The Genesis G90 Flagship Makes a Statement
For nearly as long as the auto industry has existed, luxury automakers would produce a flagship sedan, a full-size executive model that would characterize the best engineering and design the brand could offer. These were the models that made just the right arrival at the concert hall or school reunion whether you were seated in the spacious rear seating area or behind the wheel. Today, just a few of these big, stylish cars remain; BMW’s 7-series, Lexus LS 500 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class make the list. And add to that list the Genesis G90.
It’s not easy for a major automaker to keep a flagship sedan in the lineup. After all, most buyers have replaced their sedans with SUVs that are luxurious and big enough to swallow passengers or cargo. And they’re not big trucks anymore but luxury cruisers with all the amenities a discerning owner might wish for. Lincoln may not offer a Town Car, but its Navigator is pretty posh and Cadillac’s Escalade serves as its current big executive coach.
While big luxurious sedans seem to be on the endangered species list for many automakers, Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis is present and fully accounted for. Its stylish G90 model not only competes nose-to-nose with high luxe rivals, it has won a fistful of awards including the 2023 Motor Trend Car of the Year. And although the $100,370 MSRP seemed a bit ambitious, after spending a pampered week in this lovely boulevard cruiser, I was smitten.
Genesis is a relatively new luxury brand so it has to offer more than its well-established contenders. That began in my driveway with its new Crest Grille flowing up to jewel-like headlights and back across nicely sculptured bodywork. And since big tires and wheels always add to substance, class-leading 21-inch alloys carry staggered all-weather rubber. The G90 lets onlookers know that something important has arrived.
When I approached the car, the flush door handles smoothly deployed to greet me and the doors all felt substantial yet easy to open fully. Once inside and cosseted in Napa leather, the driver’s door closed when I fastened the seatbelt. The other doors are also self-closing with a button command. And while that may seem a bit extravagant, have you strained to reach the interior handle of a wide-open door?
Once seated, a Mood Creator can be personalized to set ambient lighting, the Bang & Olufsen 26-speaker 3-D sound system, a fragrance system and massage seats to create just the right motoring environment. Passengers may not want to leave this luxurious cocoon, but the Genesis team didn’t forget the driver. Our G90 was powered by a twin turbocharged, 3-5-liter V6 that added an electric supercharger to provide smooth V8 power and nearly instant torque with fuel economy that’s a bit better than the 5.0-liter engine it replaced.
Genesis has quickly blossomed into a real luxury rival to the vaunted European and long-established domestic brands and the industry is paying attention. Cadillac is celebrating its 120-year anniversary with an ultra-luxury flagship they’ve named Celestiq and assert it’s the new Standard of the World. This bespoke electric sedan will set a few hundred buyers back about $340,000 to $400,000 depending on the wish list. Apparently, the flagship is alive and well.
THE FINE PRINT
2023 Genesis G90 3.5T
TYPE: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.5-liter Turbo & Supercharged V6
HORSEPOWER: 409 @ 5,800 RPM
TORQUE: 405 lb.ft. @ 1,300 – 4,500 RPM
BASE PRICE: $98,700
AS TESTED: $100,370
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 17-city, 24-highway, 20-combined