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2017 Genesis G90 First Review

By Richard Homan on August 16, 2016 1:00 AM

Here's what we don't know: The starting price for the 2017 Genesis G90. That's still a few weeks away -- the all-new full-size luxury sedan will arrive in September -- but we'd bet that it's going to start just above or just below $70,000. If you're badge-agnostic, that makes the G90 a value compared to such European standbys as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8.

And here's what we do know: The flagship vehicle for Hyundai's new luxury division -- think Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti and Hyundai/Genesis -- fits the Korean carmaker nicely against the Japanese luxury makes, and even scores a few stings against the old luxury guard from Germany as well.

Power, performance and pleasure

Essentially, two versions of the 2017 Genesis G90 are available, distinguished mainly by their engines. The G90 3.3T Premium model gets its healthy thrust from a 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 that rolls out 376 lb-ft of torque and first-class acceleration from 1,300-4,500 rpm, which is just a nudge off idle.

Redundant (and pricier) except for the wealthy who must have a V8 or a chauffeur, the Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate is notable not so much for its 420-horsepower V8, but for the thimbleful of standard equipment it comes with that's unavailable to a 3.3T Premium buyer or lease-holder. The good news is, you don't really need any of it: full LED headlights, plus a slew of rear-seat enhancements including reclining, power-adjustable, ventilated seating and rear-seat illuminated vanity mirrors.

Rear- and all-wheel drive offered

Both versions of the new G90 come in rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available as an option. A luxury-smooth and sport-quick shifting electronic 8-speed automatic (with paddle shifters) is the standard transmission. The city/highway fuel economy between the two engines is comparable -- 17/24 for the twin-turbo V6 (both rear-drive and all-wheel drive), with the V8 coming in at 16/24 for the rear-drive version and 15/23 for the all-wheel drive. None of these fuel economy numbers, however, give the G90 any bragging rights versus its competition.

To control ride and handling duties, the front and rear multilink suspension setup enjoys the added poise and performance benefits of Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension with electronic damping control. If you want to fine tune the G90's suspension, shift patterns, steering and throttle response, driver-selectable Intelligent Drive Mode gives you four driving profiles to choose from -- Eco, Smart, Sport and Individual (which encourages you customize driving inputs ever further). Honestly, however, the default Smart mode will serve you best as it quickly "learns" your driving style of the moment and sets up the G90 follow your lead. In a manner befitting a true luxury sedan, the G90's brakes respond immediately and effectively, without a hint of hesitation or drama.

Also: Class of 2017 - New Cars Ready to Roll

Style, substance and safety

Shaped with the strength of Hyundai's European luxury design team -- Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke -- behind it, the new G90 looks the part of a luxury sedan on the road and valet parked among its peers. Inside the G90, the outside world has a tough time getting in, and the quietude allows normal conversation between the front seats and rear seats without undue interference from road noise or wind noise. The driver's outward vision is very good in all directions, and changing lanes is easy for such a large car.

Standard Nappa leather ( an option on a Mercedes-Benz S550) covers the G90 seats, dash and door trim, though the glossy finish on the wood trim detracts from the warmth of the interior. Legroom and headroom are generous in both rows of the G90, though if you have long, long legs, you'll notice that the rear-seat toe room in the footwell is blocked like a bulkhead seat on an airplane.

Technically a 5-seater, the rear center armrest folds down to give rear passengers controls for audio and climate control. Other standard G90 interior features include heated/ventilated front seats (22-way power-adjustable for the driver, 16-way for the passenger), a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system, a wide-screen 12.3-inch high-res infotainment display and hard-drive navigation, and heated outboard rear seats. That's it for the quick list, but you really should pore over the seemingly endless list of standard driver/passenger comfort and convenience features that every G90 gets. About the only obvious things you won't find (yet) are massaging seats and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2016

Long list of driver assists

Standard safety features are another powerhouse positive that the new G90 has to offer at its price. Again, the list of standard features is long and comprehensive, but highlights include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; smart blind spot detection (applies the left or right brake to prevent a collision due to an unwise lane-change attempt); 360-degree and multi-view cameras; two levels of lane-keeping assist, and smart cruise control with full stop-and-go capability.

Like the successful Hyundai Genesis before it (now transformed as the Genesis G80), the 2017 Genesis G90 is an achievement. Both are legitimate luxury sedans, loaded to the grilles with features and priced to keep movin'-up Hyundai drivers in the family and attract value-centric luxury buyers who crave equipment above all else. The new G90 hasn't replaced or rewritten the rules of what it means to be a luxury sedan, but it has brought a plenty sharp knife to the knife fight.


 

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