2017 Genesis G90 Adds Aspirational Luxury to Our Four Seasons Fleet
Not everyone roots for the underdog, but they really should
A Korean luxury car? Does that sound a bit odd to your ear? It might. It wasn't so long ago that most folks looked a bit askance at Toyota for launching its Lexus brand. And you might not know it, but Hyundai has been building luxury cars for about 8 years now—the Equus and the Genesis. It was the latter model that created a bit of buzz for the company's more premium efforts, and now that name has spawned its own brand—and a new top-tier model, the G90.
The 2017 Genesis G90's exterior is, from most angles, a bit of a hodgepodge of other familiar full-size luxury sedans. BMW's 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz's S Class definitely feature in the details, but the overall presence is more in line with the current Lexus LS—which is due to be replaced with an all-new model in just a few weeks. Being almost entirely derivative, the G90's design is very much "inside the box," but it's also a pleasant assembly of cherry-picked crowd pleasers, so while it's not unique, it's still handsome, especially wrapped in its subtle London Gray paint job. Inside, the story is much the same, with the same relative influences. As an upstart luxury brand, copying the segment leaders might seem like a cop-out, but it may actually be a stroke of genius. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just borrow one?
Where the G90 does make some bold moves is price. At just $71,575 (including delivery fees), our Four Seasons test car comes equipped with no options—because there are none. The only choices you'll make in choosing your G90 are what sort of engine you'd like (a turbo V-6 or a V-8), whether you'd like rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the car's exterior color, and, in a few cases, the interior color scheme (most exterior colors offer only one interior color scheme). That's it. And yet it's still pretty much loaded.
In addition to a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine rated at 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive, our Four Seasons 2017 Genesis G90 also includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, a head-up display, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and a host of other electronic safety features. But that's not all! A 12.3-inch display houses the navigation and infotainment systems, 7.1-channel surround sound blasts through 17 speakers, and Qi wireless charging lets you keep the electrons while cutting the cord. There's even more standard equipment in the G90 3.3T Premium AWD, but more on that in updates to come.
Copy editor Kara Snow shed some light on those other options, noting of the G90, "As much as Automobile editors love to drive, this one is best appreciated from the back seat. Plenty of legroom, Nappa leather seats, three-zone climate control, power side and rear window shades, and easy power door closure add up to create a cosseted, upscale passenger car." Associate editor Jonathon Klein, on the other hand, found delight in a feature shared by every car: the front seats. "As far as I'm concerned, the front seats in the G90 are S-Class worthy. They feel as if your posterior is swaddled in the softest of goose down. I could see spending days in those seats without ever getting a cramp or growing weary of the road and the trip." Online editor Ed Tahaney calls out the G90's ride comfort as a standout feature, calling it, "A big boat of a car with a ride that reminds me of a early 90's Chevrolet Caprice. It floats down the highway and bounces like a beach ball when you hit bumps in the road."
It hasn't been a perfect honeymoon with our new Four Seasons G90, however. A few gripes have arisen already, with one in particular making the rounds. Klein argues there's some work to be done on the center console design, saying, "There are too many buttons by a factor of ten. My wife and I started counting one night and found that there are over 113 buttons in the cabin. That has to be a record—and one Genesis may not want to achieve. There are too many single use buttons that could be easily combined or even eliminated." Tahaney explains why the buttons and layout aren't ideal: "I haven't spent too much time in it but it has way too many buttons. The volume control knob is too close to the same size as the A/C knob. Every time I reach over to turn up the volume, I end up screwing with the A/C."
Toys and design are only part of the luxury sedan equation, however. To hang with the best of today's top-tier cars, the G90 will need to offer some muscle and some hustle to counter its cool-hand style. We'll be digging deeper into whether the 3.3-liter turbo V-6 delivers the goods through the course of our year with the G90, but our initial testing shows the car is certainly in the ballpark. With a 4,840-lb weight on our scales, the G90 3.3T AWD scampers to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, running the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 100.3 mph. Fifteen years ago, those would have been pretty solid figures for a mid-range sports car. When it comes to cornering, the G90's softer side shines through: it managed just 0.86 g of lateral grip on our skid pad, running the figure eight in 25.6 seconds at an average of 0.73 g. To put that in context, the current 740i xDrive hits 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.1 (manufacturer claimed) seconds.
Look for more updates on our year-long journey with the Genesis G90 in the coming months as we do our best to see whether this is the new luxury brand's moonshot, the foundation for a new Lexus, or if it's just another near-miss, doomed to wither in the netherworld of "near luxury."
Our 2017 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium
|PRICE||$69,050 (RWD)/$71,575 (AWD) (base/as tested)|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-Passenger, front-engine, AWD Sedan|
|TURNING CIRCLE||39.2 ft|
|BRAKES, F/R||disc brakes/vented|
|WHEELS, F/R||19-inch alloy wheels|
|TIRES||Continental Conti Pro Contact|
|L X W X H||204.9 x 75.4 x 58.9 in|
|TRACK, F/R||66.6 in|
|HEADROOM, F/R||41.1/38.0 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||46.3/37.8 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||59.1/57.9 in|
|CARGO CAPACITY||15.7 cu ft|
|WEIGHT DIST F/R||N/A|
|EPA MILEAGE||17/24/20 mpg (est)|
|FUEL CAPACITY||21.9 gal|
|EST. FUEL RANGE||438 miles (est)|
|0-60 MPH||5.4 sec|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph|
|London Gray exterior paint||22-way power adjustable driver seat, 16-way power adjustable front passenger seat|
|Black/black leather interior, Nappa leather seating surfaces||Heated seats|
|Microfiber suede headliner||Ventilated front seats|
|HTRAC all-wheel drive||Electroluminescent cluster with 7" color HD LCD multi-info display|
|Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension with Electronic Damping Control||12.3-inch HD navigation system with DIS Multimedia Controller|
|19-inch alloy wheels||Lexicon 17-speaker 7.1-channel Surround Sound audio|
|Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection||Quantum Logic Surround & Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology|
|Smart Blind Spot Detection & Rear Cross-Traffic Alert||AM/FM/HD Radio/MP3 audio system|
|Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist||SiriusXM Radio w/90-day trial|
|Driver Attention Alert||Front seat wireless device charger (Qi)|
|Head-Up Display / Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start||Three-zone automatic temperature control & CO2 sensor|
|Multi-View Camera / front & rear parking sensors||Power tilt-and-slide sunroof|
|Leather-wrapped dash and door trim, genuine wood interior trim||Power rear side window sunshades|
|Bi-Xenon HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light||Power rear sunshade|
|High beam assist & LED daytime running lights||Power Door Closure|
|Hands-free smart power trunk with auto-open|
|None available; each is a pre-packaged trim line, varying only with engine/drive wheel choices|