The full-size luxury sedan segment has long been a competitive spot in the automotive industry and ruled by the likings of Mercedes-Benz and their coveted S Class. While the S Class has had its limelight and continues to carry the torch for the mainstream full-size luxury sedan class, there are a plethora of other vehicles that are worthy of praise and a close look mostly due to their lower price point. One particular vehicle that has garnered the proper attention as of late is the new Genesis G90, newly designed for the 2020 model year and poised to undercut the full-size juggernauts in the pricing arena.
The Genesis brand, since its conception in 2017, has birthed new entries into the luxury market to shake things up but mostly on their own terms. The Genesis G90, alongside its smaller G80 and G70 sedan siblings, is steadily gaining momentum in more ways than one from their surprising drivetrains to the luxury appointments that they provide without the expected high cost. Being the flagship of the brand, the G90 is doing things a bit different from the rest of the luxury crowd and I, along with many others, are taking notice.
The new 2020 Genesis G90 exhibits a welcomed theme, a stately classiness. That classiness is instilled through its unique design that doesn’t exactly copy or chase its competition. In a way, the G90 does luxury on its own terms, and it pays off well.
Powered by the brand’s welcomed 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, the G90 Premium trim is a well-performing force out on the road. Having the option of the 5.0-liter V8 engine in the Ultimate trim with 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque adds a different method of transmitting power from a stop eliminating the lag that you otherwise get from the twin-turbo V6 engine. The Premium and Ultimate trims are all that’s available on the G90, which are not all that different in terms of sheer performance numbers being that the V8 Ultimate trim is slightly heavier than the 3.3T Premium. Though, either choice, you can opt for an all-wheel-drive system in place of the standard rear-wheel-drive configuration. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that has a decent direct feel but smooth shifts. Fuel consumption is mostly consistent and matches the EPA numbers of 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined for my rear-wheel-drive 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 G90 test vehicle. The G90 V8 only reduces those numbers by 1 mpg in each category.
In driving the new G90 Premium with its twin-turbo V6 engine and rear-wheel-drive, there’s a delicate approach in how the vehicle performs. For the most part, power is substantial and doesn’t have you wanting more. The only issue I find is the slight bit of turbo lag that you get from a standstill, which is only noticeable when you demand half to full throttle. Here, if you are all concerned about such a minor detail, the V8 Ultimate trim may suffice to fix such a thing by giving you instantaneous power from the naturally-aspirated engine. Otherwise, the G90 provides a smooth, quiet, and mostly isolated ride quality. The adaptive dampers do well to keep the body composed even though it may initially feel like it is about to become floaty after going over undulations or rises in the road. You can actually feel the dampers making adjustments to keep things in check, all without sacrificing the supple smoothness of the ride.
On the outside, the new G90 has a unique design that cannot be mistaken for anything else, no matter which angle you take a glance. From its unique 19-inch multi-spoke aluminum wheels to the massive front grille, the G90 has many attention-getting details that exude a luxury appeal. The LED side markers, along with the front and rear LED lights, all fit a unique design aesthetic that comes off quite appealing to most.
Inside of the new G90, the cabin is well thought out with plenty of amenities to appease luxury buyers. Though, in the Premium trim, there are a few areas that seem to take the G90 down-market for a full-size luxury sedan, such as lacking ventilated rear seats or the omission of an ottoman and massaging seats. The only addition here for the top-level Ultimate trim is having ventilated rear seats – you simply cannot get seat massaging or an ottoman in any seat, even though there’s more than enough leg room and power-adjustable rear seats in the Ultimate trim.
Where the G90 does shine, is having its feature groups bundled within the two defined trim levels. There really aren’t any options per se for the G90, all you have to select when configuring such a vehicle are the two trim levels, color choices, and if you want the $2,500 all-wheel-drive system. Of course, bundled up with both trim levels are a plethora of desirable features and luxury amenities, such as heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, 22-way power driver’s seat and 16-way passenger seat, 3-zone automatic climate control, color heads-up display, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen system with integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, configurable color ambient LED interior lighting, power soft-close doors, and a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system. The blanket of safety features all come into play as well for either trim giving you smart cruise control, lane keep assist and lane follow, 360-degree surround-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitors that display in the heads-up display, and a trick blind spot view monitor that displays a live video feed in the dashboard’s 7-inch color LCD screen of your blind spot upon activating your turn signal.
The bottom line of the G90 comes to its price point, which starts at just above $72,000. As tested, which includes the freight and handling charge, the G90 RWD 3.3T Premium comes to $73,195, which well undercuts its competition. Even moving to the top-level V8 Ultimate trim with all-wheel-drive, the G90 tops out at $79,225, still an undercutting value for a well-built full-size luxury sedan. To add to the value perspective is the 5-year,60K mile basic/10-year 100K mile powertrain warranty, in addition to 3 years or 36,000 miles of the complimentary scheduled maintenance and Genesis service valet for that provides a loaner vehicle dropped off to you while your Genesis gets picked up – you never have to step foot into a dealership for service.