I may get kicked out of the car enthusiast club for saying this but one of my absolute favorite BMWs is actually a crossover — the X3 M40i. As much as we’re supposed to hate crossovers, due to their fundamentally uncool nature, the BMW X3 M40i is one of the very best Bimmers in ages. Its blend of power, performance, ride comfort, handling, affordability and practicality is unmatched among BMW’s lineup. If I could afford one, I’d have one. I’ve also driven some of its other competitors and none have convinced me their better. Until this — the Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport, which makes a strong argument for itself as the best crossover on sale.
My specific test car was a GV70 3.5T Sport Prestige, which is the absolute tippy-top of the line. After my week with it, the new Genesis is the only crossover I’d consider buying over the X3 M40i.
What is the Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport?
The Genesis GV70 is the brand’s first attempt at taking on the BMW X3 and the 3.5T Sport version is the one that takes on the X3 M40i. As its name suggests, it packs a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6, which makes 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, making it more powerful than the Bimmer. It’s paired with an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive, just like the X3 M40i. It’s around the same size as the X3 M40i, has similar cargo space, and seats the same number of people.
Sensible and Stylish
However, what sets the Genesis GV70 3.5T apart from its Bavarian competitor is its style. Look at an X3 M40i and, as handsome as it is, it looks like every other lease-special X3 in suburban America. The GV70, however — especially in its Sport Prestige trim — looks like nothing else on the road. Its dripping with style; from its blingy grille, to its split headlights, to its stunning dimpled wheels; and will turn heads wherever it goes. The only other crossover that can do the same with its looks is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Good company for the Genesis.
The design isn’t perfect — I still don’t love the rear quarter glass — and it’s not for everyone. I’d also be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention the obnoxiously large grille. I criticize BMW for its 4 Series/M3/M4 grille on daily basis — and for good reason, they’re horrid — so I need to criticize Genesis as well. The massive grille is silly and childish. However, there is admittedly something about it that works with the rest of the car’s style. The same can’t be said for BMW’s worst grilles.
Funky grille and odd rear quarter glass aside, the Genesis GV70 is one of the best looking crossovers on sale and I’d reckon its looks alone start piling customers into Genesis dealerships. If it’s a fresh look you’re after in your family crossover, the GV70 is it.
Beauty is on the Inside
Genesis is crushing the interior design game, lately, and the the GV70 is no different. The GV70 Sport Prestige comes with a gorgeous cabin that features a modern, unique design that helps it stand out from its staid German competitors. Rich leather covers most surfaces, a massive touchscreen features crisp graphics and a rapid response, sport seats both hug and coddle their passengers, and the gauges are spectacular.
My test car had a gorgeous, charming Ultramarine Blue interior with contrasting red stitching that wowed me every time I sunk into one of its fabulous leather thrones. There’s a lot to love about the GV70 but its interior, especially in the very fun Ultramarine spec, is among its best qualities. I love the X3 M40i’s cabin but there’s no denying the Genesis blows its Bavarian doors off, in terms of interior style.
Quality is good, too. Though, I’d be lying if I said it was up to par with BMW’s cabin quality. It’s mostly really nice in the GV70, with soft leather, high-quality plastics, solid feeling build quality, and sharp tech. However, some fit and finish issues do set it apart from modern BMWs. For instance, the center console compartment lid was a touch wobbly on my test car, some of the switchgear plastic isn’t the absolute best, and you can find some scratchy plastics if you search down low on the door panels. That said, none of it is concerning and I loved spending every minute in the GV70’s interior.
A special note needs to be made for its gauges, though. They change wildly based on drive settings and even have a killer 3D effect that is odd at first but so flipping cool. My only beef with the gauges is that you can’t choose the sport gauge for your custom drive profile. So if you want to use your personalized drive settings for your engine, steering, and suspension, you’re stuck with the standard gauge screen. Still, it looks awesome.
Can’t Beat a B58
The Genesis GV70 can’t match its Bavarian rival is with its engine, though. While a fine motor, the 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 can’t keep up with BMW’s brilliant B58. In fairness to Genesis, neither can any other competitors on the market, but it must be said.
It’s a fine engine, though, with 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque on tap. All that power runs through an eight-speed auto to a rear-biased all-wheel drive system, helping it to reach 60 mph in about 4.9 seconds. It feels plenty punchy and can be fun to use but it’s a bit too elastic in its response and, while incredibly smooth, feels completely isolated from the driver. It’s better than the engines in most premium crossovers but it falls short of the B58’s brilliance.
The same can be said about gearbox calibration, too. Sure, the GV70’s eight-speed works well, shifts quickly, and seamlessly blends gears in automatic mode. However, it never feels quite as responsive as the ZF unit in the X3 M40i. Overall, the powertrain is good but not great and while that’s fine in most circumstances, just being good isn’t good enough when you’re taking on one of the all time greats, in BMW’s B58.
It’s Got the Moves
The Genesis GV70 might not accelerate as well as the BMW X3 M40i but it sure dances like one. Genesis has been putting out some great driving cars over the past few years, cars with steering and handling that can rival the best from Bavaria and actually win in some instances. The GV70 will run an X3 M40i very close on a twisty road, with sharp steering, tons of grip, and a balanced chassis.
I do think an X3 M40i would just take it down, as the Genesis has a tendency to roll a bit, its suspension is a touch too soft even in its sportiest setting, and its steering isn’t quite as sharp as the Bimmer’s. But for the most part, the Genesis is a hoot to drive.
With BMW’s, I always have to set up my Sport Individual drive settings to be happy with how the car handles. I never fully like how Comfort, Sport, or Sport Plus feel, so I make a combination of them that I like and just use that all the time. With the Genesis GV70, it was full-on Sport for the Goldilocks setup, which made life easy.
Should You Buy One?
The Genesis GV70 is going to find a lot of homes in America, due to its combination of style, fabulous interior, slick technology, and sharp driving dynamics. It’s not quite as sharp as the best offering from BMW but it’s better looking (granted the X3 is a bit older), has a more interesting cabin, and is still great to hustle through some tight bends. The GV70 3.5T is the best offering from Genesis yet and is a car you should absolutely consider. The GV70 is the real deal and one of the best crossovers I’ve ever driven.