Engine – Under the long hood of the G90 is a 5.0L V8 that produces 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. You can opt for the 3.3L twin-turbo V6 that’s in the G70 but that engine is available only by a special factory order. Genesis is fairly confident that most customers will want the V8 and I’m with them, I’d prefer the V8 over the V6 any day. This V8 produces enough power low down in the rpm range that you never have to rev it in daily driving situations. But if you do want to rev it, it is responsive and pulls the 2+ tonne G90 with ease. It’s also buttery smooth so at times you could mistake the G90 for being an electric car or a hybrid. This is most useful when cruising on a highway at approximately 110 km/h where the engine feels as though it’s not trying at all.
But with this much power and this much weight come expensive fuel bills. During my time with the G90, I drove it for about 320 km in total and of that, it was about 70% highway. My average fuel economy figure was 13.5 L/100km (17.4 mpg) which is not too bad. But this engine requires Premium fuel and at the time of writing this article, fuel prices in the Vancouver area were $1.82/L for premium. So my fuel bill for those 320 km, which was just over half a tank, was roughly $107 CAD. So if you plan to drive the Genesis G90 in mostly city traffic, expect to pay a lot more at the pumps.
Transmission – A smooth and quick shifting 8-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the 5.0L V8 engine. Leave it in D and it will never miss a beat and is as reliable as a butler. Take control of it via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and it feels like a very old butler is serving you. In other words, it is slow to react to pulls of the paddles.
Braking – Due to the unique design of the wheels, it’s extremely difficult to see the brakes but they work well to bring the big sedan to a stop. There is a bit of pedal travel under more heavy/emergency braking applications but you’ll hit the ABS long before you hit the bottom of the brake pedal. Automatic emergency braking is a standard feature on the Genesis G90.
Handling – If you think that the G90 is a large sports sedan, you may want to take a look at the Genesis G70 instead. The G90 is first and foremost a luxury yacht on wheels. In Canada, it is only available with H-Trac AWD so it has plenty of grip when the road conditions become less than ideal. Steering weight is on the light side which makes it good for maneuvering around city streets but not so much on twisty mountain roads.
Ride Comfort – As I said before, this is a land yacht and as such, potholes and road imperfections are completely ironed out by the suspension. The G90 is equipped with adaptive suspension that changes stiffness depending on the drive mode. Even in Sport mode, the suspension is not firm enough to disturb you or your occupants everytime the car goes over a pothole.
The seats are just as important to comfort in a car of this type. While the G90 doesn’t have the infinitely adjustable seats of the Lincoln Continnental, the front and rear seats have plenty of adjustments for any person. The front driver’s seat can also position itself to the best driving position for your specific body type… at least in theory. I entered my height, weight, and inseam and the seat positioned itself according to my specific body type. But I found that it was way too far back from the steering wheel and other auto journalists with different body types found the same issue.
Although this feature is not really necessary in the back, passengers can stretch out as the rear seats are more like lounge chairs. The rear seats are also heated and ventilated for the utmost comfort. However the North American version of the G90 doesn’t get the massaging seats of the Korean version of the G90. That’s a bit annoying.
Interior Space – This being the flagship sedan for the brand, it is the largest in the lineup. Front occupants are spoiled for space as are the rear occupants. As mentioned, the rear occupants can stretch the rear seats but if you’re sitting behind the front passenger seat, you’re in for a treat. At the push of a button, the front seat can move forward and create more space in the back. There’s so much space that someone that’s around 6 feet tall can almost fully stretch their legs.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – At times you forget that the G90 is powered by a 5.0L V8 engine. The cabin is superbly insulated from wind, road, and engine noise. While the V8 is not considered the smoothest engine out there, this one does not translate its vibrations through the chassis and into the cabin. Being inside the G90 is a serene and comfortable place to be.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – To my surprise, the gadgets list is not all that long with the Genesis G90. Yes, it has the usual safety and technology features you’d expect such as emergency automatic braking, lane keeping aid, and one of the best adaptive cruise control systems on the market right now.
But it’s not cluttered with gadgets that would require a rocket scientist to figure out. In fact the most complicated feature is the automatic seat adjustment. But even that is not too difficult to understand and use. Everything in the G90 just works as it was designed to. Having said that though, it is missing massaging seats.
Exterior Design – Everyone’s idea of beauty is different. The way something looks is not something that you can measure scientifically. Which is why I’m probably in the minority when I say that the Genesis G90 is not a particularly good looking car. I’ve never been a fan of the light bar across the back of cars, I don’t like the wheels, and the front grille looks “gawping” as James May of The Grand Tour would say. That said, even I will admit that it definitely pulls off the luxury sedan look. But I just don’t find it beautiful.
Interior Design – While the exterior is polarizing to some, the interior is a bit bland in my opinion. Everything is well laid out and everything is where you’d expect it to be. But the design and esthetics don’t make me go “Wow!” like they do in a Mercedes E-class for example. Again, these are just my opinions and it’s ok for you to disagree with me.
In all the 2020 Genesis G90 is a great luxury sedan that starts at just under $90,000 CAD ($72,200 USD). It does exactly what one would expect a luxury sedan to do. Deliver the utmost comfort and luxury. But the question is do you buy this or do you stick to the staple of luxury sedans? As in, do you go for the big German 3 over this G90? Well, similarly equipped Audi, BMW, and Mercedes equivalents cost more than the G90 and if letting people know that you have money is important to you, then one of those would be better. But if you just want to drive or be driven in comfort, the Genesis G90 is the best alternative.