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Genesis GV60 EV first drive: 'astonishing' boost button makes for a thrilling ride

Angled side view of green GV60 parked at side of road
(Image credit: TechRadar / Rob Clymo)

A few months ago TechRadar got a chance to get up close to the Genesis GV60, albeit in a photographic studio environment. The premium EV looked great, but we didn't get to drive it. 

However, we've now rectified that with a first spin in the premium model from the luxury division of Hyundai. So, how was it? Read on and find out…

Off to a fine start

This is the first dedicated electric model from Genesis and it's up against stiff competition, from the likes of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Jaguar I-Pace and Volkswagen ID4. 

Thanks to being based on E-GMP, the same dedicated electric platform as the rather good Kia EV6 and the excellent Hyundai Ioniq 5, it's certainly off to a fine start.

There's a 77.4kWh battery and you can enjoy super fast charging (10-80 percent in less than 20 minutes via an admittedly rare 350kW charger). Best of all though, you can indulge in all of the luxury fixtures and fittings that come with a premium brand like Genesis. 

Having been impressed by the quality fit and finish of the GV60 in that studio, we were keen to get the EV out on the open road.

The Genesis GV60 might look like more of a refined ride, but in reality it's actually been designed to offer great performance. In fact, there's a Sport Plus edition, which comes with a veritable feast of potent performance possibilities. 

Just below the steering wheel lurks a tempting 'Boost' button

This is because you get a twin motor, four-wheel drive setup and during regular use that delivers 160kW to each axle.

However, just below the steering wheel lurks a tempting 'Boost' button, which allows you to increase the figure to 180kW. This means you have a combined 483bhp on tap, which turns the Genesis GV60 into something of an EV hooligan that boasts a 0-62 mph time of just 4 seconds. 

There's even the capacity for drifting it, though Genesis executives suggested we didn't try this on public roads for obvious reasons.

Close-up of green boost button on steering wheel

(Image credit: TechRadar / Rob Clymo)

Nothing short of astonishing

We drove the Sport Plus first and, we're happy to report, the boost is nothing short of astonishing. Press the button and you get a 10-seconds of white-knuckle power delivery that takes the GV60 into it the serious thrills zone. 

You feel the extra power engage as you press the button, but depress the accelerator and the car takes off like a stabbed rat. Dials turn red and the boost countdown begins until it gets to zero and returns the performance to normal. It is quite something.

There's a rather more sedate GV60 Sport if lightning fast performance isn't going to be your primary reason for buying the car. Meanwhile, the entry-level Premium edition is just rear-wheel drive and offers a much milder by comparison 226bhp. Perfect for most needs we think. 

In fact, the least thuggish of the three model variants is also more practical with a 321 mile range, compared to the Sport's 292 miles or the 289 miles of the Sport Plus.

To be honest, we had more fun cruising around in the Genesis GV60 than thrashing it, trying out all three Eco, Comfort and Sport drive modes. Although it's a bit of a Hyundai Ioniq 5 in the fact that this doesn't appear to be a big car, the GV60 feels quite chunky when you're edging it around city streets for the first time. 

The view through the windows is decent enough, though less so through the rear view mirror due to the tapered roofline.

Full-width dash view from the rear seats of the GV60

(Image credit: TechRadar / Rob Clymo)

Coming into its own

Hit the highway though and the Genesis GV60 comes into its own. The comfort levels are excellent, as you'd expect from a premium brand. The seats in particular are great with a healthy array of electronic adjustment plus bum and back massage options on tap, as is the dashboard layout with its 12-3-inch infotainment touchscreen. 

There's the crystal ball gizmo in the center console too, which rotates in order to let you select the drive mode after you've pressed the start button.

We also love the way Genesis has managed to strike a sensible balance between touchscreen and physical controls. This allows quick and easy adjustment of things like climate settings, without the faff provided by some rival systems. 

Again, this is a sensible move, which could make the GV60 a good choice for equally sensible people. It's showy enough, but without being brash and packed with gimmicks, though that crystal ball is more than worthy of a giggle or two.

As for the rest of our first drive, things were generally impressive. Reversing is perhaps the only minor challenge you'll face with the Genesis GV60, though it does have reversing cameras to help out. 

In fact, there are digital door mirrors too, which work better than they do in, say, the Audi e-tron Sportback. The experience is similar to that delivered by the Honda e, which managed to get the format just right. You can also have old-school 'normal' mirrors if you prefer however.

While there is clearly plenty of power, and naturally more than enough torque because it's an EV, there is weight. Considering its size, we think the Genesis GV60 is pretty good around corners, all things considered. 

This doesn't seem to be to the detriment of the handling whatsoever, although the experience on countryside back roads is decent rather than mind-blowing, especially compared to using Boost mode. Granted, we were taking it easy on German roads we didn't know, but the overall impression proved to be undeniably positive.

It's that boost button that everyone will be talking about though, because it's the first thing anyone who's tried it starts going on about. Aside from the adrenaline-buzz you get from that, the Genesis GV60 is a super car. It's got great looks, drives like a dream and feels really well put together. 

Genesis has two other all-electric models coming this year and, if the GV60 is anything to go by, this is a premium brand that's going to go from strength to strength.

Rob Clymo
Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.