Genesis G90 Redefines the Cost of Luxury

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CHATHAM, Mass. – The Genesis luxury arm of Hyundai has taken aim at the sedans perched on the pinnacle of luxury motoring and scored a direct hit with the value statement entitled G90.

Sized within an inch or two of the flagship German luxury sedans but some $14,000 to $22,000 less expensive, the 2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium we’ve been gliding around the Cape for a week in August exhibits all the qualities of the Europeans: quiet, technology packed, powerful, smooth and comfortable, along with containing a full complement of reassuring safety systems.

And, like its competitors, this burgundy four door sedan projected a prestige presence – and lots of stares – wherever we went.

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This is a large car with a huge interior. Germans refer to four-door sedans as limousines and the G90’s backseat is more akin to the American meaning of the term. The rear center console goes beyond the “usual” armrest and cupholders with extensive controls for the rear climate-control and infotainment systems. Leg and headroom are excessive.

The G90 5.0 Ultimate AWD version adds power adjustment (14 ways for the right side, 12 for the left), heating and ventilation to the backseats (and all have controls allowing rear-seat passengers to move the front seats forward – in true limousine style!).

Up front driver and passenger are cossetted in sumptuous, sculpted Napa-leather-clad, heated and ventilated seats with a multitude of electrically controlled positions (22 for the driver, 16 for the passenger). The driver’s ability to find a proper driving position is further aided by an electrically adjustable (for reach and height) steering column (which, along with the seat and outside rearview mirror settings, can be stored in memory for easy recall).

Of course there are a dual-zone (front) automatic climate control – including an air conditioner which cools down the spacious interior very rapidly – system and comprehensive infotainment system with AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio/Apple CarPlay/Android Auto pouring its sound through a Lexicon® 12-channel digital external amplifier (900W equivalent, maximum) with Quantum Logic® Surround & Clari-fi™ music restoration technology. Basically, the sound is loud and clear.


Smartphone connection is by Bluetooth (including streaming audio through the aforementioned audio system).

Traditional knobs and dials control the various infotainment systems as does the steering-wheel mounted voice activation button and the 12.3-inch color multi-media touch screen. Two large multi-directional dials (one in the front, one in the rear) can take over from your fingers to control the display. The screen can be divided into thirds to show one, two or three of the various systems and functions, including the standard navigation system.

Everything anyone would expect in a flagship luxury sedan is included in the Genesis G90 package, providing driver and passengers with the environment they would expect.

Dynamics befitting a flagship

Speaking of expectations, smooth, strong ample power from under the hood sits high on the list for sedans in this class and the G90 AWD 3.3T Premium does not disappoint. The 3.3T in the name signifies inclusion of a 3.3-liter turbocharged (T) six-cylinder engine pumping out a robust 365 horsepower and 376 pounds-feet of torque (moving up the G90 AWD 5.0 Ultimate brings a 5-liter V8 with 420hp and 383 lbs.-ft. for an additional $3,500). The AWD indicates this power is conveyed to all four wheels after traveling through the eight-speed automatic transmission.

Genesis G90 Photo: James Lipman

Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension with Electronic Damping Control and Intelligent Drive Mode- a mouthful, but it means the front/rear 5-link independent suspension swallows irregularities and, along with electronic stability and traction controls, tracks winding roads with aplomb.

Aiding the suspension pieces in their work are the wheels and tires – P245/45R19 tires on 19×8.5-inch alloy rims up front and P275/40R19 rubber on 19×9-inch alloy wheels in the rear.

Inside the wheels are ventilated rotors, 14.2 inches up front and 13.4 inches in the rear modulated by a four-channel anti-lock system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution.

Extensive advance driver-assist systems

The G90, of course, is loaded with the latest advance driver-assist systems (ADAS) including: forward collision warning; automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; smart blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist; lane-keep assist (LKA) and lane-departure warning; front and rear parking sensors supplemented with multi-view (including 360°, front and rear) camera; forward-view cornering camera; smart cruise control with stop/start, and automatic high beams.

The LKA functions as promised. I took my hands off the wheel while driving on a 40-mph curving road and the G90 steered back to the center of the lane without any drama. When I steered onto the lane marker, the G90 “told” me to get back in the lane with a distinct audible tone.

Value and efficiency in a flagship luxury sedan

Part of the value proposition is operating the G90. In our usual mixture of heavy-foot on the accelerator, suburban, tourist-traffic driving, we achieved 23.3 miles per gallon, some 3.3 mpg above the combined rating (20 mpg) by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA also rated the G90 AWD 3.3T Premium at 17 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway.

It seems a bit odd to talk about value when describing a $75,695 (including $995 destination charge) sedan, but the G90 delivers. All the features discussed above are standard – in fact, there are no options available on any of the four trim levels (3.3T in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive; 5.0 in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive). Again, the major competitors sit more than $10,000 north of the G90 before any optional pieces are added.

If you want the dynamics, the comfort, the features, the technology of the world’s leading luxury sedans, but do not need the prestige of a star or propeller on your hood, the Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium makes a great choice. The Japanese Lexus and Infiniti brands began the assault on German dominance of the upper realm of the luxury world; the Koreans have now entered the picture giving consumers even more superb choices at this end of the market.

Next week: TBR Drives the Ford F-250 Lariat heavy-duty pickup

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.