Luxury Flagship Comparison – 2nd Place – 2018 Genesis G90 3.3T – By Carl Malek



Genesis has certainly hit its stride over the past few years. Models like the G80 (a rebadged Hyundai Genesis) as well as the recently unveiled G70 sport sedan have helped the young luxury brand ascend to new heights since it was first introduced to the world in 2015. This surprising emergence, as well as the G90's ambitions to topple luxury flagship benchmarks, helped it earn an invitation to our Luxury Flagship Comparison challenge to see if it could measure up to its two rivals the 2018 Lexus LS 500, and the Cadillac CT6.

The exterior styling of our tester still has the bold presence that has endeared it in the hearts of many new luxury car buyers, with a purposeful front fascia that incorporates aggressive undertones, with a front grille that is elegantly handsome.

This look is a step ahead of the Cadillac, but the G90's mug falls short of the Lexus and its spindle grille fueled charms. The side profile is more on the subdued side, and it transitions nicely into the rear fascia. Here the G90 gets some points for its no frills design, which is a notch above the Arts & Science themed tail lights of the Cadillac, as well as the LS's controversial rear fascia. But with the CT6 receiving a bolder suit of clothes for the 2019 model year, we hope that Genesis designers can find a way to add more aggression to the G90 without ruining many of the good things we already like about it.

The interior of our tester continues to win us over with its handsome appointments, and its attention to detail. Unlike the Lexus and the Cadillac, Genesis did not try to reinvent the wheel when it came to controlling its impressive infotainment system, and instead, utilizes a traditional and much appreciated control wheel (the only one of the three equipped with such a feature.)

This allowed the G90's infotainment system to rise above its two opponents, and the lack of touch capability in the screen is a fair trade off for better usability. High levels of standard equipment are abundant, especially in the rear seat which transforms the G90 into a potent pocket limousine.

The front seats will not wow occupants with their woeful bolstering, but they are very comfortable, and encourage passengers to kick back and relax as the miles melt away. Overall, the presentation here is very upscale, but a few of the Hyundai derived buttons do exude a faint whiff of cheapness.

Unlike the Lexus, our tester featured a more comprehensive satellite control system that allowed rear occupants to control more functions including the radio, the climate controls, and other goodies. This helped enhance rear comfort, and gave Emily a roomy place to evaluate the 17-speaker Lexicon 7.1 surround sound system.

While she praised the system's ability to deliver a richer more life-like experience, Emily did note moments where certain notes didn't sound quite right, especially with certain types of music. A minor blemish, but the cool looking speaker grilles do add some visual appeal to the system, and makes the Lexicon unit stand out from others in its class.

With the G90 producing a solid performance in interior quality, luxury, and audiophile bliss, its a pity that ultimately, its performance hardware kept it from snatching first place from the Cadillac. This is no fault of the 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that lurked under the hood of our tester. While the 365 horsepower it produces is behind the 416 horses produced by the Lexus, and the 404 wielded by the CT6, it still proved to be a very entertaining engine that delivered high levels of poise and driving fun. There is a brief bit of turbo lag, but once the turbos have a chance to wake up, the G90 enters its element as a straight line bruiser.

Rather, our disdain lies with the suspension as well as the steering effort. Genesis aimed to deliver maximum comfort to buyers with the G90, and while the cloud like ride quality helps isolate occupants from pockmarked roads and the various bumps associated with the daily commute, this enhanced serenity also throws the driver into solitary confinement in regards to road and steering feel. The steering is creamy smooth, yet it is also devoid of road feel, and truly doesn't deliver the strong sense of control that often comes baked into other flagship luxury offerings. The G90 doesn't wallow its way through corners, but Genesis engineers need to add more spice into its steering manners before the G90 can truly dogfight established German entries on twistier sections of tarmac.

 

Pricing for the G90 (as mentioned in our prior encounters with this sleek four door) is the equivalent of dropping a smart bomb into the segment, and arguably a category that it owns outright. Base price for the 2018 Genesis G90 starts at $68,350 for a rear-wheel drive model. Our all-wheel drive equipped Himalayan Grey tester had a slightly higher base price of $70,850 with the $995 destination fee pushing it up to a slightly higher final price of $71,845. This simple approach to pricing should please some luxury car buyers, and it also boosts the G90's long term value at the same time.

It also prevents the G90 from offering the more exotic equipment wielded by rivals, but in an era where complex electronics and gimmickry have become the new normal in the luxury car segment, the G90's emphasis on simplicity and offering high feature content for the money is a nice refreshing blast of fresh air into this still important vehicle segment.

About The Author

Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his three pets.