Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Hyundai Genesis G90
The formal and understated exterior reminds a bit of a Bentley by featuring a stately roofline; the elegantly designed interior has room and features to spare.
The Genesis is a new luxury brand from Hyundai Motors and the G90 is the initial model to sport the new nameplate. There was a luxury Genesis car in the Hyundai lineup and with the development of the Genesis as a new brand the older model has also been re-branded as the Genesis G80.
I took a long drive during a presentation of the new brand in Canada’s Okanagan Valley in a car featuring the more powerful of the two current engine models; the one with the 5.0 liter V8 engine, rated at 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The standard engine is a 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged V6, rated at 365 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque.
The G90 features Eco, Smart, and Sport drive modes that automatically adjust steering, stability control, engine and transmission response, and adaptive suspension settings to a driver’s preferences and road conditions. If those automated changes don’t feel right, the drivers can make their 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 engineered with high-strength steel to increase body stiffness (Hyundai claims 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.
Both engines pair with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. The G90 offers rear-wheel drive as standard, but all-wheel drive is optional with either engine; this rear-biased all-wheel-drive system can send up to 40 percent of power to the front wheels in low traction situations, and up to 90 percent to the rear wheels in Sport mode.
The sunroof was good sized and well positioned. Leather, wood, and high-quality craftsmanship govern the G90 interior, which goes to great lengths to ensure comfort and exceptional quiet. The seats are wrapped in beautiful hand-stitched leather. All of the seating materials are of the highest-quality, and everything is soft to the touch. The driver’s seat is adjustable in 22 positions, the passenger seat in 16, and both have memory settings, heating, and ventilation. The V-8 sedans also have multi-adjustable back seats (12-way for the left seat, 14-way for the right seat) and ventilation, as well as four-way adjustable headrests.
As I mentioned, the interior is exceptionally quiet due 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 wood-trim dash is a 12.3-inch screen that controls the system’s information as well as offering HD navigation and selectable front/rear or surround viewing. The controls are easy to find and intuitive to use, including a controller knob. There’s a cellphone charging pad and connection to the audio system, tri-zone climate control, ambient lighting, a hands-free power trunklid, power sunshades for the rear windows, 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 controllable from the rear-seat console. It is also interesting to note that through an app, the car can be remotely locked or unlocked, started or turned off or started with climate control using voice commands through Amazone’s Echo and Alexa enabled devices. Additionally, if the car is stolen, there is Vehicle Recovery/Slowdown/Immobilization control through the Genesis Connected Car Services that will assist the owner and police in recovering the vehicle.
Most impressive are the features allowing the car to become self-driven as soon as the autonomous driving technology is fully mature. At this point there are operational blind-spot monitors, forward-collision alert with automatic braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and surround-view cameras. In our car there was also a heads-up display for the driver, projecting information on the windshield in front of the steering wheel, which I’m not sure whether it will be optional or a standard feature.
Pricing was not discussed during our drive but I think it will be a bit lower than the German and American cars the G90 is positioned to compete with. This car is certainly a step up for Hyundai and it can be very favorably compared to top level luxury sedans currently available in the US market. Hyundai is entering the world of premium cars with style and an exceptional product.
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