If you thought Hyundai was crazy for trying to cook up a luxury 4-door with the 2009 Genesis sedan…well… for 2017…they’re trying a recipe that seems a whole lot crazier. Hyundai has gone all in and spun off Genesis as a whole new company: Genesis Motors. And their flagship, the G90, is our first taste of the new brand. So, let’s see if it’s well done, or just half-baked…
The Genesis G90 is the successor to the full-size Hyundai Equus, and is built on the lengthened chassis of the mid-size Genesis sedan, now called G80. So, the “90” is, in automotive parlance, an “all-new flagship sedan”. And, a self-proclaimed competitor to large-car stall warts Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. But, we think a more level playing field is with the Lexus LS and Cadillac CT6.
The G90 drives with a super-steady, rock solid feel. A 5 link front and rear suspension combines with electronic adaptive damping to keep things smooth on almost all roads. There was very little harshness, even on some rough pavement in the British Columbian countryside outside Vancouver. The level of isolation achieved is all you could ask for.
PATRICK LUCAS: "This is a cruiser for sure. On the highway, even on backroads like this, it is just whisper quiet, silky smooth..."
And that lends itself to truly appreciating the interior of the G90. Material quality is top notch. Seat comfort is excellent. And the overall design is clearly one of a top-drawer vehicle.
But the biggest hurdle that Genesis must overcome is separating itself from Hyundai. And seeing some carryover switchgear and buttons will remind more astute observers of the kinship. Get past that, and the G90 is every bit a luxury contender on its own.
Outside, it’s less its own thing, and more a combination of what it aspires to be. The front favors recent Audi A8s, especially the grille. While in the rear, it’s S-Class all the way. Take a step back, though, and it’s a handsome car that demands a second look.
Under the hood: a brand new standard 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 with 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Power delivery is strong, but perhaps lacks a little maturity in feel. Same goes for the eight speed automatic.
PATRICK LUCAS: "The one area it doesn't quite match up to its German competitors, I’d say, is in the powertrain. It's not quite as refined as an Audi, a BMW, a Mercedes-Benz..."
Fuel economy rates 17 city, 24 highway, and 20 combined. That’s about on par with rival V8s. Ditto the energy impact score of 16.5 barrels of oil used, and 7.5 tons of CO2 emitted annually.
A 420 horsepower 5.0-liter V8, and all-wheel drive, are the only options for the G90.
Everything else; automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, head up display, and multi-angle backup camera are standard. That makes for an easy pricing strategy, starting at $69,050. H-TRAC all-wheel drive adds $2,500, while the V8 adds $1,600 more.
Gaining a foothold is never easy, and in a segment with ultra-high expectations and long heritages, there will be many who look at the G90 as just a dressed up Hyundai. But then, we once said that about Lexus and Toyota too.
And, the 2017 G90 is the just beginning for Genesis. And, it is indeed a strong first step towards a time when Genesis Motors and “world class luxury” may be one and the same.
Engine: 3.3 liter V6 / 5.0 liter V8
Horsepower: 365 / 420
Torque: 376 lb-ft.
EPA: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.5 tons/yr