Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, has been answering the call — and winning awards — in the past few years when buyers began focusing on luxury sport-utility vehicles as well as battery-electric models.
In fact, it’s easy to forget the brand started off with just a few sedans while working to round out its line-up with the GV60, GV70 and GV80 in the years following. However, just one look at the impressive styling of the 2023 Genesis G90 will very quickly remind you just how the brand got popular — stylish, performance-oriented sedans.
Upon approach, it’s impossible to ignore the athletically elegant full-size flagship sedan. With the massive crest grille, two-line headlights and the clamshell hood that melds the hood and fenders in a single panel, it demands to be ogled, especially in the Saville Silver specialized paint our tester came in. One almost wants to run your hand down along the car’s beltline as if in a commercial.
Get a look
Gaze down the side and all you’ll see is long, low and fast. Everyone wants descriptors like “low slung” and “aggressive” when trying to capture the hearts — and checkbooks — of buyers in the premium performance segment.
Good news, Genesis gets the job done on that front. Walking the exterior of the G90 inspires the confidence and satisfaction that only certain high-end machines bring.
If only I could stop there. If I could ignore the elephant in the room, or more precisely, Genesis designers wouldn’t have turned a blind eye to. The back end is what I would generously describe as uninspired — the weak spot in an otherwise stellar design. It’s as if a second shift came in, looked at what was left and decided it was close enough and moved on.
Fortunately the interiors group wasn’t so short sighted. The cabin of the G90 is spacious and ours was covered in Bordeaux brown nappa leather and microfiber suede. The leather seats, which are heated and cooled, are a great place to be for short errands or longer drives.
The high-quality materials ensure you understand this is an expensive luxury sedan. If they don’t, the crystal gear selector dial, and doors that close at the push of a button certainly will. However, the inside doesn’t strike the same chord as the outside.
That said, it’s simple, uncluttered with an appropriate ratio of knobs and buttons to haptic response touchscreens. The G90 is decked out in just about every bit of technology one can imagine. The safety and concierge technologies come together marvelously on a road trip as I discovered during a four-hour round trip to visit a friend.
Technology and feel
The highway driving assist and smart cruise control — as well as the massaging seats — made for a comfortable ride, eliminating the stiffness and mental fatigue I often feel sitting for long drives.
Another bright spot is the 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 engine with the 48-volt mild hybrid assist, tied to an 8-speed transmission. The combination puts out 409 horsepower and those ponies come on smoothly, but quickly.
Meanwhile the multi-chamber air suspension and rear-wheel steering work with the different drive modes and conditions to give you a premium driving experience you want.
On the freeway, it’s comfortable, not floaty, soaking up bumps, but also going where you aim it. You can feel — and occasionally see — the suspension raising or lowering the ride height of the car, depending upon the conditions.
The problem for the G90 is that it plays in a tough league with more established competitors like the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S Class and more. And with a price tag right at $100 grand, many won’t see that as a big enough value proposition to choose it over the other. Still … it’s a lot of luxury car for the money.