10 years ago, Genesis was just another model in the Hyundai lineup. But in 2023, Genesis is quickly becoming the next big luxury car brand like Lexus. In the last few years, their models have been winning award after award. The flagship model, the 2023 Genesis G90, is now in its second generation and it has its sights squarely aimed at the established luxury brands.
Engine – In the past, the G90 was available with a couple of V6 engines and a V8. Now, it is only available with a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6. However, it can be had with or without a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. That is, for the American market. Here in Canada, it’s only available with the mild-hybrid system. With it, the engine produces 409 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque (305 kW & 549 Nm). Without it, it produces 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque (280 kW & 530 Nm).
This mild-hybrid engine has a lot of low down grunt to get the 2,338 kg (5,156 lbs) body moving, whether it’s from a stop or to overtake a slower moving vehicle. The rpms rarely need to climb past the 3,000 mark, it all feels effortless. The engine itself feels isolated from the rest of the body with almost no vibrations felt throughout the car. It’s also responsive thanks to the mild-hybrid tech. There are a few different drive modes that the driver can choose from. Eco, Comfort, Sport, Smart, & Chauffeur. I’m not sure why this car has a Sport mode as it doesn’t feel particularly sporty, nor is it a focus of the car. However, the other modes, especially Chauffeur mode, provide a smooth driving experience.
Fuel Economy – The 2023 Genesis G90 is rated for 13.6 L/100km (17.3 MPG) in a city and 9.6 L/100km (24.5 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the big sedan, I averaged 13.0 L/100km (18.1 MPG).
On highways I found it quite easy to get better than the claimed fuel economy figure. In Eco mode, the mild-hybrid system allows the car to coast when you lift your foot off the throttle pedal. It will keep the engine running but it will seamlessly put the transmission into neutral so that there isn’t any engine braking. This allows the car to travel for a few extra meters with very little loss of speed. The mild-hybrid system also shuts off the engine a bit before arriving at a complete stop, further saving a few drops of fuel.
Transmission – The V6 engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The shifts between gears are imperceivable and extremely smooth. Exactly what you want from a luxury flagship sedan. However, the programming of this transmission doesn’t allow for the most responsive shifts, even in Sport mode. There’s a slight delay when using the paddle shifters and as well when just putting your foot down on the throttle pedal. But as I said earlier, this is not a sporty car so I too would trade fast shifts for smooth shifts.
Braking – The G90 utilizes fixed piston calipers on the front axle to provide smooth and strong braking performance. However, the brake pedal feels a bit numb when first applying your foot on it. This is because the G90 uses brake-by-wire technology to better integrate the brake pedal with the adaptive cruise control as well as the automatic emergency braking features. Unfortunately the lack of brake feel when first applying your foot on the brake pedal is the drawback. It’s not as bad as in the Mercedes S-class but it’s noticeable.
Handling – Dynamically, the 2023 Genesis G90 was never meant to be fast around corners. It’s much more at home on highways and city streets. In those environments, the car shines thanks to the adaptive dampers and air suspension. The car glides over bumps and uneven road surfaces. The air suspension can also raise the car, by a bit, to prevent the front lip from scraping the road surface when driving over large speed bumps for example.
It’s also quite easy to maneuver thanks to the rear wheel steering. The back wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels by 4 degrees at slow speeds to reduce the turning circle. At higher speeds, they turn in the same direction as the fronts by 2 degrees to improve stability. My small complaint is that the tuning of the rear wheel steering system is a bit … odd. I’ve driven other vehicles equipped with RWS such as the Mercedes S-class and more recently, the Range Rover First Edition. In those vehicles, the transition from straight driving to turning at slow speeds was seamless. In this G90, it feels almost as though the back end wants to overtake the front and almost drift. Obviously it’s not possible at such slow speeds but the back end turns a bit more than you would expect. It’s a strange feeling that is hard to explain and it takes some getting used to.
Ride Comfort – You can quote me on this; the 2023 Genesis G90 has a ride that is on par with the Mercedes-Benz S-class. The air suspension and adaptive dampers provide an unparalleled ride for the occupants. The G90 also uses the forward facing camera to scan the road ahead for any potholes and it will immediately adjust the dampers to absorb the shock if it detects a bump in the road. If you’re sitting in the back, the driver can select the Chauffeur drive mode which will adjust various parameters of the car to provide the smoothest possible ride for the VIP. Some of these parameters include turning off the auto start/stop system and setting the suspension to its softest setting.
Interior Space – The Genesis G90 is only available in one wheelbase configuration. Compared to other luxury sedans, it would be considered a long wheelbase configuration. This means that both front and rear occupants will have plenty of legroom. I’m 6’4” and I never felt as though my legs were being squished or cramped whether I was sitting in the front or in the back behind my driving position. Headroom is equally good across both rows of seats.
Behind the seats, the trunk is on the small size compared to the S-class or the new BMW 7-series. The G90 only has 300 L (10.6 cu-ft) of space. The non-hybrid variant has an additional 40 L, or about 1.5 cu-ft, of extra space. There is a passthrough in the middle for longer items such as skis.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The engineers at Genesis went a long way to make sure that the 2023 G90 is as quiet as it can possibly be. The car has acoustic glass to reduce wind noise. There are microphones to pick up unwanted tire noise and then a canceling sound wave is played through the sound system to make the cabin quieter. And of course, there is a lot of sound insulating material used throughout the cabin of the car. All of these technologies give the car a quiet and serene interior space. The engine is a whisper, the wind is non-existent, and there’s hardly any tire noise even with the snow tires that this demo vehicle had equipped.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – In the past, the G90 could have been looked at as a very budget friendly alternative to the established brands. Now, the 2023 Genesis G90 is not as inexpensive as it once was. However, at $115,000 CAD ($98,700 USD), it is still less expensive than a similarly equipped Mercedes-Benz S500 or a BMW 740i.
Gadgets – For the 6-figure price tag, the G90 has the usual luxury features such as soft leather upholstery, heated & ventilated seats all round, a dual pane sunroof, a power operated trunk, three zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, surround view cameras, and so on.
In my opinion, it’s the more unique gadgets that are worth noting. On the outside, the door handles pop in and out as they are used. Unfortunately, sometimes they will freeze shut when the temperatures dip below freezing. It’s not a problem that is only evident on the G90 as I noticed this on the S-class as well. Inside the doors, there are small hidden compartments in the armrests for loose change. Unfortunately the G90 does not have heated armrests like other luxury sedans. But what others rarely have equipped are power closing doors. At the push of a button, the door can close all on its own. This is a cool feature to show to your friends.
Inside the car, the G90 has a 23 speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system. I’m not a connoisseur of audio systems but even I can tell that this is a good sound system. The front seats are massaging with a few different massage programs to select. There’s a fragrance system with two different fragrances to choose from. Like other Genesis vehicles, there is a fingerprint scanner to load your specific vehicle profile. Additionally the G90 has highway driving assist 2 which allows for a semi-handsfree driving aid on certain freeways and highways. The car will notify the driver to put their hands back on the steering wheel after a few minutes so do not expect this to be similar to GM’s Super Cruise system but you don’t have to hold on firmly to the steering wheel. Just lightly touching it is enough. As well, HDA 2 is smart enough to change lanes on its own. Though, you do need to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel for the maneuver to perform.
In the back seats there are vanity mirrors in the roof, power sun shades for the rear windows, warm or cool reading lights, and a small compartment in the center armrest that uses UV light to disinfect cell phones or reading glasses. Both outer seats are power operated with multiple adjustments and the seat behind the front passenger can recline for added comfort. However, the rear seats do not have a massage function like the front seats. At least, this is for the Canadian market. In the United States, they do come equipped with the same massage functions as the front seats. It’s a bit weird that we don’t get the same packaging here in Canada.
Interior Design – While most luxury cars move away from physical controls in favor of touchscreens, the Genesis G90 does things a bit differently. It has a 12.3” touchscreen to control the infotainment system but there’s also a rotary knob to control it as well. There’s a touchscreen to control certain aspects of the climate control but there are physical toggles to either side for the temperature. The G90 has a perfect blend of physical controls for the most commonly used items and touchscreen controls for others.
As for the materials and looks, the Genesis is on par with the German rivals. The leather is soft, the forged carbon trim looks phenomenal, the ambient lighting is subtle but eye-catching, and the microfiber headliner looks and feels premium. Overall, the 2023 Genesis G90 has a very nice cabin that you’d want to spend a lot of time in.
Exterior Design – The G90 has a presence that some of its rivals have lost. It is a big sedan and it looks like a luxury car even if you don’t know anything about the Genesis brand. I noticed a lot of people taking long looks at this car in amazement. I even had a chat with an owner of an older generation BMW 7-series about the G90 and he was impressed by the quality and look of this car.
Safety – As standard, the 2023 Genesis G90 is equipped with every safety feature that is available from the Genesis brand. Additionally, the G90 received a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS with Good ratings for crash tests and Superior ratings for the advanced driver and safety aids.
Warranty – Unlike the German rivals, the 2023 Genesis G90 is covered by a 5 year / 100,000 km new vehicle and powertrain warranty in Canada. In the United States, new vehicle warranty is the same at 5 years / 60,000 miles but the powertrain warranty is 10 years / 100,000 miles. Better yet, Genesis vehicles come with a valet service. So when it’s time to take the car for a service, Genesis will pick it up for you and provide a vehicle for you until your car has had its service done. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here.
Conclusion – As a luxury vehicle, the new 2023 Genesis G90 is an excellent car. The materials, the cabin quietness, and the ride are all on par with the established German brands. The Genesis marque doesn’t have the same level of prestige as a BMW or Mercedes-Benz badge but if you don’t care about that, save yourself the extra money and get this G90 instead. You will have a comfortable and exquisite car to drive… or be driven in.
Thank you to Genesis Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Genesis.com