Our contemporaries in the automotive press have praised the Genesis G90, and we feel compelled to join them in that cadence. The G90 is a simple recipe: one part new technology, one part old school motorcar. Put in the oven (assembly plant) and bake. Let cool at a lower MSRP than the rest of the market.
Safety & Tech Features
Dull Exterior Styling
Hard Interior Surfaces
The 2020 Genesis G90 reminds me of my father’s 1979 Ford Thunderbird. I have loved big cars with long hoods ever since, and the G90 pulls my heartstrings in that regard. Despite my fond memories, should you buy the 2020 Genesis G90 if you desire a large luxury car? Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz are already established in this area, and Genesis is a bit of a newcomer. If you’re going to spend this kind of money, why sign the paperwork on a new G90?
Recently, we spent a week with the 2020 Genesis G90. Here is what we found on our test drive.
Genesis G90: What’s New For 2020?
The G90 receives an exterior styling update and an expanded package of advanced safety features. Genesis keeps things simple by offering just two trim levels: Premium with a 3.3-liter turbo V6 and the Ultimate with a 5.0-liter V8.
Our 2020 Genesis G90 Press Vehicle
We set up shop in a G90 Premium for the week and enjoyed an array of standard features. The Advanced Safety Technology package comes with 10 airbags, including driver and passenger knee airbags, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and safe exit assist, among other features.
The Comfort & Convenience package gave us LED daytime running lights, push-button start, heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, three-zone climate control with a CO2 sensor, adaptive cruise control, and a heads-ups display. This package also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, front and rear USB ports, a sunroof, rear window shades, ambient lights, and a first aid kit.
My favorite feature in this package is the Lexicon 17-speaker stereo with Quantum Logic Surround and Clari-Fi technology. During our Saturday afternoon cruise, I turned up the jazz on Watercolors (Sirius XM 66). This system brings out the bass and guitar notes and caters well to saxophones and trumpets. It’s a primo, grade A stereo in my book.
What Does The 2020 Genesis G90 Cost?
Our G90 press vehicle didn’t have any added or optional features. The base price was $72,200, with another $995 for freight and handling. Total MSRP: $73,195.
The starting price of $72,200 is a big win here for Genesis, considering the competition. For example, the Mercedes-Benz S-class starts at $91,250. The Audi A8 begins at $85,200, while the BMW 7-Series starts at $86,800. The Lexus LS is the closest to the G90, starting at $75,450.
Pricing Considerations: G90 vs. Competitors
The pushback is how these long-established luxury namesakes, especially BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have earned their stripes. The Genesis wings don’t carry the same weight as say the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz, hence why these automakers can command more money. For some, having a true blue luxury car like a BWM or Mercedes-Benz is irreplaceable. Name brands matter and cars are no different than a pair of shoes, a purse, or a suit and tie.
On the other side of the coin, the G90 is more than just a “generic brand” luxury car. To see it as such is a mistake. True, Genesis doesn’t have the legacy behind it like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but considering the G90’s starting MSRP, its relative newness to the market, and how solid of a car it is overall, the brand can be commended. The G90 makes quite a splash in a pool where these other large luxury sedans once had the sun to themselves.
Interior Highlights: Initial Impressions
The Genesis G90 is a remarkably comfortable car, and my critiques here could easily be dismissed as nitpicks (and you won’t offend me for doing so). I think the G90 has too many sterile and brittle surfaces, and the wood trim looks fake. At first glance, things appear soft, but when I ran my hands around, it’s a lot of harder surfaces in disguise.
The central display, a 12.3-inch HD unit with navigation, can be controlled by a dial on the center console near the gear shifter. With your fingers, you can scroll through and select any number of functions, from climate and audio to ambient lights. While it’s far easier to use than the Lexus touchpad controller, the Genesis dial feels cheap and flimsy.
Within the menu on the 12.3-inch display are nifty and thoughtful features, like the ability to leave yourself a voice memo. Although, when you play the message back, the recording quality is dismal. Given the playback quality, I would rather use the voice memo app on my phone.
While these critiques are small, I try to see things through the eyes of a discerning buyer, which is what this class of car is all about. Buyers who can afford a BMW or Mercedes-Benz can afford a Genesis. The voice memo playback and flimsy dial bother me if I want an executive-level car, and money is no object. The plastic-looking wood trim really bothers me. Again, small details but discerning buyers often pick up on things like this.
Interior Highlights: Plush & Relaxed
The other side of the equation is how comfortable the G90 is, even in light of the above critiques. Our press vehicle had a power driver’s seat (22-way) with plenty of bolstering, lumbar, and hamstring support. I was able to extend the seat far enough out to cushion the back of my legs, which made things pleasant for our week-long drive.
Front passengers have 16-way adjustments, while rear occupants have heated seats and sunshades. All around the cabin, the Nappa leather is plush and soft. Genesis employs Active Noise Cancellation, so it’s easy to have a conversation with the family while driving. If you need to load up for a vacation or weekend getaway, there’s plenty of room in the trunk. Genesis includes a first aid kit in the trunk just in case (a nice touch).
2020 Genesis G90 Engine & Powertrain
Under the hood of our G90 press vehicle was a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. The engine employs continuous variable valve timing and gasoline direct injection with the turbos. At 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque, it’s more than enough to get the job done.
The G90 does offer a 5.0-liter V8 if you want a little more muscle. Although we think the V6 is enough, the 420-horsepower V8 is quite tempting. Genesis pairs both engines with an eight-speed automatic, which is nearly seamless when it shifts.
Yes, and for both engines! Rear-wheel drive is standard, but you can opt for all-wheel drive. Doing so might be beneficial if you live in a place that receives snowfall. While we enjoyed the feeling of our rear-drive G90, we also live in Michigan, and there’s that whole snow thing so . . .
Gas Mileage of the 2020 Genesis G90
2020 Genesis G90 Fuel Economy
The blue italics in the above chart denote the engine and drivetrain of our press vehicle.
Between a mix of city and highway driving, we covered just over 750 miles during the week we had our G90. We averaged 22.9 combined mpg, which is above the combined rating of 20 on the window sticker.
How Does The Genesis G90 Drive?
I’ve never driven a more comfortable automobile than the 2020 Genesis G90. It’s easy to lose track of time behind the wheel, and we found ourselves looking for excuses to drive it. While it doesn’t have the handling chops of the G70, step on the pedal, and the turbo V6 gets this big horse galloping. We exited onto Southfield Freeway in the Detroit metro and shot ahead of the other cars quicker than we expected.
Genesis employs an adaptive suspension to complement the active noise cancellation mentioned above. The combination minimizes road noise and bumps and does so quite handily. In front, the G90 makes use of a 25-mm stabilizer bar, with a 17-mm bar in the rear. Forgive the used car salesman jargon here: but at 60 mph, the G90 feels like a magic carpet. I sat back with Danielle and enjoyed the drive in the G90 with her after a long week. I sipped on my coffee; she went for a smoothie. But we both agreed the G90 is something special.
Should You Buy The 2020 Genesis G90?
It will ultimately depend on what you want to achieve with a car in this class. While Genesis is a hot challenger, brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are seasoned performers with a long history behind them. It’s hard (if not impossible) to argue with their levels of luxury and refinement, especially today.
If having “the look” is essential to you in a luxury car, then BMW and Mercedes-Benz are your tickets. Stay with those brands, especially if your vehicle is an extension of your career, business, or social status. This is a crucial consideration for successful bankers, doctors, engineers, executives, lawyers, realtors, and the like. In these professions, first impressions are everything. The Genesis G90 is good, no question, but in certain business, professional, and social circles, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will hold more sway.
By contrast though, if you have a little extra to spend beyond a typical sedan and want something luxurious; if you want something that’s a joy to drive and runs like the wind, then the Genesis G90 all the way. Sign the paperwork and get this beauty on the open road where it belongs.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and AutoVision News, and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.