We love the Genesis G70. The entry-luxury sport sedan was our 2019 Car of the Year, a perfect manifestation of our challenge to all comers: Build us a legitimate BMW 3 Series competitor, and accolades will follow. Genesis, to its undying credit, did just that. The G70 is a real compact sport sedan, genuinely entertaining if not perfect (but what car is?) and loaded with value and—at launch—an increasingly rare manual transmission option.
There’s a lot to love about the Genesis: The available twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 is a beast, providing ferocious thrust and excitement, blasting the rear-drive G70 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. The entry-level turbo four isn’t as quick, but it’s reasonably fun and remarkably affordable. The looks thrill as well, thanks to serious input from execs poached from Europe on the top of their game. But, more than anything, the fact that Genesis was able to justify a manual transmission in the G70 for the most hardcore enthusiasts lent the whole shebang even more credibility. Sure, the stick was only offered with the four-cylinder engine, but it came with all of the G70’s available performance-enhancing features, such as Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, and summer tires.
We can’t imagine the sales targets for the manual G70 were ever that ambitious. But, whatever that target was, the car didn’t meet it. Reports we’re hearing from other outlets, including our friends at Road & Track, indicate that the manual transmission will flee the G70’s option sheet for 2022—and that while the manual is technically available for 2021 models, it’s not clear whether any were actually produced. Remember, we just reported that, according to EPA data, there would be a 2021 manual. It’s possible it was certified but won’t be built in any significant numbers.
R&T claims the manual only accounted for 0.8 percent of G70 sales overall, a number that we can’t immediately verify but seems realistic, if eyebrow-raising. This is the second excellent sedan this week to lose its manual transmission. The ever-competent Honda Accord, it was announced, would cease offering a stick shift after the 2020 model year. In fact, Honda had stopped building 2020 Accords so equipped way back in December 2019.
Does the manual loss diminish the appeal of the G70? Perhaps, but you can’t argue with the numbers. The V-6 models are the ones that get our blood pumping, anyways, and those have never offered a manual. And all G70s offer the intangibles—the “secret sauce”—that puts them on top of the competition. Maybe the lack of a manual will diminish its theoretical credibility a bit, but it was never the factor that made or broke the G70.
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