By Keith Buglewicz
The 2017 Genesis G90 is the flagship of a new luxury division from Korean automaker Hyundai, similar to the luxury spinoffs 20-plus years ago from Toyota (Lexus), Nissan (Infiniti) and Honda (Acura). It is also, in a more direct way, the successor to the Hyundai Equus luxury sedan. But history and background aside, the 2017 G90 is also an exceedingly comfortable, quiet, luxurious and surprisingly agile full-size luxury sedan. Sure, the newest BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class are more technologically sophisticated, but against the Lexus LS and Audi A8 the new Genesis G90 makes a surprisingly good case for itself, especially when price is a factor. However, a new brand like Genesis can't match the prestige of its more established competition.
If you're obsessed with the thought of driving a sedan with all the luxury trappings, but simply don't have the scratch to spend the $80,000 needed for one of the German brands, the Genesis G90 can satisfy your lust without breaking your budget.
There's more to a luxury car than how much stuff that's crammed inside, and while the G90 certainly offers a lot of car for the money, the Genesis badge needs time to build up the kind of prestige found with Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz brands.
The 2017 Genesis G90 is an all-new model from an all-new car brand. Ostensibly replacing the Hyundai Equus, the G90 is bigger, more powerful, far more luxurious, better-looking and better to drive.
Big luxury sedans are meant to be comfortable and quiet, and the 2017 Genesis G90 is unquestionably on mission here. When you're cruising in traffic it's smooth and quiet, and...
... at speed, the ride borders right on the edge of being too soft, but is still perfectly acceptable. The G90 is the kind of car you could drive for hours on end and arrive feeling relaxed and refreshed. Yet put the G90 into Sport mode and the car's suspension stiffens, giving it just enough bite that you'll think, "Hey, what if I cook it through that onramp?" When you do, you'll be pleasantly surprised as this big sedan takes a bite and holds on, with steering that's remarkably communicative, and eye-opening grip. Put another way, from the driver's seat the 2017 G90 is at least the equal of the Lexus LS 460.
STANDARD SAFETY SUITE
Every 2017 Genesis G90 model comes standard with a host of standard safety systems that includes lane-keeping assist, driver-attention monitor, active cruise control with full stop and start, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and even a head-up display to keep your eyes on the road.
Upgrade to the G90 5.0 Ultimate and you get more than just a V8 engine. You also get a significant upgrade to the rear seat, including independently adjustable outboard positions with seat memory, to keep your rear-seat passenger's favorite spot just the way he or she likes it.
Whether you're judging by the materials used, how they're assembled, or just how it all looks, the Genesis G90 interior is masterfully luxurious. The soft and supple Nappa leather on the seats is echoed on the soft-touch door panels, dash, center console, and just about everything else. The real wood trim and stainless-steel speaker grilles look expensive, and combine with the metallic-look switchgear for a high-class appearance designed to evoke images of Mercedes-Benz, as does the knob-based infotainment interface. About the only downside is that the upmarket G90’s dash layout, information display and ergonomics are virtually identical to the down-market Hyundai Elantra.
This is a good-looking if conservatively styled car. The Genesis "crest" grille is large and imposing, but still distinctive from other luxury cars indulging in the mega-grille trend. The hood bulge extends across the width, then continues down the side of the car as a strong character line, eventually blending with the taillights. A chrome strip accentuates the length of the doors, and wraps around the back of the car, dividing the bumper. Granted, it's not the most distinctive or head-turning shape out there, but it looks good, and will likely wear well over time.
Loaded. That's the best way to describe even the base-model Genesis G90 3.3T Premium, with its 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 powering the front wheels. There's a comprehensive safety suite that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active cruise control, and even a driver-attention alert. There's Nappa leather seating surfaces, a full-color head-up display and a multi-view camera that includes around-view. The 22-way-adjustable driver's seat is complemented by a 16-way passenger seat. The 17-speaker Lexicon audio system is part of the 12.3-inch infotainment system. There are even power sunshades for the rear AND rear side windows. Like we said. Loaded.
The only stand-alone option for the 2017 G90 is all-wheel drive, available on both V6 and V8 models. However, upgrade to the V8-powered Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate and, in addition to the bigger engine and LED headlights, you get a significant rear-seat upgrade. G90 Ultimate models get power-adjustable rear-outboard seating positions, including an integrated memory system to save your settings. The rear seats also get a power head restraint, and rear-seat illuminated vanity mirrors. It's a first-class seating accommodation by any measure.
Prospective Genesis G90 buyers have two engines to choose from. The first is a powerful twin-turbocharged V6 engine that pushes 365 horsepower out of its 3.3 liters of displacement. The other is a 5.0-liter V8 offering 420 horsepower. Both are connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and both can be ordered with rear- or all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD). Both engines offer strong acceleration, but it should be noted that the V8 has only a 7 lb-ft advantage when it comes to torque, although there is a significant horsepower advantage. Both engines are designed for premium fuel, and neither is particularly thrifty in its consumption, with 24 mpg on the highway lagging behind similar full-size luxury sedans like the Cadillac CT6, BMW 740i and Mercedes-Benz S550.
3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
376 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (RWD & AWD)
420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg (RWD), 15/23 mpg (AWD)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 Genesis G90 3.3T Premium starts just below the $70,000 mark including the $950 destination charge. The V8-powered G90 Ultimate comes in at about $70,650, a bargain when you consider the significant rear-seat upgrade that comes with the V8 engine. All-wheel drive adds $2,500 to the price of either car. That's a lot of money for something that would've worn a Hyundai badge just a year ago, but compare it to other luxury sedans and you'll see it's a colossal bargain. Even a V8-only Lexus LS 460 starts at more than $73,000, and that doesn't include all-wheel drive and the fancy rear seat you'd get for less in the Genesis. The KBB.com Fair Purchase Price tells you what others in your area paid for their Genesis G90, but be warned: as an all-new luxury brand, resale value isn't likely to be a strong point.