The Genesis’s 2.2-litre diesel makes 207bhp while the Q5, facelifted late last year, is a 40 TDI, a £45,235 S line with options taking it to £54,465. Its 2.0-litre makes 201bhp, but its response is augmented slightly at low revs with a 12V mild-hybrid starter-generator that chips in while the turbo is spooling. Both cars are four-wheel drive and have longitudinally mounted engines, but the Genesis is predominantly rear-wheel drive, via an eight-speed torque-converter automatic, with the front axle occasionally receiving torque when needed. The Audi’s lengthways engine orientation, meanwhile, is a red herring – plenty of cars on this platform are front-driven only. Via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, this is a ‘mostly front-drive but sometimes thinking about the rear’ kind of car.
If you want to get a feel for how important – or otherwise – Europe is in Genesis terms, take a look at the design. That big, chrome-laden smiling grille, the up-and-over chrome stripes and a waistband falling towards what one colleague unkindly compared to a Ssangyong Rodius rear. I don’t mind it, but subtle Euro-chic it isn’t.
Open the door and it’s the same. Genesis has gone to a great effort to make the GV70 feel plush: there are only tiny areas of black plastic, a dearth of brittle plastics and instead an array of plum and grey leather and satin metallics. In places – the steering wheel, for one – it’s weird, but it’s very clean, and I mean it as a compliment when I say there’s a touch of concept car about it.
Besides, maybe the fact that it feels less ‘Euro’ matters less than it once would have. But Mercedes is swaying away from trad materials and today’s proliferation of electronics and user interfaces are generally world-friendly: you’ll look at the same screen wherever on the planet you buy your gadgets. With the leather and a big soft-tone screen, this is more American golf club luxe; it doesn’t have the ambience of an appliance.
The Audi is more conservative, more conventionally European in feel. More black. More austere. More precise. Most customers won’t be accustomed to lots of other Volkswagen Group products, but if you are, this is yet another one out of the big VW playbook. There are soft-feel plastics on the door tops and dash, and tight and consistent finishes. But there’s a point in the cabin – generally where that big metallic strip lies – below which the plastics turn harder and more scratchy.