The 2023 Genesis G90 is the latest evolution of the brand’s flagship and the latest take on the original Hyundai Genesis sedan, a car that serves as the literal genesis of Hyundai’s luxury brand.
Put simply, it’s an absolute stunner. It has a presence that many try to achieve, but few do and just looking at it is a testament to how far the car – and the brand – has come. I mean, when a dyed-in-the-wool car guy (and movie lover) like myself can’t identify your car throughout the massive chase in the DiCaprio/Nolan film Inception
, you may have a bit of an identity problem.
Well, the ’23 Genesis G90 has the tools to dispel that notion. The spidery 21-inch rims, the dual headlights, and matching side grilles, the massive front grille and the almost Kamm-back tail are all perfectly proportioned. Not to mention that at over 17 feet long and stretching six feet wide, the footprint alone is enough to stop you in your tracks. I was surprised, however, that upon closer inspection it appeared the taillight lens didn’t fully align with the light bar on the trunk lid. A strange oversight for an otherwise very well-designed car.
Stepping inside reveals that quality is far more than skin deep; the materials used are absolutely exquisite. The metallicized buttons on the dash, on the trim around the gear select dial (which gets a real glass insert) and the leather gracing most every surface you can imagine make for a first-class cabin. The interior lighting did well to match the bright lights of Ocean Drive during the car’s launch in Miami, FL last year and the dual digital displays for your gauges and infotainment are hi-def sharp.
Speaking of “hi-def” sharp; the G90 comes in only one trim in Canada – Prestige – and there aren’t any upgrade packages. Heck, there aren’t even any accessories to add past rear seat coat hangars, a special air filter for the cabin and a few other bits and bobs. That means all the good stuff comes as standard: spectacular 23-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio that didn’t suffer from the volume issues I often encounter when driving Hyundais and Kias; heads-up display; 8” armrest rear touch display; massaging front seats; rear/side window sunshades; every electronic driver aid you can imagine and a heck of a lot more.
The rear seat reclines and has a footrest and there’s a chauffeur drive mode to prevent the driver – or should we say “your driver” – from being overly generous with throttle. Forget imagining a first-class cabin; this puts many of those to shame. Chauffeur mode also adjusts steering inputs and reduces the effects of the rear-wheel steering, which rear seat passengers can find a little off-putting—proof positive that Genesis understands that you can drape all the fine cowhide you want throughout a cabin, but it’s all for naught if you don’t back it up with the dynamics and ride quality to match. Oh, and said rear passengers can open the massive doors – remember; this car is seventeen
feet long – with the press of a button. Which is nice. There are no massaging seats in the back, however, which is somewhat disappointing.
The front doors open the same way, and they won’t go all the way if they sense there’s something blocking their path. They do take some getting used to, however, especially when it comes to closing them on your way out. You can press the button to do so, but make sure you jump quickly out of the way before the door clips you with the pointy corner of its window. You can of course close them the traditional way by, you know, pushing the door closed
, but since they’ve been engineered to “help” you along during the arduous task of using your muscles, those motors override your ability to simply thrust them shut as you depart. In the end, I preferred the “new” way of just hitting that button and performing an Elaine Benes dance move to get out of the way.
The last bugaboos I have with the G90’s interior surround the tech; there is no wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (even though wireless charging comes as standard), nor is there a digital rear-view mirror. Of course, while wireless smartphone mirroring apps are becoming more and more mainstream today – making their absence here that much more surprising – digital rear-view mirrors still occupy some pretty rare air. Having said that: this seems the perfect application for this car, especially if chauffeur driven because it provides a better view out and more privacy. For the majority that aren’t going to have a chauffeur, it’s just nice to be able to look back there and have nothing obstruct your vision, a de-stressor that fits well with the rest of the G90 motif.
Of course, in addition to all those interior niceties, you need the power and handling, too. While the older model’s V8 is gone, the twin-turbo V6 that now sits underhood makes a hearty 409 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque and gets an added boost with an electric supercharger for a better launch as well as less of a power interruption when shifting gears. The eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, meanwhile jives well with the motor which has it feeling even faster than the numbers suggest, but with the smoothness required to match the chassis dynamics.
Ahh, the chassis dynamics. These are number one with a bullet in my book when it comes to the G90’s drive experience. It starts with the ride, which is perfectly enhanced and balanced by the standard fitment of a four-corner multi-chambered air suspension. Bumps both small and big, singular or repetitive are swallowed up by the Genesis G90, with only the XL rolling stock causing a few jitters here and there. Otherwise, it’s just a serene, comfortable, predictable drive – that, in no false terms, rides on air. It’s right up there with the best in the full-size luxury sedan and SUV segments.
Then, when it comes time to start threading the corners, the G90 feels a little like it shrinks around you thanks to a direct steering rack and of course, the aforementioned rear-wheel steering. What that does is rotate the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts as you slither slowly through town and into parking spots and then in the same direction as the fronts when changing lanes at highway speeds. That last aspect is fine, but it’s more the low-speed benefits it provides because this is a car that will spend 95 per cent of its time in the city.
And it feels absolutely, 100 per cent luxuriously tailor-made to do just that.
2023 Genesis G90
four-door full-size sedan
front-engine, all-wheel drive
3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 with electric supercharger, 409 hp, 405 lb-ft of torque
FUEL ECONOMY CITY/HIGHWAY/COMBINED:
13.6/9.6/11.8 L/100 KM
454 kg (1,000 lbs.)
WEBSITE: Genesis G90