I’ve had many experiences in what the Korean brands of Kia and Hyundai have introduced to be their flagship luxury sedans in the past, with some high hopes. Many of those vehicles, including the Kia K900, Hyundai Equus, and even the previous generation Genesis G90, were all attempts that seemed to fall well short of the competition but not without a valid attempt. To really compete with the likings of the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Audi A8/S8 or BMW 7 Series, you must bring your A-game, something that I can finally say Genesis has done in the newly redesigned G90.
The new 2023 Genesis G90 embodies a forward-thinking elevation to the approach of automotive luxury in that the new G90 not only brings its A-game but does it where you find a few edges towards ultra-luxury with trick features that you only find in brands like Rolls-Royce – all for a fraction of the price.
Performance and Driving Character
The 2023 Genesis G90 is fully redesigned, bringing us a vehicle that’s the most refined ever for the brand, exuding just about everything that you expect in a full-size luxury sedan. Powering the new G90 are two choices of a V6 engine, one with twin turbos and the other featuring an electric supercharger coupled with the same twin-turbo setup. The turbo V6 alone in the base G90 3.5T AWD trim outputs 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, directing power to an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system. The more powerful trim, the G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD test vehicle that I have in my possession, has a bit more power at the tune of 409 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque coupled with a 48-volt mild hybrid setup that powers the electric supercharger and allows for slightly extended auto-engine-stop moments at red lights.
Overall, in the more powerful variation of the new G90, there’s a decent amount of smooth power sent to all four wheels but it feels as if it is somewhat hindered by the 8-speed automatic transmission failing to downshift on occasion, leaving the engine to ride through a higher gear. Some of that gear programming is modified through a change of the drive mode, of which there are four: Eco, Comfort, Chauffeur (a mode that can be customized), and Sport. Here the drive modes make small changes to the steering effort, throttle positioning, shift patterns, and adapts the air suspension system to slightly firm its dampers in Sport mode or soften them in the Comfort mode, and in Chauffeur mode it delivers the best possible ride quality for rear seat passengers
The adaptive air suspension system is delicately tuned where it excels at soaking up road imperfections and has one of the best ride qualities of a luxury sedan, as if you’re riding on a cushion of air, which you really are. Moreover, the suspension is mostly well-controlled but lacks the composure that inspires pushing the G90 around in any remotely sporty manner. Basically, there’s not much Sport in any facet of the G90 other than hitting 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
The G90 has four-wheel-steering, where it turns the rear wheels up to 4 degrees in the opposite direction at low speeds, which helps swing this rather long 125.2-inch wheelbase around to shorten the turning radius. Such a feature is essential for such a large sedan, one that nearly mimics the sensation of other long luxury sedans with rear-wheel steering. At highway speeds, the G90 feels like it’s gliding and puts its relaxed driving character at the forefront of how it behaves – everything is smoothly damped and eerily quiet in the cabin, as you expect in a large luxury sedan.
One area that I was slightly disappointed in is that the G90 with its twin-turbo and electric supercharger V6 was its fuel economy. While the G90 managed to mostly match its EPA estimates, those numbers only go as far as 24 mpg on the highway, with the 17-mpg city and 20 mpg combined figures coming up short of expectations for a V6 powertrain.
Interior and Technology
Genesis pulled out all of the expected luxury stops, in addition to a few tricks that make the G90 a standout in its full-size luxury sedan segment. While the G90 pampers the rear outboard passengers in lavish luxury, there’s still a lot to enjoy in the front seats that also feature multiple power adjustments, heating, ventilation, and several massage functions. In the rear you get everything the front seats have in addition to having soft, fluffy headrest pillows, a power footrest on the passenger side rear seat, and full control over the rear and front passenger seating positions.
Genesis took a few pages out of the luxury sedan playbook and gave the G90 power-closing doors that magically close at the push of a center console button, pressing the door popper button, or pressing the keyless entry indentation on the power-retractable exterior door handles. Not only are onlookers or curious passengers going to be amazed at the power-closing doors, but they will smell one of the various interior scents that can be set to ventilate through the cabin, which may overshadow the natural nappa leather smell. Just about every surface is a premium material along with the proper soft-touch surfaces throughout, leaving no room for even the smallest bit of cheap hard plastics. The color-selectable ambient LED lighting can be set to stand out in a bright setting where you will find it in several areas illuminating the unique wood trim inlays or even lighting up the edges of the power sunshades of the two sunroofs.
The dashboard features a slightly new design for Genesis with two 12.3-inch screens where one serves as the digital gauge cluster, and the other brings a return of the infotainment touchscreen system from the brand. The infotainment system is the same that’s found in current Genesis vehicles that can also be controlled by a central controller wheel. The system has a plethora of core menus, which may make it somewhat intimidating at first, but once you spend a few hours with the system, it then becomes second nature to control, both with the touchscreen and physical control knob. The four-zone automatic climate control system has its own color touchscreen below with a set of physical buttons and toggles for the temperature. The rear seats have their own large color touchscreen if you fold down the center seatback – for various controls from the audio system to seating controls.
One confusing aspect is that the Genesis G90 lacks wireless connectivity of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are left to only integrate using a USB connection. However, the vehicle still offers a wireless charging pad. The 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system sounds delightful but requires certain settings to get the sounds to the rear speakers. No matter the seat that you choose, the G90 will spoil you in a special way that you can’t find in most vehicles.
As expected, you have a massive safety blanket of active and passive safety features throughout the G90, including the highlight of its advanced semi-autonomous highway driving assistance (HDA) system that combines the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping system – but requires that you keep your hand(s) on the steering wheel. The HDA system does, however, allow you to take your hands off for a longer period of time compared to other similar systems without the full adaptability of hands-free driving. I always enjoy Genesis (Kia and Hyundai) vehicles incorporating their clever color head-up displays that display the blind spot monitor along with having the bling spot view monitor displayed in the gauge cluster upon enacting the turn signal.
If it were not for lacking brand cachet, the Genesis G90 would find a welcoming home next to Rolls-Royce and Bentley sedans without much of a discerning difference other than being at a fraction of the price and wearing a less-prestigious badge. Here, the G90 some with comparable features in having an as-tested price for my top-trim G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD test vehicle of $100,370. While the G90 for its base trim starts at $88,400 before any fees, the substantial price increase for the redesign now falls in line with competitors, which makes this new luxury sedan quite a competitor that many will examine the collective of all that it has to offer, which is quite a lot and potentially worth the price in my opinion if you don’t care about brand recognition.
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