Rumors are building that Hyundai’s cooking up quite a surprise for its new premium brand

The Genesis G70 is arguably the best compact luxury sedan on the market today, and if new rumors have any weight to them, the G70 could give birth to a hotter offspring in the near future. Neither Hyundai nor Genesis have confirmed plans to build a performance-spec G70, but Hyundai’s head product planner, Mike O’Brien, dropped an interesting hint at the 2019 North American International Auto Show that suggests that a high-performance version of the G70 could be in the works. If that happens, the BMW M3s and Mercedes-AMG C63s of the world could have a new challenger to worry about sooner than later.

A Hotter Version of The Genesis G70 Sounds Spicy, Doesn't It? Exterior
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This is very interesting, indeed.

Is it possible that after all the denials made by both Hyundai and Genesis — Genesis chief Mandred Fitzgerald flat-out said it isn’t in the cards — a hotter G70 could still happen?

I’m not going to jump to any conclusions because that’s usually where disappointment leads to, but the comments made by Hyundai’s head product planner, Mike O’Brien, is filled with strong hints that a performance-oriented version of the G70 is happening. O’Brien made the comments to Road & Track at the 2019 North American International Auto Show when asked about Genesis’ plans for the future.

"A big effort with the G70 was thermal management, to make sure that this car will hold up," O’Brien said. "We’re building for the future. I’ll just say that."

A Hotter Version of The Genesis G70 Sounds Spicy, Doesn't It? Exterior
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Ok, so he didn’t explicitly confirm anything, but him mentioning “thermal management” and how it specifically relates to the G70 sounded a lot of alarm bells. According to O’Brien, thermal management has become an important focus at Hyundai and Genesis.

Without saying why, O’Brien opened the doors to a lot of speculation because thermal management refers to the management of heat inside an engine, which we know is something that undercuts a car’s horsepower, hence the presence of grilles and intakes to bring cold air into the engine.

So if O’Brien says that both Hyundai and Genesis are putting an emphasis on managing the amount of heat that goes into its engines, it begs the question on whether both automakers or at least one of them, are planning to develop a performance car in the future.

O’Brien specifically mentioned the G70 with regards to the focus on thermal management. Sure, he qualified his comments by saying that Genesis is doing its research in the area “to make sure that this car will hold up,” but is he really referring to the G70, or is he talking about a different model that’s related to the G70? If it’s the latter, then there are no roads and avenues that lead to this model not being a performance-spec G70.

A Hotter Version of The Genesis G70 Sounds Spicy, Doesn't It?
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Let’s be clear about this: we think that Genesis should build a hotter G70. It’s not a secret that the sports sedan has impressed in ways that few people expected. It looks like a premium sedan, and it certainly is appointed like one. It also drives like a charm. Combine all these elements together, and it’s no surprise that the G70 was named the 2019 North American Car of the Year last week, edging out the Honda Insight, Volvo V60, and Volvo S60.

Genesis is playing with house money in regards to the G70.

A lot of people said that it couldn’t compete against some of the segment’s most decorated models.

That’s a list that includes the 3 Series, C-Class, Audi A4, and the aforementioned Volvo S60. But it’s more than held its own despite being a relatively unknown model. It wouldn’t come as a shock to anyone if Genesis parlayed the G70’s success into a performance-spec model that can compete against the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C 63, and Audi RS4.

A Hotter Version of The Genesis G70 Sounds Spicy, Doesn't It?
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I don’t know if Genesis can pull it off, but the G70 already proved me wrong about what Hyundai’s new premium brand is capable of. Maybe O’Brien’s comments lead to a performance-spec G70. Maybe it doesn’t. But the days of underestimating Genesis are over. It’s clear that this brand wants to establish itself in arguably one of the most competitive segments in the auto industry, and since entering the scene as a Hyundai offshoot, that’s exactly what the automaker has done.

Hopefully, the company capitalizes on the awareness and excitement it has generated. Off the top my head, I can’t think of a better way to leverage that excitement than by rolling out a more “exciting” version of the G70.

Further reading

2018 Genesis G70 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Genesis G70.

Source: Road & Track

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