First Drive: 2017 Genesis G90

Driving on the streets of Vancouver before heading out of the city on an impressive 440 km trek to Vernon via the Coquihalla Highway, it is impossible not to notice the expensive machinery passing on the opposite side of the road. It’s a who’s who list of exotic automobiles; Ferrari 458, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Lamborghini Aventador Coupe and Roadster and not one, but two McLaren P1 sports cars cruise by with little fanfare. Oh and the Viper and ten-fold new Corvettes. My neck is kinked from excess twisting and turning.

This fact there are so many exotic cars in one location is not lost on the cleaning team as I arrive at Sparkling Hill Resort later in the day. They talk in hushed tones of frequent supercar sightings; all the while wiping down our bug splattered test vehicles. B.C. has money; lots of money. Seems like the perfect location to launch the new Genesis brand by Hyundai and in particular the luxurious 2017 Genesis G90.

Starting now, Genesis is no longer a specific model range within the Hyundai brand of vehicles. In fact, Equus is also no longer part of the plan as Genesis becomes a brand unto itself. Think of it as the South Korean automakers head-first dive into the pool of luxury automobiles currently awash with names like Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Jaguar among others. Welcome to the deep end Genesis.

Power comes two ways for the 2017 Genesis G90. First is a commanding 5.0-litre V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm with premium unleaded fuel. Second, and what is expected by most to be the top choice, G90 features a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged DOHC Direct Gasoline Injection (DGI) V6 engine. It delivers a superb 365 horsepower at 6,000 and 376 lb-ft of torque at 1,300-4,500 rpm.

Matched to an 8-speed electronic automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC technology and steering-wheel mounted paddle-shifters, acceleration with both engines is silky smooth and refined. I spend the majority of my time behind the wheel of the 3.3L, enjoying ever second as we drive through the lower latitudes of B.C., shadowing the 49th Parallel dividing Canada and the U.S.

Full-time AWD makes short work of the various construction zones we pass on the Coquihalla Highway and the odd off-road adventure to get that perfect beauty shot for exhausted. High-strength steel is used throughout construction of the Unibody providing the superstructure with an incredibly solid platform.

Front and rear 5-link independent suspension with coil springs, gas-charged dampers and Continuous Damping Control delivers exceptional on-road appeal in every situation. Riding on 19” P245/45R19 front and P275/45R19 rear all-season tires, there is very little squeal or complaint from below as I cut through a series of high-speed S-bends with athletic aplomb.

Exterior design cues are many for the new Genesis G90. Personally, I see a strong Jaguar presence in the rear taillight design, plus Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the side profile. While it is obvious there has been a significant contribution made by the aforementioned luxury automakers, it is equally apparent Genesis is taking a new direction with their design language and a bold step forward with brand appeal. Details such as aerodynamic side mirrors, push-button door handle access for all and elegant alloy wheels are just some of the features that push G90 to the top.

Inside, the drive is as silent and stately as the current Jaguar XJL. High praise for Genesis, I am almost tempted to say the G90 offers a superior overall interior experience than the aforementioned British benchmark. Seat stitching is colour matched for added appeal and it really works. The front seats are power, of course, with class-leading 22-way driver and 16-way passenger seat adjustment.

From the driver’s position, a 4-spoke steering wheel houses audio and cruise control buttons and rotating knobs. A classic analogue clock rests in the center dash; right below resides the HVAC and audio controls in two distinct rows. Genesis has designed much of the dash to be just as easy to use during the day or night.

Rear seat passengers are equally pampered, with legroom, head and shoulder room all setting the standard for comfort. A fold-down center armrest offers adjustment for the HVAC system, seat adjustment and heating as well as the audio system. Real wood and butter smooth leather surfaces make this a superior driving environment for all occupants.

The 2017 Genesis G90 has the potential to succeed in the crowded luxury sedan market in the same way that Hyundai has grown from the original Pony to now selling the Sonata, Santa Fe and much more. The story of launching a new brand in just 9 months is a tale Genesis executives would have us believe, but the fact it had a running start with the former Genesis model range, as well as Equus, is the truth on which this “new” luxury automotive brand is constructed. Celebrating past success should allow Hyundai to build something greater, especially as the model range expands to include a new coupe, more sedans and CUV’s. The time for Genesis is now and it starts with the 2017 G90.

2017 Genesis G90 3.3T
Price as tested (before taxes): TBD
Freight: $84,000.00 (G90 5.0L- $87,000.00)
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.3L 6-cylinder/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 365 hp/ 376 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): regular (82.9L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): city: 13.7, hwy: 9.7 L/100 Km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.7 L/100 km (1,500 km)
Warranties: 5-years/100,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Cadillac XTS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Infiniti Q70L, Lexus LS

Related links:
Genesis Canada
The Globe and Mail

Translate »