During my middle school years, there was a trend among some of my classmates to leave the price tag on expensive articles of clothes. Maybe it was spurred by one of my favorite songs of the time, “Get Your Roll On” by Big Tymers, which contained the lyrics, “Leave the sticker on the Bentley just to show the price.”

No matter the trend’s founding, it was all ridiculous, with 12- and 13-year old kids flaunting these expensive clothes like they actually had money. But some of that sentiment, wanting to “flex” your wallet, continues to some well into adulthood.

Many still like having a status symbol of success, real or imagined, and what better way to show off the fact you’ve financially made it than a car? Especially a German one sporting either three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz, the blue and white propeller emblem of BMW or the four rings of Audi. 

Some buyers of the 3-Series, C-Class or A5 will brandish their rides with the thought of, “Look at how much I can afford.”

Genesis G70 purchases can say, “Look at how much I got for less money.”

The 3-Series, C-Class, A5 and G70 are about the same size. They all have a 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder as standard offering around 250 horsepower with the option for a more powerful, six-cylinder engine.  They are all attractively styled. Though they are equipped differently as standard, they all come with a healthy dose of features and creature comforts.

And they all cost around $42,000 as standard. Well, the Germans do anyway. The Genesis is about $7,000 less. The savings is even more when the four sedans are equipped with six-cylinder powerplants.

It is not like you are getting less for your dollar, either. The G70 may not have the driveway showmanship of a Benz, Beamer or Audi, but it excels in just about every area that, at the end of day, really counts. The Genesis is a hoot to drive, rich with features and is among the most affordable compact luxury sedans.

The G70 offers two engines — either the turbo four offering 252 horsepower or a 3.3-liter twin turbocharged V6 that delivers 365 hp and 376 ft.-lb. of torque.

There is a hint of turbo lag from the four-cylinder, but once spooled it pulls through the rev range and is smooth in its power delivery. It has respectable performance, but for the aficionado, the six-cylinder turbo is the obvious choice.

The V6 and its bulk of ponies provides gobs of power through each shift of the 8-speed automatic transmission (a manual is also available). The V6 is a gem with quick responses and slick delivery of its ample power, rushing from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds with launch control. While it provides impressive performance, the turbo six is also supremely smooth and sedated around town.

With either engine, the G70’s steering is precise, nicely weighted in all driving modes and provides exceptionally communicative feedback.

Models with the V6 can also add the optional electronically controlled suspension. I’ve driven a G70 with and without the active suspension and the Genesis provides a comfy ride quality around town. The upgraded system was noticeable in keeping the G70 taught while cornering, and optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires kept the Genesis firmly planted to the road.

Rear-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive available on all models.

Either in spirited jaunts or the daily trek, the G70 delivers a balance of sportiness with a sophisticated ride that seamlessly blends comfort and agility.

The cabin is legit luxury with high-quality materials and an upscale appearance, especially with the fabulous optional quilted seats and trim with contrast stitching. All materials are pleasant to the touch and feel sturdy and well-built.

The infotainment screen has obviously been plucked straight from Hyundai and it sticks out like a slightly sore thumb, but that’s my only real complaint about the otherwise exceptional cabin quality.

And until my experience with the Genesis I never realized how much I can appreciate a gear lever. The G70’s is attractive, has a fantastic feel in the hand and gives a wonderfully satisfying click when engaging drive or reverse. It is fantastic. Best gear lever I’ve ever used. 10 out 10 stars.

Okay, for those who don’t fall madly in love with the Genesis’ gear lever, there are plenty of other niceties.

Leatherette seating, 12-way adjustable driver’s seat, Apple and Android connectivity, dual-zone climate control and an 8-inch touchscreen are standard.  Options packages differ depending on what engine is under the hood. In 2-liter powered models, the Elite Package ($4,600) adds navigation, and other features while the Prestige ($8,450) includes those add-ons plus a head up display, wireless charging pad, surround view monitor and upgraded wheels and tires. The 10-grand Sport group adds plus a limited slip diff and 19-inch alloy wheels.  

For about the same price as a 2-liter with the Sport package, buyers can get the V6 turbo and its added standard amenities that include Brembo brakes, dual exhaust and limited slip differential.

In V6-powered models, the Elite Package ($1,450) includes extra safety features and heated/ventilated front seats. Prestige ($4,300) adds on to that with a head-up display, Nappa genuine leather seats with quilting, and fully equipped Sport ($5,600) garnishes it all with sticky Michelin summer tires and electronically controlled suspension.

The G70’s seats are particularly comfortable, and higher trims get side and front bolstering. The seats are also plush in the rear, but legroom and headroom is tight for those who weren’t the first to yell “shotgun.”

Overall trunk space is sufficient but there is a narrow opening, think letterbox instead of clamshell, so getting taller items in the trunk could present issues.

Another shortfall to the G70 is subpar fuel economy from both engines. Four-cylinder models with rear-wheel drive get 26 combined mpg, two more miles than can be had with the power sent to all four wheels. With the V6, those figures go down to 22 and 21 combined mpg.

Those shortcomings are far from killjoys in the grand scheme of the Genesis.

This newcomer to the small luxury sedan market is out to spoil the party for the Germans, and while the G70 might not hold the prestige of those Teutonic brands, it should absolutely be on the radar for anyone considering a 3-Series, C-Class or A5. The Genesis serves up a composed and fun ride, great tech and features, bona fide luxury engineering and it costs significantly less than its counterparts.

So go ahead, leave the sticker on the Genesis just to show the price.

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