First Drive: Is the Genesis GV60 a compelling alternative to traditional premium cars?

What is it?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

If you’ve never heard of Genesis, don’t worry, you won’t be the only one. The South Korean brand has only been a standalone brand since 2015, and only made its way to Europe last year after finding decent success in America and its home country, South Korea.

After initially launching with a bunch of combustion-engined executive models as a brand-building exercise, the real genesis of… Genesis… has now arrived. With the car industry going electric, the GV60 represents the company’s first fully electric model, and the figurehead for its future plans.

What’s new?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

In some ways everything’s new, with this being a completely new model in the young firm’s line-up. However, Genesis is part of the same company that owns Hyundai and Kia, so this shares its underpinnings with the highly regarded Ioniq 5 and EV6.

Some noteworthy features include optional digital door mirrors, cabin materials made from organic and recycled sources, a choice of single- and dual-motor powertrains, twin 12.3-inch displays and active road noise cancellation.

It also gets some familiar design cues from other Genesis models, particularly up front, but manages to have a distinct appearance that’s also nothing like the aforementioned EVs with which it shares its base.

What’s under the bonnet?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

The entry-level ‘Premium’ powertrain utilises a single electric motor that powers the rear wheels with an output of 226bhp and 350Nm of torque, making it good for a spirited 7.6-second 0-60mph time.

The middle ‘Sport’ model uses two motors that make a combined 315bhp and 605Nm of torque, while the top-specification Sport Plus ups this dual motor power output to a mildly absurd 483bhp and 700Nm of torque. Both models have all-wheel-drive with 0-60mph times of 5.5 and 4.0 seconds respectively.
All get the same battery capacity of 77.4kWh, resulting in a range of 321, 292 and 289 miles respectively. This essentially gives the choice of going really fast or really far.

What’s it like to drive?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

The first thing you’ll notice is just how refined the GV60 is. Particularly at lower speeds, it’s incredibly comfortable, largely without the annoyingly stiff suspension you’ll often find in EVs. The powertrain is sharp in its response and ludicrously, unnecessarily fast in the full fat Sport Plus version.

In fact, unless you’re looking for acceleration so quick it will make you queasy, the entry model is the much better all-rounder. The Sport Plus’s ride becomes unsettled at higher speeds, while the Premium will be more than fast enough for 99 per cent of buyers.

So it’s more comfortable, goes further on a charge, and is still plenty quick, all while costing a good chunk less than the higher spec version.

How does it look?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

At first glance there are some awkward angles to the GV60, but overall it’s a cool and characterful thing. There’s a fun face up front, with the brand-wide quad headlight design and low front grille, while there’s quite a lot of unbroken bodywork in the upper section of the bumper. Coupled with the clamshell bonnet, it defies many conventions of mainstream car design and is all the more interesting for it.

The colour palette is fantastic too. The signature highlighter yellow paint job is an acquired taste but works surprisingly well for the extroverted driver, but even the usual mix of plainer shades have an interesting edge. For example, the white has a lovely satin/matte finish that exudes a real premium appearance.

What’s it like inside?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

The cabin is a real mixed bag, but despite a few complaints it’s largely a lovely place to be. The seating position is quite high even in its lowest setting, but it’s very comfortable and would prove a relaxing place to eat up the miles. There are some fantastic materials throughout, too, though occasionally in odd places such as the door cards, whereas the steering wheel perhaps feels a bit cheap and shiny.

There’s an ambience of calm luxury, but some of the finer details don’t stand up to so much scrutiny. For example, the screens are large, clear and responsive, but look like something of an afterthought plonked on the dashboard. The plastics surrounding the centre console have a decidedly 90s vibe, while the gear selector feels a bit cheap and the dash buttons look like they’re borrowed from an old tape recorder.

The passenger seat is oddly positioned, too, with the low dashboard and high position making you feel like you’re perched above the car rather than within it. On a winding road it can feel a bit like a rollercoaster.

What’s the spec like?

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

There are three versions to choose from, kicking off with Premium from £47,005. Equipment includes dual front LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, smart cruise control, air conditioning and a head-up display.

Step up to Sport, from £53,605, and you get 20-inch alloy wheels, a few styling tweaks and the twin-motor set-up. The top-spec Sport Plus model starts at £65,405 and brings even more performance along with 21-inch alloy wheels.

Personalisation includes a decent selection of paint jobs, new colours for the brake callipers, and various shades for the upholstery. Equipment upgrades include a Bang & Olufsen stereo (£990), sunroof (£1,120) and extensive driver assistance technology.

Verdict

Genesis GV60
(Genesis)

The Genesis GV60 is an excellent electric vehicle. If you’re worried that EVs will be the death of cars with character, the Kia EV6/Hyundai Ioniq 5/Genesis GV60 triplets are a wonderful reassurance that this is not the case.

Despite a few gripes with the cabin it still feels like it could hold its own in the premium market, even if a few retro aspects hold it back from full marks. But its overall ambience of calm and quality shines through, and with the comfortable driving experience and long range it makes a compelling case for itself.

  • Model: Genesis GV60

  • Starting price: £47,005

  • Model as tested: Genesis GV60 Premium

  • Price as tested: £56,865

  • Engine: Twin electric motors, 77.4kWh battery

  • Power: 226bhp

  • Torque: 350Nm

  • Max speed: 115mph

  • 0-60mph: 7.6 seconds

  • MPG: N/A

  • Emissions: 0g/km CO2

  • Range: 289 miles