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PRINT EDITION
Sporty luxury sedan segment gets new contender
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The Genesis G70 turns heads, but can it compete with an updated Infiniti Q50?
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By DAVID MILLER
Special to The Globe and Mail
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Friday, August 10, 2018 – Page D4

FACEOFF

Back in 2013, the Q50 was the new kid on the block, now it's the Genesis. Since that time, Infiniti has added some sharper curves and eye-popping 400 horses as an engine option.

Let's see how these top-of-theline sporty and seductive sedan offerings match-up.

LOOKS

Genesis G70: The G70's long wheelbase sets a striking tone, complemented by its signature mesh grille, sleek headlights, athletic lines and coupe-like curves.

It proves that refinement can be about the fine details without flashy design cues looking for immediate attention. While driving, endless amounts of gawkers were curious to discover what company was behind this, as it comes off as more high-end with four-piston Brembo front brakes with red calipers, black 19-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels and a logo that bears a resemblance to that of Bentley.

Infiniti Q50: It almost seems as if Genesis took the Infiniti script to build its G70. All those simple yet seductive exterior treatments are exactly what Infiniti used when they first launched the Q50. Infiniti has stayed true to its style, allowing its signature double-arch front grille, glistening chrome, thin 'human-eye' LED headlights and exhilarating fog lamps do the talking. The Red Sport ups the ante with its unique Dynamic Sunstone red colour that pairs beautifully with its red brake calipers and unique 19-inch alloys, redesigned rear bumper and readyfor-action dual exhaust with black finish and rear lip spoiler.

INTERIOR

Genesis G70: This sedan resembles other Hyundai products with a modern dashboard and eightinch infotainment layout, albeit with a touch more sophistication.

Its pièce de résistance has to be its diamond-quilted Nappa leather seating that blows its competition out of the park despite it being so low to the ground. The only drawback can be found on long road trips where the seats get a tad uncomfortable in the posterior region around the threehour mark. Rear seating is neither one of these vehicles' strengths with only adequate head and legroom.

Infiniti Q50: The Japanese luxury brand has its refined touches: red stitching throughout, large paddle shifters, piano-black buttons and soft leather. As nice as its quilted seats are, they don't compare to the Genesis, but it all depends on what's more important, as they win out on comfort. For the front row, the Q50 has something similar to Nissan's NASA-inspired "zero gravity" seats, it's just called Infiniti's hallmark spinal support seats that minimize pressure on your lower and upper back muscles and provide a much better cushion. The back seats suffer from a lower roofline creating limited head space, so taller individuals beware!

PERFORMANCE

Genesis G70: The 2.0-litre fourbanger base engine is engaging with a rear-wheel drive option and at 252 horses, but its nothing like the premium turbocharged 3.3-litre V-6 with a whopping 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. The combination of all-wheel drive, a stiff chassis, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a low-tothe-ground seating position will appeal to many Canadian consumers, creating an atmosphere of balance, responsive shifts and plenty of thrill that can suit all types of drivers, especially during the winter. It has five drive modes, highlighted by Comfort where its suspension can soak up bumps and glide over them, while Sport mode tightens its bolstered seating and powers down with instant throttle and predictable handling. A shocking discovery was managing an 8.5 litres/100 km fuel economy rating on pure longterm highway driving.

Infiniti Q50: The Red Sport 400 is the only engine that trumps that of the G70 with - you guessed it - 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque through its 3.0-litre twin-turbo V-6. The Q50 is a blast to drive with instant jump, a nimble nature, direct adaptive steering and six drive modes to choose from.

Braking is spot on thanks to its four-piston calipers up front and dual-pistons in the back. There's no manual offering here (the G70 offers one in its base engine), but you won't even want it, as you'll be in pure bliss with a seamlessshifting seven-speed automatic transmission, a responsive steerby-wire system and torque vectoring to help you out. Just don't look at its only adequate fuel economy rating of 11.1 litres/100 km.

TECHNOLOGY

Genesis G70: When you get the top trim, you expect it all and that's exactly what the G70 provides. There are three standout features: wireless charging capabilities that works for both Android and iPhones, ventilated seats with three strength levels and a plethora of advanced safety features including lane keep assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, driver attention warning and blind-spot collision warning with rear cross traffic warning.

The one thing that baffled me was not having a hands-free closing trunk feature; that seems a little chintzy for a luxury car.

Infiniti Q50: The Q50 sets the bar high with highly advanced safety technologies, but it comes at a cost. Two highlighted technologies are predictive forward collision warning (included in Sensory package for $2,000) and distance control assist (found in ProActive Assist package at $3,800 that also forces you to get the $2000 Sensory package).

Both of them act similar to adaptive cruise control but go beyond.

The former tracks what's happening two cars ahead letting the driver know when to slow down, while the latter alerts the driver when they're too close, intervening when needed by engaging the brakes even when the throttle is being used. It also can stop the car on its own.

Drawbacks, however, can be found in a complicated eight-inch and seven-inch dual-screen infotainment unit with too many buttons and pages to slide through.

In addition, ventilated seats are not even an option throughout the trim line.

CARGO

Genesis G70: Much like its back row, cargo space is fine, but not spectacular. It actually has the lowest cargo space in the segment at 298 litres. The G70 managed to fit three carry-on suitcases and two other bags with room to spare, so family trips are still doable.

Infiniti Q50: It doesn't take much to do better, as the Q50 wins in the cargo department with 382 litres of trunk space. It also has a 60/40 split and access through the second row if needed.

VERDICT

If power and distinctness is what you're after, the Genesis G70 and Infiniti Q50 are both fine choices, offering up some of the fastest luxury compact sedans at competitive prices (G70 starts at $42,000 and $57,500 for the 3.3T Sport; Infiniti Q50 starts at $39,995 and $52,695 for the Red Sport 400).

The Q50 may be a bit long in the tooth, but seating comfort is the best in the business, and it stands out in additional advanced safety technologies at a cost. The G70 takes it in connectivity with an easier-to-use infotainment system and wireless charging capability. As stylish as the Q50 is, the Genesis's more modern fit and finish trumps it, and the gawkers alone make the purchase worthwhile. Is that worth the extra $5,000? That's up to you.

Associated Graphic

With 365-horsepower and all-wheel-drive options, a stiff chassis, eight-speed automatic transmission and low seating postion, the Genesis G70, top, will appeal to many Canadian consumers. Infiniti's Q50, above, is updated for 2019 with sharper curves, and has an option for the only engine in the segment that tops the G70, with an impressive 400 horsepower.

DAVID MILLER/ THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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