Benchmarking Beyond Genesis
That benchmark is usually set by a flagship automobile. A vehicle that is designed with technology, engineering, design, quality and execution.
A Victory & Reseda review of the 2023 Genesis G90
Every generation – rather, every decade – has an automotive benchmark to uphold. The goal is to set that benchmark for the rest of the industry to follow.
That benchmark is usually set by a flagship automobile. A vehicle that is designed with technology, engineering, design, quality and execution that forges a new standard above all else.
These standards were set by vehicles that redefined the flagship and everything said vehicle stands for. Looking back, that would include vaunted nameplates, such as Marmon, Pierce-Arrow, Duesenberg, Packard, Cadillac, Imperial, and Rolls-Royce. They also include individual models, such as the 1956 Continental Mark II, the W116 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the 1990 Lexus LS 400.
If you follow any of our fellow automotive pundits and content creators, you already got the sense of importance that the 2023 Genesis G90 already garnered. They claim that the new flagship of Hyundai Motor Group’s luxury brand has achieved the levels of excellence found on the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class and any of today’s Rolls-Royce models.
Collectively, these were bold statements. Yet, are they indeed valid ones?
The first test of its position on a pedestal is the exterior design. It must be distinctive and apart from the crowd. Genesis now has a design language that is distinctive, easily recognized, and completely apart from the crowd.
It all starts with its large shield grille in a bold mesh texture. The lower grille matches the upper one and fills the space up front. The upper part of the body is flanked by the dual horizontal LED headlamp units. In all, this creates the brand’s frontal signature.
The dual horizontal lighting theme continues along the front fenders onward to the rear end. To make things more distinctive, the upper horizontal LED taillights are larger than the ones below. One remarked that it looked like the ones off of the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The lower LED taillights are the distinguishing final touch that nixes that idea.
One thing I love about the G90 is its roofline. While rakish and providing a short rear deck effect, the third pane of glass on the C-pillar is an alluring touch. Just the right element to add to the entire exterior design package.
The crowning touch is a set of 21-inch geometric design alloy wheels that are found on my tester. It fuses the right amount of visual effect to a fashion-forward flagship.
Once you take in the exterior of the G90, take a seat inside. It is as simple as clicking on the key fob. That’s when the door handles to pop out. Once you open the door and get into your seat, one application of the brake pedal will close the door – by itself. The doors operate electrically, including a button on each armrest to do so.
Then you get to settle into a gorgeous set of Nappa leather seats. While comfortable and supportive, the seat bolsters are adjusted according to the drive mode you put the G90 in. For example, Sport mode firms up the bolsters for complete support. Eco mode offers the opposite effect. Nonetheless, the seats are a treat unto themselves and will induce a relaxing drive.
The rear seats offer power adjustments for a truly limousine experience. If you operate the power window switches, the shades will also open or close to your command. You also get controls for the audio and the climate on the center armrest.
Don’t think this is just a sedan to be driven in. The driver has plenty of controls that are equally bespoke. The rotary dial for the transmission sits next to the controller for the infotainment system. Every button and control are perfectly weighted and logical to operate.
The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is customizable with various bits of information. The main screen is beautiful, giving you a horizon with the dial for the speedometer and tachometer on the left. They also house the blind spot monitors that correspond to the turn signal.
The center 12.3-inch infotainment screen houses many functions from audio to navigation to vehicle settings. It also serves as a very clear 360-degree monitor that helps in parking maneuvers. Bang & Olufsen offers a total of 1,700 watts of 3D surround sound through 23 speakers. However, smartphone mirroring is done through a USB-C connection in the center console storage. You do get wireless charging for your devices, however.
Powering our tester is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine with an added E-Supercharger. This is an additional source of boosted performance running off of a 48-volt electrical system. All told, this engine puts down 409 horsepower with 405 pound-feet of torque. To round out this driveline, Genesis adds an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels.
Do not expect this driveline to be some ultra-quick machine. It’s no slouch, either. Highway speeds are no problem and driving around town truly is an elevated experience. Nor is this an ultra-luxurious wafter. There’s a pulse that you’ll feel with the E-Supercharger, and that’s a good thing.
Fuel economy-wise, I averaged 22.3 MPG. Keep in mind, that is achieved using the required Premium Unleaded fuel.
Since this is not a flagship sedan that neither waft or float, you do get a very solid feel from the chassis and suspension system. The result is a smooth ride that absorbs the road extremely well. The G90 does exhibit some roll on occasion – especially in Eco and Comfort modes. Sport mode tighten things up a bit through the turns.
I’ve noticed that the steering effort was on the soft side. It felt very artificial and appropriate. Rather, effortless. You can accomplish tight maneuvers with the G90, however. When stopping this large sedan, the same feeling of effortless driving is felt at the brake pedal. The G90 exhibited solid stops in normal and panic situations.
How much all of this effortless luxury from Genesis cost? Starting at $88,400, you can go with a G90 powered by a twin-turbocharged V6. When you add the E-Supercharger and a few more features to the mix, that baseline price jumps to $99,700. My tester came with a sticker price of $101,295.
A Genesis for over $100,000?!? It better be worth it…
I say so. And, it certainly is. Even MotorTrend agreed, naming it their 2023 Car of The Year.
Does a vehicle’s price dictate whether this is worth it or not? The base price of the G90 is now more than the Lexus LS 500 and Audi A8. Yet, Genesis is demonstrating that it can punch above its weight in terms of providing a supreme experience behind the wheel – and in the rear seat.
The G90 is an effortless car that exudes a level of confidence and superiority I expect from any luxury car before it. That is an accomplishment worthy of its benchmark in this industry.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America
All photos by Randy Stern