A few years ago the electric premium car segment was pretty sparsely populated. Only Tesla claimed to offer a high-end EV experience.
Fast forward to early 2022 and every prestige player is flinging out EVs with wild abandon, with everything from sensible electric saloons and SUVs to futuristic grand tourers hitting the market in quick succession.
Genesis only arrived in the UK last year but already it is following suit, with three EVs planned for this year alone. Two are fully electrified versions of existing cars - the G80 and GV70 - while the third is this brand new GV60.
The GV60 is built on a dedicated EV platform that also underpins the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 but thanks to Genesis’s premium positioning and a wider choice of motors and prices, it is competing with everything from the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQA and Tesla Model Y to the Ford Mustang Mach-e GT and Jaguar I-Pace.
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Such a wide spectrum or rivals could be an advantage or disadvantage as it jostles for recognition but there’s no question Genesis has its work cut out to make an impact among some high-quality rivals.
One thing is for certain, the GV60 certainly stands out visually, especially in the eye-searing Sao Paolo Lime of the launch cars. Even in subtle hues the car’s looks are a little challenging but it does look a lot better in the metal than in photos.
It has the now familiar Genesis face, with the split quad headlights - LED as standard, adaptive matrix as an option - and the crest grille, this time set low in the front to aid battery cooling. Behind that “face” and the clamshell bonnet, the rest of the car rises up a lot and looks chunkier, a feeling enhanced by the pinched window line at the rear. The bulk of the back end is broken up slightly by the neat V-shaped slash in the metallic trim on the C-pillar and the tailgate-mounted spoiler.
Despite its chunky styling, the GV60 disguises its size pretty well. It looks fairly compact yet there’s plenty of space for four six-foot adults inside.
It’s a fantastically comfortable and spacious place to while away the miles and brings the high-quality materials and construction that’s already a hallmark of the brand. Despite a huge centre console that houses infotainment controls, drive selector, phone charger and storage spaces, it still feels open and roomy thanks to the flat floor and sculpted shape of that console. The panoramic roof - a £1,120 option - enhances that feeling further.
Emphasising the GV60’s forward-looking philosophy there are high-tech touches like the twin 12.3-inch screens for instruments and infotainment, a head-up display, fingerprint recognition for driver profiles and the delightfully tactile Crystal Sphere, which rotates to expose the drive selector when the motor is started.
As you’d expect from a premium EV, refinement is excellent, thanks in some part to active noise cancelling technology. It’s not until you’re heading into triple figures on the autobahn that wind noise begins to become apparent. On UK roads it will sail along in near silence, with virtually no tyre or wind noise intruding.
The ride is similarly impressive. Top-of-the-range GV60s are fitted with adaptive suspension that uses a forward facing camera to track the surface and prime the system to deal with upcoming changes. It works brilliantly and equipped like this the GV60 is one of the best-damped and most comfortable vehicles in its class. However, even the passive damping of lesser models ensures a smooth, comfortable ride.
Handling is sharp and responsive although like so many electronically assisted systems there’s a dearth of feedback. It’ll grip and steer well even at high speeds but it won’t tell you a lot about what’s going on underneath. It also still suffers from a bit of body roll, even with the suspension in its firmer sports setting.
As usual, Genesis is keeping specifications of the GV60 simple. There are three trim lines which each reflect a different drivetrain configuration. Premium is more comfort and range-focused, with a single motor on the rear and sensible but not sparkling performance. Sport adds a motor to the front for improved performance but a drop in range, while Sport Plus turns up the motor power further and adds some silly features such as boost and drift modes.
The performance of the Sport Plus is, honestly, unnecessary but it is fun. In normal usage the two motors put out 429bhp but tap the bright green boost button on the steering wheel and you’ll get 10 seconds of the full 483bhp. It’s a novelty to have a special button to unlock “more” performance but it would make more sense to make that full-power mode the default setting in sport mode.
Even in boost mode, the GV60 isn’t as quick as a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E GT but a 0-62mph time of four seconds really is plenty for real-world use.
The lesser powered Premium model is quite a step down in performance, with 226bhp and a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds. Its performance feels far more mainstream, but it is priced far closer to mainstream models while maintaining the quality and comfort that’s common across all models.
If you want comfort, refinement and range at a good price, it makes a lot of sense. I suspect the Sport might be the sweet spot of the range, however. At £53,605 it’s not much more than the Premium but brings all-wheel-drive, 314bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds while maintaining a range of 292 miles, compared to the Premium’s 321 miles and the 289 of the Sport Plus.
All version of the GV60 use the same 77.4kWh battery which, thanks to dedicated E-GMP platform, can be charged at up to 350kW, allowing drivers to add 70% of charge in just 18 minutes.
That clever platform also means the GV60 offers vehicle-to-load capability so you can power external devices - from laptops to lighting - from the battery via the internal three-pin socket or an optional charge port adaptor.
The drivetrain aside, basic specifications for the different GV60 models doesn’t vary hugely.
The range starts at £47,005 for the Premium, which brings 19-inch alloys, auto-dipping LED headlights, twin 12.3-inch displays, parking camera, acoustic glass, dual-zone climate control, eco-friendly faux leather upholstery and keyless entry and start. It also packs in driver aids including adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind spot collision avoidance and lane following assist.
Sport’s only addition, besides the extra motor, is 20-inch alloys, while Sport Plus ups those to 21 inches and adds the electronically controlled suspension, an electronic LSD plus aluminium and suede interior trim and Nappa leather upholstery.
On top of that, buyers can specify a selection of option packages that range from the tech-heavy innovation pack with its head-up display, matrix headlights and remote parking, to the comfort seat packs that add more seat adjustment, heating and ventilation and ambient lighting.
Individual options also include a Bang & Olufson sound system, the panoramic sunroof and digital wing mirrors which use slimline cameras on the car’s exterior and screens mounted in the door tops to replace traditional glass mirrors. Like every other version of this technology, it’s £1,200 that can be better spent elsewhere.
Genesis has already proved that it can do the premium car thing as well as any of the more established brands. With the GV60 it’s proved that it can do the EV thing as well. There’s a range of strong drivetrain and specification options to suit multiple needs and budgets, all wrapped up in an interesting, comfortable and refined package.
Genesis GV60 Sport Plus
Price: £66,405 (£77,195 as tested) Motor: Twin 180kW synchronous motors; Battery: 77.2kWh; Power: 483bhp; Torque: 516lb ft; Transmission: Single-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive; Top speed: 146mph; 0-62mph: 4 seconds; WLTP range: 289 miles; Consumption: 3.25miles/kWh; Charging: Up to 350kW