Hyundai has been building luxury cars for a while now and credibly so. The problem as they have continued moving up market was one more of image than substance, people not seeing the cache of a $70,000 luxury care with the same emblem as a $15,000 econo-box.
Enter the newly minted Genesis brand, a name taken from Hyundai’s top end models and set aside as a stand alone marketing and sales entity going forward. Two models currently make up the Genesis model line as of today, the G80 and G90 rear-wheel drive sport and luxury sedans.
The 2017 Genesis G90 3.3T V6 AWD in our hands for this test rang in at $71,550, just slightly more than the rear-wheel drive model and a bit less than the 5.0-liter V8 Ultimate models. There are Genesis logos in all the right places but only Hyundai and Kia can be found deep under the hood if you look hard enough.
At its size of about 205 inches long this pits it against rivals like the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class in size, the Cadillac CT6 as well. While its styling is fresh and all-new and Genesis logos abound, it is however derivative of the Hyundai sedans design DNA.
This isn’t to say it doesn’t look the part, in fact the G90 is staunchly handsome and business like with its long and imposing silhouette. A formal roof line is far more defined than that of the previous Hyundai Equus it replaced, and more so than the smaller Genesis G80.
Ours sported handsome 19-inch wheels in a satin finish, plenty of chrome along the lower fascias and rockers, and a handsome square jaw line none the less. LED lighting abounds as does a bevy of radar sensors for all its driver assistance systems.
The interior brings with it all the expected trappings of leather, genuine wood by the yard and high-quality switchgear. Features and creature comforts too are all here and standard equipment as this is a mono-spec trim, no options or packages.
This means niceties like heated and ventilated leather front seats with memory for driver and passenger. Rear seats are heated and feature a fold down armrest with full HVAC and infotainment system controls in addition to power switches for the front passenger seat to move it out of the way.
Storage also abounds generously with a cubby at the front of the console for a phone including a Qi wireless charger along with all the connections you might need. The infotainment system itself consists of a well shrouded 12.3-inch display screen controlled by a console mounted puck in addition to hard controls on the dash just below the screen.
Audio from the Lexicon hardware sound phenomenal and the system is easy enough to use and navigate while driving.
Power from its 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged V6 is impressive even with the extra toil of all-wheel drive. Turbo lag is virtually non existent with two very small turbochargers that spool up quickly. The engine is robust yet refined, delivering a machine like thrum with little drama.
Shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission are precise and predictable, and in Sport mode are well placed if not aggressive for spirited driving. The drive modes Smart, Sport, ECO and Individual provide plenty of differences in feel from powertrain, to steering and suspension.
In that way the chassis tuning of the G90 starts at a relatively sedate soft ride that is fitting of a luxury car that might be used to chauffeur passengers. Dialing it up to Sport however stiffens it enough to make the drive more lively.
The EPA rates it as tested at 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. In our week with it we managed 19 mpg combined.
In our test of their top-end 2018 Genesis G90 3.3T AWD, we see that they have the substance to compete in a number of ways. It has the quality and refinement to go head to head with the many people may compare it to, but the question still remains whether people will see past its Hyundai design DNA.