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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

With its slightly higher power output but more weight to lug around, the G70 diesel gets very close to the 320d’s performance figures under similar dry conditions. Torquing the engine on the brakes in Sport+ mode activates a launch control function, which gets the car off the line very effectively and on to 60mph in 7.2sec. It also falls just 0.2sec short of its quoted 0-62 time of 7.4sec.

Those are respectable if unspectacular numbers, and that bears out subjectively, with the engine feeling willing and not sounding strained throughout most of the rev range but running out of puff a little at the top end. It’s not the quietest diesel around, sounding quite clattery on a chilly morning, but once warmed up, it didn’t bother our testers.

Genesis no doubt hopes the 3 Series rival will appeal to those seeking something different, but its brand of ‘refined performance’ offers little that’s not been seen before

However, where BMW has the calibration of its eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearboxes down to a fine art, the transmission in the Genesis is a less willing accomplice to the engine. It shouldn’t have to be that way; the company develops its own gearboxes and the unit in the GV80 was near faultless.

In general, it’s perfectly smooth and responsive, but when you gradually ask for full power rather than matting the pedal in one go, the software can be reluctant to take the low gear that it should. Selecting the Sport driving mode doesn’t make much of a difference, while Sport+ will just keep the engine spinning 1000rpm too high in normal cruising.

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Using the paddles isn’t the most dynamic experience, either: they feel nice and hefty, but there’s no dedicated manual mode and the software will eventually take back control. Using the paddles in Sport+ also introduces a weird lurch to upshifts, presumably to simulate the excitement of fast shifts, but the best automated gearboxes don’t need to resort to such overcompensation and just get on with it.

Judging by our numbers, the standard braking set-up with single-piston calipers will be enough for most people. Its performance is very close to the 320d’s and the pedal felt responsive and reassuring at all times without being too soft or grabby.