Hyundai is taking the Germans head-on with its premium brand Genesis, and nowhere is the South Korean conglomerate’s ambitions more apparent than in the new Genesis G70, which is set to do battle with the benchmark BMW 3 Series in the fiercely competitive compact executive segment.

Measuring 4,685 mm long, 1,850 mm wide and 1,400 mm tall, the G70 is 61 mm longer, 39 mm wider and 29 mm lower than the F30 3 Series sedan; its 2,835 mm wheelbase is also 25 mm longer than its Bavarian rival. As with most of its competitors, the Genesis is rear-wheel drive (with all-wheel drive available as an option), and its classic long bonnet, short tail proportions are typical of the segment’s players.

The brand’s design language, seen on the larger G90 and G80 (née Hyundai Genesis), has been shrink-wrapped to fit their more athletic sibling. The usual six-point grille sits front and centre, flanked by trapezoidal headlights with twin linear LED daytime running lights – the company says this previews its forthcoming signature quad lamps shown on the GV80 SUV concept.

Strong shoulder lines above the front and rear wheels emphasise the car’s stance, and there’s also a BMW-aping C-pillar kink. Other design cues reminiscent of Munich include fender vents aft of the front wheels and L-shaped tail lights that appear to have been taken off a 2 Series coupé.

If the outside smacks a little of BMW, the inside has hints of the Lexus RX, with a dashboard design that wraps around the centre console. Details include a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, a stubby T-shaped gearlever, quilted Nappa leather upholstery and aluminium door handles.

The G70 also features a smart posture control system from the G90, which automatically adjusts the seats, steering wheel, door mirrors and head-up display according to the driver’s body. The infotainment system has a eight-inch touchscreen with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, although the display is fairly tall and comes with a tiled interface not dissimilar to the one in lesser Hyundais.

At least it is available with a 15-speaker Lexicon sound system with premium-looking metal grilles, as well as a server-based voice recognition technology using the Kakao I artificial intelligence platform from Korean internet company Kakao, the first such car sold in the country to have it.

Safety-wise, the G70 is fitted with nine airbags and a pedestrian-protecting pop-up bonnet as standard. It is also available with the Genesis Active Safety Control suite of driver assists, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Blind spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Driver Awareness Warning (DAW).

Overall body stiffness and torsional rigidity has been increased through the use of hot-stamped materials and extensive use of structural adhesives. Meanwhile, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) has been reduced through enhancements to the body structure, exhaust, sound absorption and isolation, connections between the suspension and body frame, and the design of the side mirrors and door seals.

At launch, the G70 will be offered with a choice of three powertrains, with the volume seller likely being the 2.0 litre Theta II turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 252 PS (or 255 PS with the Sports package) and 353 Nm of torque. There’s also a 2.2 litre R VGT turbodiesel mill that produces 202 PS and an impressive 441 Nm.

Sitting at the top of the range is the G70 Sport’s 3.3 litre Lambda twin-turbo V6 lifted from the Kia Stinger, punching out 370 PS and 510 Nm. Zero to 100 km/h is dispatched in 4.7 seconds and it will go all the way to a top speed of 270 km/h. Genesis did not divulge the transmission options on offer, but the G70 is expected to be offered solely with an eight-speed automatic, following in the footsteps of the Stinger.

Chassis specifics should be mouthwatering for performance enthusiasts – there’s multi-link rear suspension, dynamic torque vectoring, a mechanical limited-slip differential and launch control, plus variable-ratio steering (electric power steering comes as standard) and adaptive suspension that come with every G70 Sport. There’s also Active Sound Design (ASD) to enhance the engine’s aural qualities.

The Genesis G70 will go on sale in Korea on September 20, and product specifications for overseas markets such as North America, Russia and the Middle East will be announced early next year.