The flagship Genesis comfortably wears its crown, says auto writer Greg Rubenstein
The flagship Genesis comfortably wears its crown, says auto writer Greg Rubenstein.
A premium auto manufacturer’s flagship vehicle must set the company’s tone and serve up its corporate promise, be that technological innovation, performance, style, comfort, prestige, or any combination thereof. The challenge to deliver is all the more formidable for a brand just establishing its premium credentials, which is the case for the Genesis G90. Fortunately, for parent company Hyundai, this Genesis is a magnificent creation.
Never heard of Genesis as a car brand? You’re not alone. Until the 2017 model year, vehicles now under the Genesis name were high-end Hyundais—the Genesis sedan (now G80) and Equus (now G90). Like the relationship of Lexus to Toyota or Cadillac to GM, Genesis is now Hyundai’s luxury division.
Sharp-eyed North Valley Magazine readers will remember the G80 review from the February/March ’17 issue. Where the mid-size G80 was special, the full-size G90 is spectacular. What makes it so impressive is both the sum of its sumptuous parts, and the exquisite execution present from headlights to tailpipes, ergonomics to interior appointments.
From the outside, the G90 cuts an elegant, athletic figure. An arcing, high beltline crease provides design continuity fore-to-aft, flowing out of a bold, chrome-trimmed grille, through sculpted headlamps, and back to waterfall-styled taillamps that pour down to dual asymmetric chrome exhaust tips integrated in the lower bumper.
Muscular flares contain meaty, low profile tires wrapped around 19-inch diameter alloy wheels. A proportionately long hood with relatively short front and rear overhangs accentuate the G90’s graceful yet vigorous design.
Inside, meticulousness craftsmanship is evident in the tight, consistent panel gaps found throughout. High-quality materials selection provides abundant soft-touch, smooth surfaces with a luxurious feel, and the leather upholstery––and in particular the attention to detail evident in the precision stitching––is perhaps as fine as anything coming off a mass-produced production line today.
The G90 is also bestowed with innovative and truly useful technology, including an array of state-of-the-art safety features. One example is automated emergency braking, which actively monitors exterior conditions and will provide autonomous braking to avoid a collision. Also, the G90’s semi-autonomous cruise control with lane keep assist operates from freeway speed to stop-and-go conditions, all while actively providing steering input to maintain vehicle position within lane lines.
From the 22-way power driver’s seat (16-way power for front passenger) with cooling and heating for all, to the 12.3-inch center multifunction touchscreen display, to active driver fatigue monitoring which intervenes when distracted or inattentive driving is detected, the G90 driver and occupants are want for nothing, commensurate with expectations of any high-end luxury vehicle.
Dynamically, a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine matched with an eight-speed auto transmission provides enough muscle to move this five-seater from a stop to 60 miles-per-hour in just over five seconds. An optional 420-horsepower V8 engine—matched to the same automatic transmission—manages the 0-60 sprint in a flat five seconds.
With 376 pound-feet of torque on tap, the G90 is always eager to get up to speed. Once in motion, jumbo brakes prove easily up to task for slowing this 4,630-pound luxury cruiser, even with repeated hard stops from freeway speed.
Perhaps the best feature of this Genesis is its adaptive electronic suspension, which offers four driver-selectable modes, each with a distinct personality and purpose. Each mode alters a range of vehicle dynamics, including steering speed (through an electric variable gear ratio), throttle response, plus suspension tuning and varying levels of stability control intervention.
ECO mode returns maximum fuel economy, providing for an EPA-rated 17 miles per gallon in city diving, 24 mpg on the highway, and combined-use 20 mpg. SMART mode uses artificial intelligence to monitor and analyze driving patterns, continually optimizing settings in real-time. SPORT mode offers maximum vehicle control and response, while the INDIVIDUAL setting offers full customization of all available parameters with memory recall.
G90 pricing starts at $68,100 for the rear-wheel-drive twin-turbo V6 model, while the V8 version comes in at $69,700. All-wheel-drive is available with either powertrain, adding $2,500 to the sticker. Like its smaller G80 stablemate, the G90 combines superb interior design with exemplary, a refined drivetrain and perfectly tuned road manners.
The flagship Genesis comfortably wears its crown, and holds up strongly against similar-sized competitors, especially considering the competitor’s base pricing often nears the six-figure range. If the G90 falls short anywhere, it is perhaps in pedigree. Buyers in this premium segment may want their purchase to reflect status; whether the Genesis is capable of doing so depends on the individual. It is certainly worth a test drive to see how it measures up for your lifestyle—you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.
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