Not long ago we introduced you to the Genesis G80, our first look at one of the vehicles debuting the new luxury brand from Hyundai. Since then we have gotten the opportunity to drive the flagship of the brand, the 2017 Genesis G90 luxury sedan.
As with the G80, the G90 arrives on a somewhat familiar platform as it replaces the Hyundai Equus (EQ900 globally). What is different about this model is that it was created by the new Prestige Design Group at Genesis and rolls out as more than just a rebadged Hyundai. The G90 features all new design language they call “athletic elegance” as it strives to achieve refined yet dynamic performance.
Visually, the new G90 is striking and just the mere presence of the car shows how serious the automaker is at joining the luxury sedan market around the globe as it will be available not only in the U.S. but China, Russia, and the Middle East as well. And in preparation for this rollout Genesis has tested the G90 extensively both in proving grounds in California and at the company’s European Technical Center at Nurburgring in Germany.
The new G90 offers a pair of engines – the award-winning Tau 5.0-liter direct-injected V-8 or the all-new twin turbo direct-injected 3.3-liter V-6. We enjoyed the latter as this smaller powertrain showed it had no problem piloting the flagship in all types of driving situations. With 365hp always at the ready the V-6 G90 had no trouble keeping up with the status quo. For those seeking a more traditional luxury sedan experience, the Tau V-8 will offer 420 ponies at the helm.
Both engines are mated to Hyundai’s second-generation 8-speed automatic gearbox that features lighter-weight components and reduced clutch-disc drag with higher efficiency and more compact dimensions. It offers the perfect companionship to the engines in city, highway, or any mix of driving situations offering intelligent drive mode (choice of Eco, Smart, Sport, and Individual settings) and Shiftronic with paddle shifters for more control from the driver.
The chassis is tight and offers excellent on-road manners with a smooth, quiet driving experience. Genesis brings its adaptive control suspension with electronic damping control to the G90 for optimum ride control. As with the G80, the new G90 is a rear-wheel drive sedan and Genesis offers the vehicle in H-TRAC AWD as well. This system can transfer up to 40 percent engine torque to the front wheels when driving conditions go down hill. Braking the G90 is extremely well-controlled with little body movement thanks to the damping control and steering is effortless as Genesis uses motor-driven power steering technology for excellent response and control.
Our tester was the RWD 3.3T Premium model and featured nearly every creature comfort one could wish for in a large luxury sedan. The uber-comfortable leather seating with heat and ventilation just begins the lengthy list of accoutrements inside G90 as we also enjoyed the power rear door sunshades, rear window sunshade, power door closure, hands-free power trunk, multi-view camera display, head-up drivers display, 12.3-inch HD navigation system with multimedia controller, and killer Lexicon 17-speaker 7.1 surround audio system. And those puddle lamps that display the brand logo are pretty cool, too.
Safety is at the forefront in the Genesis G90 thanks to such technologies as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and driver attention alert should the car detect you getting a bit drowsy behind the wheel.
While riding in the G90 is a premium experience, driving the vehicle is a reward unto itself. The response from the twin turbochargers is a blast and will have you questioning if there really is only a V-6 (and a somewhat small one at that) under the hood. The vehicle responds very well to driver commands and goes wherever you point it with no hesitation or despair. Genesis has done well to prove itself worthy of competing in the global luxury sedan marketplace and now only time will tell how well it is received. The segment largely consists of loyal buyers but Hyundai’s luxury brand can perhaps do best by enticing new consumers to this genre.
Pricing for the 2017 Genesis G90 begins at $68,100 with our loaded tester arriving at $69,050. While this may seem a princely sum it is still well below much of the competition in this segment and that in itself should attract some attention over to Genesis showrooms. Fuel economy for the 3.3T is 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
Genesis is on its way with both G80 and G90 sedans and the automaker says it will have a few more new premium luxury vehicles in the marketplace in the near future. From what we have seen with these two examples it is clear Hyundai wants a seat at the luxury segment table around the globe and after experiencing the G90 I would even pull out their chair for them.