Christopher Little

Ambassador: 2018 Genesis G90 Premium

What is a luxury brand without it’s flagship? While sedan sales may be on the decline, the presence of luxury SUVs and crossovers has yet to negatively impact the luxury full-size sedan. Be it personal, corporate, or ambassadorial transport, it doesn’t seem like buyers are quite ready to trade their S for a GLS or their CT6 for an Escalade. Genesis, America’s newest luxury brand, has had its flagship G90 since the company’s inception in 2017. Automotive genealogists have linked the G90’s origins to the Hyundai Equus, but the new brand brought an entirely new car to the table. Originally available only with the 5.0L V8 debuted with the G80, the G90 can now be optioned with the G80 Sport’s 3.3T.

2018 Genesis G90 2

The most striking aspect of the G90 is just how long it is. The wheelbase extends for an eternity, which makes a walk to the trunk and back count as measurable exercise. The design, and even the greenhouse itself, is somewhat blockier than a comparable sedan like the S-Class. That makes the G90’s rear doors appear enormous. But that smooth, blocky styling also makes this Genesis feel a bit generic. The G90 could pass as the “big luxury car” straight out of the next Grand Theft Auto game. Perhaps its the sheer size, because I don’t feel the G80 or the all new G70 have that problem.

2018 Genesis G90 6

Inside, the Genesis is a plush oasis. The quality and attention to detail are notable throughout the space. High grade leather, wood trim, and soft touch materials fit together as perfectly as you would expect. Dual-pane glass and acoustic insulation shut out the outside world. Almost everything comes standard in the Genesis, so even this “entry level” RWD 3.3T Premium model includes a Lexicon 17-speaker audio system, 12.3″ infotainment display with navigation, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, wireless charging pad, and a heads-up display. From a safety perspective, adaptive cruse control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitors, driver attention alert, and automatic emergency braking are included as well. At the end of the day, you’re sitting in a luxury sedan that costs 60% less than it’s Mercedes S450 4MATIC competitor and you don’t feel like you’ve given up 40% of the experience.

The Genesis is propelled by a 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6. Our tester sent all its power to the rear wheels, but H-TRAC AWD is available on V6 and V8 models. With 365 hp, the motor is no slouch, but it’s the smoothness and availability of the 376 lb-ft torque that really makes a difference. There’s no getting around the fact of the G90’s size, but the 3.3T and eight-speed automatic transmission work well together to move the big sedan along with ease. Independent electronic damping suspension does an excellent job of softening the ride. Engine, transmission, suspension, and steering settings can be controlled via drive mode settings. We found the adaptive Smart setting to be best fitting the G90’s demeanor. It lived up to its name, switching smartly and quickly to the mode best suited for the moment.

2018 Genesis G90 8

Whether you’re dropping an ambassador off at the embassy or bringing the CEO to the helipad, the Genesis G90 is ready for action. And if your life is a little less formal, you’ll have room for your golfing buddies and their bags without issue. If you’re not concerned with repping an established brand, or if you’d rather not pay the markup, the Genesis G90 is just the flagship for you. With all the comfort, technology, and sophistication required to play with the big boys, Genesis does it for a lot less. Just don’t expect to be noticed.

-Christopher Little

2018 Genesis G90 RWD 3.3T Premium
Destination Charges $975
As Tested MSRP $69,325

Related: 2018 Genesis G80 Sport

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