Our Rides: Your Next Flagship Sedan
In the automotive business, the flagship is the showcase of the latest engineering, technology, design, and execution. It becomes the barometer for all vehicles in its class and across the industry.
How does a vehicle fulfill its status? Will it fulfill the benchmarks it has set for itself and the automotive marketplace?
Back in 2014, we reviewed the predecessor to the vehicle you are about to read on. The Hyundai Equus was introduced to our market as their flagship. Some may have pointed out that the brand name might not be as prestigious to be considered worthy of its role in the market, especially when compared to other vehicles in its class. However, the point was made – the automobile manufacturers in the Republic of Korea can produce equally luxurious flagship sedans on par – or close to it – with other prestigious brands worldwide.
Eight years later, we’re on the third generation of this automobile. No longer does it wear the Hyundai brand. Rather, it is called a Genesis – the luxury brand of the same automotive corporate entity. Hence, we have the 2023 G90 flagship sedan.
Before we received our Verbier White Matte painted example, we went through a ton of reviews from other publications. They were singing the praises of the new G90, equating it with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce. The latter may sound like a stretch, but it is something we wanted to explore.
Think about this: A new Rolls-Royce Ghost starts from $442,700. How could a Genesis G90 equal a car that is well over four times its price?
Instead of measuring the G90 against a loftier rival, we should evaluate it on its own merits.
For starters, the G90 takes the best design elements seen across the brand. The “superman” shield wears a cross-mesh design that dominates the front clip. It is flanked by the dual horizontal LED headlamp units that have also become a Genesis signature.
The dual horizontal lighting theme continues along the front fenders onward to the rear end. There is a twist, as the upper horizontal taillights are larger than the ones below. The roofline is what we would call a formal fastback look. There is a third pane of glass on the C-pillar, giving it a more limousine profile overall.
In our top-of-the-line E-Supercharged model, a set of 21-inch geometric design alloy wheels finish up the look of this flagship sedan. Let’s just say this is an absolutely stunning automobile on the outside.
The G90 experience does not stop on the outside. All you have to do is step inside. Click on the key fob for the door handles to pop out. Then, step inside and apply the brake pedal. The driver’s door simply closes by itself. To open up the door, there is no button to depress. Even if you did not close any of four doors fully, they will close by themselves.
To offset the Verbier White Matte paint, our tester spoiled us with a Bordeaux Brown interior that is simply a treat for the eye. It just looks bespoke. It also feels that way, too. The perforated Nappa leather is mixed with quilted elements on the seats, added with matching carpets and floor mats.
The seat bolsters can be adjusted according to the drive mode you put the G90 in. Sport mode firms up the bolsters for complete support. Eco mode offers the opposite effect. Nonetheless, the seats are a treat unto themselves and will induce a relaxing drive.
The rear seats offer power adjustments for a truly limousine experience. If you operate the power window switches, the shades will also open or close to your command. You also get controls for the audio and the climate on the center armrest.
Don’t think this is just a sedan to be driven in. The driver has plenty of controls that are equally bespoke. The rotary dial for the transmission sits next to the controller for the infotainment system. Every button and control are perfectly weighted and logical to operate.
The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is customizable with various bits of information. The main screen is beautiful, giving you a horizon with the dial for the speedometer and tachometer on the left. They also house the blind spot monitors that correspond to the turn signal.
The center 12.3-inch infotainment screen houses many functions from audio to navigation to vehicle settings. It also serves as a very clear 360-degree monitor that helps in parking maneuvers. Bang & Olufsen offers a total of 1,700 watts of 3D surround sound through 23 speakers. However, smartphone mirroring is done through a USB-C connection in the center console storage. You do get wireless charging for your devices, however.
Powering our tester is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine with an added E-Supercharger. This is an additional source of boosted performance running off of a 48-volt electrical system. All told, this engine puts down 409 horsepower with 405 pound-feet of torque. To round out this driveline, Genesis adds an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels.
As far as fuel consumption is concerned, we averaged 22.3 MPG in this G90. Please make sure you fill it up with the required Premium Unleaded fuel.
The driving experience is solid and smooth. You do feel a bit of roll in some instances, but careful driving will let the G90 show you how well it manages all surfaces and conditions. For either a driver or passenger, this sedan is a lovely place to be.
The steering effort is on the soft side. You can still do tight maneuvers, but the feel is very artificial. Then again, you expect an effortless driving experience for a vehicle of its caliber. Braking-wise, it does a good job stopping in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel falls on the “effortless” side.
There are only two choices available on the G90. You can go with a standard twin turbocharged V6 from $88,400. That will reduce your power band and offer you a set of 20-inch wheels. Not much of a downgrade, mind you. Or, you can add the E-Supercharger, starting at $98,700. Our Verbier White Matte example came with a sticker price of $101,295.
Going back to the original question of whether the 2023 Genesis G90 is an equal to a Rolls-Royce – it is not. It’s closer to that benchmark than you think. There are some things the Genesis does well, however the advantage the G90 has is that you can feel the car. A Rolls-Royce is supposed to shelter you from the world. The G90 can do that, but it has a pulse to go along with its driving experience.
We will say that it does rival the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It might not offer all of the advanced safety technology the German flagship has to offer, but the driving experience alone is on par with it.
In all, this points out how Genesis has evolved into a serious competitor in the luxury automobile market. It is producing vehicles that are distinctive, elegant, and competitive in that segment. The 2023 G90 is indeed a barometer of where the brand is going. It is exactly the kind of flagship sedan worth aspiring for.