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New vs Used: Buy the new Genesis G70 or get a used Mercedes-AMG C43?

By Andy Enright, 25 Jun 2019 Advice

New vs Used: Buy the new Genesis G70 or get a used Mercedes-AMG C43?

A box-fresh upstart with virtually no brand equity goes up against Germany’s finest. This could get ugly

GENESIS G70 3.3T ULTIMATE SPORT

Mention Genesis to most people and they’ll either think of the most industrious part of the Bible or a tedious prog-rock outfit that we have to blame for kickstarting Phil Collins’ solo career. Only a few will make the association with the luxury arm of Hyundai, and if there’s one thing we know about  luxury arms like Lexus, Acura and Infiniti, it’s that they’re great at building quality vehicles, but not always so good at selling said vehicles.

Read next: Genesis G70 3.3T 2019 review

Genesis put a tentative toe into Australian waters back in 2014 with the flagship Hyundai Genesis model. Genesis the brand took quite a bit longer. That car returns in facelifted guise as the G80, but the G70 is the car that has us interested. Think of a slightly smaller, tauter and better finished Kia Stinger and you get the idea.

The entry-level G70s are powered by a 179kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot which is a wholly respectable powerplant, but its key problem is that Genesis also offers the 3.3-litre turbo V6 which makes 272kW and 510Nm. You know that phrase ‘less is more’? It’s fairly safe to assume that whoever came up with that crock never drove a Genesis G70 V6.

It’s riotously stuffed with grunt. The sprint to 100km/h comes and goes in just 4.7 seconds and, what’s more, it feels properly sorted in the corners. Whereas a Kia Stinger GT with the same engine gets a bit unruly and a little nautical when pushed hard, the Genesis feels pretty much what it is – a shortened Stinger chassis with the benefit of a couple more years of development.

The eight-speed transmission is a decent box although it does have a propensity to upshift too eagerly in Sport mode. Talking of driving modes, this G70 gets adaptive dampers, but the firmer setting doesn’t add too much, so most will probably leave them in Comfort and use the Custom drive mode to tauten up the throttle map and steering.

The interior is beautifully finished with real high quality touch points. No wonder Genesis aced this year’s JD Power survey. The infotainment screen graphics are a bit too gauche for an $80k sports sedan but that’s a small grumble. Of more substance is the contention that the 330-litre boot is just too meagre. Compare that to the 480-litre boot of class rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 and you can see that G70 drivers might have to pack a bit lighter.

Read: Made in Korea: The new world-class standard in luxury cars

Where the G70 really scores is in offering a hassle-free new car experience. Buyers get a five-year warranty, five-years of free servicing, no haggle pricing, a valet who arrives at your house with a courtesy car when your G70’s due for scheduled services and all the garnish like five year satnav map updates, five year roadside assist and a home delivery test drive service. If you’re looking for a half-decade of genuine fire-and-forget sports sedan ownership, absolutely nothing beats the Genesis G70.

 

MERCEDES-AMG C43

For around $80,000, you could net yourself a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 with around 20,000km on the clock and a year of warranty still remaining. Unlike its Korean counterpart, it’s unlikely that you would ever have to explain exactly what a ‘Mercedes’ was. You’d get a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 good for 270kW and 520Nm, and if those figures look practically lineball with the G70, it translates that way on the road too, the AMG going neck and neck with the Genesis on the strip, both recording a 4.7s 0-100km/h performance.

Read: 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe review

It’s not as if the Mercedes will feel dated either. Features like voice recognition, a hard disk media player, a fantastic surround-view camera, nine airbags, parking assist and an interior that majors on the sort of sense of occasion that the Genesis singularly lacks. Of course, we could go back and forth all day about perceived quality versus actual quality but there’s little doubt that the three-pointed star carries the sort of badge equity that’s but a minuscule speck on Genesis’ forward-planning horizon.

Merc’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system underpins the C43 with a rear-biased torque distribution (31 percent front, 69 percent rear) for a predominantly rear-driven feel that delivers on AMG’s brand promise of ‘Driving Performance’ in every respect. Sports suspension with adjustable dampening lifted from the Mercedes-AMG C63 also features along with AMG’s ‘Dynamic Select’ drive modes and a three-stage ESP.

The C43 also features AMG’s typical pops and crackles when you switch it into its sportier settings and the 3.0-litre six has a musicality that the 3.3-litre Kappa unit in the Genesis lacks. The flashy badge and the streetside aural theatrics may well be enough to swing the balance for some. There’s no doubt that the AMG is the more overt offering but could the cerebral Genesis be the better car? On a twisty road, we reckon the all-wheel drive AMG would have a tough time keeping up with a G70. Of course, if it was wet, the tables might be turned thanks to the Merc’s all-wheel drive advantage but the G70 just feels as if it has a better-judged ride and handling package. Couple that with virtually unparalleled after sales care and we’re going for the classy Korean. There’s a turn up for the books.

Read: Who is Hyundai kidding by calling its 2019 Genesis G80 ‘new’?

Specs comparison

 2019 Genesis G70     2017 Mercedes-AMG C43
Price (new) $79,950 $101,900
Engine 3.3L V6cyl twin-turbo 3.0L V6cyl twin-turbo
Output 272kW/510Nm 270kW/520Nm
Transmission 8spd auto 9spd auto
0-100km/h 4.7sec 4.7sec
Efficiency (combined)    10.2L/100km 8.2L/100km
Drivetrain RWD AWD
Doors 4 4
Seats 5 5
Wheel size 225/40 R19

225/40 ZR19 (f)

255/35 ZR19 (r)

Weight 1762kg 1735kg
Country of origin South Korea Germany

Wheels staff picks


Alex Rae
Online Editor

Genesis’ first foray into Australia was bolstered by being hugely popular with chauffeurs, which is a testament to the reliability and the perceived ‘premiumness’ it has - word gets around fast between the guys that live in these things for a living. But that’s also inculcated me with the image that it’s still a bit fuddy compared to the lively C43, which undoubtedly has a more raucous character. But Genesis is now much more than a VHA special. The G70 is fun, lively and has an authentic character all of its own. It mightn’t bark like a mongrel but it’s a nimble as a grey hound which is ultimately more fun. All of the ownership bliss is brings to the luxury market is just icing on the cake.


Andy Enright
Deputy Editor

This wasn’t actually that easy a decision, largely because of the pull of the AMG’s intangibles. Your head says Genesis, but then you picture a snarly twin-turbo Merc in your garage and the feel-good you’d get every morning dropping into that cabin and you start to be drawn to the German car. But there’s one inescapable fact. The G70 is a more involving car to drive. It has a rear limited-slip differential – unlike the AMG – and has better steering and far superior ride quality. Factor in bulletproof build quality, full smartphone mirroring, beautiful quilted leather seats, wireless phone charging and you have a stylish sports sedan that is incredibly easy to live with. As much as I’d still feel a pang of angst whenever I saw a C43 AMG alongside, it wouldn’t last too long.


Cameron Kirby
Staff Journalist

I have no time for badge snobbery. A good or bad car isn’t made by the emblem on the back, so i’m personally drawn toward the Genesis out of this pair. While the C43 is a good thing - and certainly worthy of the AMG badge - it doesn’t match the comfort or luxury of the G70. Perhaps surprisingly, the G70 is the one that has more of a tendency to bite back, with an ESC system that will permit slides which require surprising amounts of opposite lock even in its tamest setting. While the sound is thoroughly disappointing and mute compared to the AMG’s pops and crackles, it’s the everyday liveability, comfort on long trips, rear-drive thrills, and punchy engine that have me swinging toward the Genesis.

 

Reckon we’ve got it right? Or are we way off the money (literally)? Find your best and let us know in the comments what you’d buy.