2017 Genesis G90 Review


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2017 Genesis G90 Overview

There may be some confusion as we get used to the old model name that’s now become the new brand name. But there’s no confusion over the fact that Hyundai has taken a strong first step into the realm of luxury vehicles with the 2017 Genesis G90.

Like Acura is to Honda, Lexus is to Toyota, and Infiniti is to Nissan, Genesis is now to Hyundai. The South Korean manufacturer is introducing its new luxury brand with the 4-door flagship G90. The hope is to challenge German giants like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8, American luxury rides like the Cadillac CT6 and Lincoln Continental, and, of course, the high-end sedan offerings from Japan’s Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti.

Hyundai says there will be five more cars added to the Genesis lineup by 2020, including a G80 sedan that will replace the Hyundai Genesis, leaving that name for the Genesis brand only. The G90 replaces the outgoing Hyundai Equus.

There are similarities between the G90 and the Equus, but the differences are more revealing. The Equus had too much chrome and try-hard detailing, and not enough refined class in its basic style lines. The G90 takes care of that problem with a stately roofline and a bold shoulder line that runs from the front fender to the simple-yet-strong rear end. The result is an elegant and understated silhouette that’s complemented by the supple shape of the headlights and their bright but not gaudy underlining string of LEDs.

The G90 also grows the Equus' wheelbase (4.5 inches longer), overall length (1.8 inches longer), and width (1 inch wider). That means more room for the rear passengers (37.8 inches total in the G90), 15.7 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk, and, perhaps most important, a footprint that won’t be dwarfed by those big German sedans.

The G90 needed to make a major performance upgrade from the Equus in order to compete in the luxury segment. Hyundai chased that goal at the legendary Nürburgring motorsports complex in Germany, and, once again, it seems like the company found what it wanted.

The G90 will automatically adjust the throttle, transmission, and suspension settings to fit the driver’s style. If those automated changes don’t feel right, the driver can make his or her own tweaks with the Intelligent Drive Mode, which can modify the suspension and throttle settings as well as steering and stability control. The chassis has been re-engineered with high-strength steel to increase body stiffness (Hyundai says the frame is more rigid than that of the Mercedes-Benz S550), and the multi-link suspension gets an upgrade with a set of Sachs/ZF adaptive dampers.

The G90 comes with standard rear-wheel drive, but there’s also available intelligent all-wheel drive (not an option on the Equus) that can send up to 40% of the torque to the front wheels.

All that new performance technology gets to work with a new engine - a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 (365 hp, 376 lb-ft of torque) - and a new 8-speed automatic transmission. A 5.0-liter V8 (420 hp, 383 lb-ft of torque) is also available. Fuel-efficiency numbers have not yet been released for the G90.

Leather, wood, and luxury craftsmanship dominate the G90's interior, which goes to great lengths to ensure comfort and quiet. The driver’s seat is adjustable in 22 directions, the passenger seat in 16, and both have memory, heating, and ventilation. The rear seats are 12-way adjustable and heated. Napping in those back seats will be even easier thanks to a number of sound-absorbing details like laminated acoustic film glass, 3-layer weather strips for the doors, and 2-piece wheels with sound-absorption chambers.

The centerpiece for the dash is a 12.3-inch screen that controls the infotainment systems. The controls are easy to find and intuitive to use, including a controller knob that can read handwritten gestures. There’s a wireless charging pad, tri-zone climate control, HD navigation, ambient lighting, a power trunklid, wiper de-icers, a heated steering wheel, a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, and options for two 9.2-inch HD monitors for the rear seats.

The G90 has not been crash tested, but the Genesis sedan and Equus both had excellent safety-test results, so expect the same (if not better) from the G90 itself. The new flagship has all the airbags you might want, as well as standard safety technologies like adaptive cruise control with stop-start control, blind-spot monitors, forward-collision alerts with automatic braking, lane-departure warnings, lane-keeping assist, and surround-view cameras. There’s also an option for a heads-up display.


After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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