Discerning luxury large sedan buyers have stuck with the favored few over the last decades with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Porsche Panamera, and Lexus LS dominating the conversation. The newest kid on the block is Genesis, a spin-off of the Hyundai nameplate, which is looking to take a bite out of the German-dominated market.
Genesis had a 2018 G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate over to me for a weeklong test drive. The top-tier model was only missing the available all-wheel drive and came in at $72,825, which includes a $975 destination charge.
On the outside, there’s no doubt that the Genesis is a flagship sedan. It has a wide and tall grille facing a brutish front end. Standard equipment includes full LED headlamps that follow the direction the wheel is steering. Still, the look is sedate and elegant. The trend continues down the side panels and to the rear where comparisons to the tail end of the S-Class are not unwarranted.
Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 engine that supplies all the power you could want to propel the sedan. It’s smooth acceleration off the line is thanks to its 8-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain yields a robust 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque.
Sport mode makes the acceleration more vigorous and the handling tighter, which does help on winding roads. Eco mode slows down the acceleration and is best for driving situations that find you sitting in traffic quite frequently.
Despite its large size, the G90 handles the road well. Its steering is precise making the body’s dimensions easy to handle. There’s some body lean around tighter corners but that’s nothing unexpected.
Inside the cabin, the luxury level features abound. The G90’s dashboard is wrapped in leather and accented with real wood. Seats are covered in Nappa leather and the headliner is microfiber suede. The driver’s seat adjusts 22 different ways while the front passenger has 16 ways to adjust theirs. Rear passengers aren’t left out completely- the right rear passenger has a 14-way power adjustable seat while the left rear passenger only has 12-way.
The dashboard is adorned with a 7-inch infotainment screen and tri-zone climate control comes standard. Other vehicles in this class have larger screens and offer four-zone climate control.
The infotainment system operates similarly to Kia and Hyundai’s system but features refined fonts and navigation screens befitting a more luxurious brand. There’s also a wireless device charging pad in addition to two USB ports.
Where the G90 hits a home run is with its audio system. The model I test drove came with a Lexicon 17-speaker audio system with 17 speakers and Clari-Fi technology. I tested the system rather extensively during my week and was blown away with its capabilities. In my opinion, its performance is only second to Volvo’s Bowers & Wilkins system.
The large sedan has gobs of cargo space. Its trunk is voluminous and ready to fit all your summer clothes for the long journey to Florida or Arizona for the winter.
The refined safety systems of the G90 are befitting the vehicle’s class. They operate smoothly and effectively. The head-up display is a nice touch and allows you to see many safety alerts in its screen view rather than having to rely on a lower driver information screen.
The Genesis G90 certainly competes against the Lexus LS, and, I think, does many things better at a lower price. It comes with a long list of lengthy warranties and a lower starting price than the Lexus flagship as well. The G90 isn’t as luxurious as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but it is on par with the BMW 7-Series.