Ignore the badge snobs –the first offering from Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand holds its own against anything Mercedes and BMW has to offer.
By Ghaith Madadha
To Hyundai what Infiniti is to Nissan or Lexus to Toyota, Genesis is the Korean automotive giant’s gambit at the lucrative, yet highly competitive, luxury segment.
The G90 saloon is the first offering in a line-up that’s eventually expected to include a range of other executive runabouts, SUVs and coupes. It’s essentially a successor to Hyundai’s outgoing Centennial, and carries over the same engines, which include the entry-level 3.8-liter V6 and range-topping 5-liter V8 engines, and introduces a more advanced and efficient mid-range 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 model.
Longer, more luxurious, better appointed, and with more advance technology, the G90 is a more stately and statuesque follow-up to the Centennial. The G90’s front is more distinctly upright and conservative, with handsome, contemporary and luxurious—if slightly generic—aesthetics. Its horizontally-slatted grille, however, takes center stage, with greater presence, tidier detailing, moodier LED front lights, and more defined surfacing and profile. However its winged emblem sits atop the bonnet rather than being positioned to add feature to the grille’s vast landscape.
The G90 3.3T’s twin-turbocharged direct injection 3.3-liter V6 engine delivers a broad and muscular mid-range and a powerful top-end, just short of the range-topping V8 version, and performance and efficiency benefits. The 3.3T features integral turbo and exhaust manifolds and electronic wastegate for enhanced responsiveness, with almost imperceptible off-the-line turbo lag. Producing 365 BHP at 6,000 rpm and with optional HTRAC four-wheel-drive and larger 275/40R19 rear tires providing added traction, the 3.3T pounces confidently and swiftly from standstill, accelerating through 0-100 km/h in approximately 6.2 seconds. Meanwhile 375 lb/ft torque developed throughout 1,300-4,500 rpm is abundant and versatile, providing on-the-move flexibility.
The G90 builds power with eager progression through to around 6,000 rpm under heavy throttle load, before its slick 8-speed automatic gearbox reaches for the next ratio. Sending 90 percent of power to the rear wheels, the driven four-wheel-drive HTRAC model’s electronic differential, however, smoothly and subtly re-directs 40 percent of power frontwards for added traction, grip or stability as necessary, and locks 100 percent rearwards for efficient Eco mode driving. Three pre-selected and one customizable driving modes alter gearbox, throttle, and stability control profiles and suspension firmness for sportier or more comfortable driving.
Riding on adaptive multi-link air suspension, the G90 is smooth, supple, and forgiving over imperfect road textures despite low profile tires. In Sport mode, its balanced handling sharpens up, with tauter body lean control and tidier turn in. Rather than altering the G90’s comfortably wafting core characteristics, Sport mode subtly focuses and tightens its responses and lateral and vertical weight shifts. Stable and quiet at speed, it features low CD0.27 aerodynamics and enhanced refinement features, including double soundproof glass, three-layer door seals, thicker carpets and headliner, and improved sound absorption.
Generously spacious inside, the G90’s cabin features more legroom than its predecessor owing to a 115mm longer wheelbase. Seating is comfortable and well-adjustable for a good driving position, and rear seats can also recline.
Classy and finished with high quality leathers, materials, and textures, the G90’s cabin is inviting, while instrumentation and controls are user-friendly and include a 12.3-inch HD infotainment screen. Its equipment include around view monitor and Lexicon sound system. Driver assistance systems feature adaptive stop/start cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, and lane-keeping assistance.
Engine: 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V6-cylinders
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 365 (370)  @6000 rpm
Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 376 (510) @1300-4500 rpm
0-100 km/h: 6.2 seconds*
Length: 5205 mm
Width: 1905 mm
Height: 1495 mm
Headroom, F/R: 1045/966 mm
Legroom, F/R: 1175/960 mm
Weight: approximately 2000kg**
Suspension: Multi-link, active dampers
Tires, F/R: 245/45R19 / 275/40R19
* HTRAC version specifications currently unavailable
** Exact weight unspecified