation of vehicles, from whether it be a 3 series, X5, or 5 series, as long as constant improves are on their way. Of course one benefit of RWD is also a more engaging driving experience due to the more tail happy nature the car presents.

So, my perspective has changed on the M340i once the deletion of xDrive has taken place in favor of RWD only. And after seeing some great pictures of a fully black (color, wheels, grills) G20 3 series, I've now found my perfect spec for this car. (I included the pictures below)

In the end the Genesis, Giulia, C43, and M340i are all great cars in the compact class, with none of them being a bad choice. While the gap is smaller than ever, and some competitors do beat the 3 series in some regards, the 3 series is still more capable than the previous F30 generation, putting it back towards the top end of the class.

I overall think, for my lifestyle, the M340i has a good mix of attributes, being sporty enough but not too stiff, while having a nice mix of style, tech and a great powertrain. One thing is, I plan on waiting a little before purchasing/leasing (haven't decided which I'll do yet), as I want to see iDrive 7.0 improve and become less glitchy, and I want to see what the overall reliability of these first year models are, and might wait for the 2020's instead.

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