by Karl Furlong
Genesis has officially unveiled its heavily reworked flagship luxury sedan, the 2020 Genesis G90 at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Only the roof and doors have been retained, with every other exterior body panel altered or new for this model. The so-called Athletic Elegance design language is on full display, with quad headlamps flanking an imposing Crest Grille.
The high-class cabin prioritizes horizontal surfaces and, at least at a glance, looks every bit as comfortable and carefully constructed as something out of a Mercedes-Benz or Lexus. In a first for the Genesis brand, the G90 offers over-the-air wireless updates for maps and software. Along with a 12.3-inch touchscreen display and a raft of driver-assistance safety features, it's one of the marque's most advanced cars ever. Two trims will be offered: the 365-horsepower 3.3T Premium and the 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 Premium.
Expect the G90 to offer a serene drive, as active noise cancellation reduces noise, vibration, and harshness levels. Along with an adaptive control suspension that can minimize vibration in real-time, the G90 is likely to be an accomplished cruiser.
While you may not be able to call the G90 beautiful, it will certainly get you noticed. An enlarged grille, 19-inch wheels, and the brand's G-Matrix design language have been applied to great effect. The signature Crest Grille takes center stage in front, while at the back, quad wraparound taillamps stretch across the entire width of the body and provide the G90 with anything but a generic disposition.
The low and wide stance is bold and confident, while an extended color palette will be made available to buyers. We think that Genesis has struck the right notes with the G90's comprehensive update, and the luxury sedan now has a far better chance of capturing the attention of a discerning clientele.
Marketing speak can often sound like drivel to the average car shopper, but we get what Genesis means when they describe the cabin as a "harmonious flow of horizontal surfaces". In short, this is a luxurious and pampering environment that looks and feels like the real deal. Open-pore wood, double-stitched leather, and chrome plating on the switches are all tastefully executed.
A large 12.3-inch touchscreen display is neatly integrated into the dashboard and can be used to control various infotainment functions, including navigation. Driver-assistance features are extensive and include lane follow assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, safe exit assist, and lane-keep assist.
Powertrains haven't quite undergone the same metamorphosis as the rest of the G90, but both the carryover 3.3-liter V6 and the 5.0-liter V8 will elicit few complaints. The smaller turbocharged engine has peak outputs of 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 delivers 420 hp and 383 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard on both variants, and all-wheel-drive is optionally available.
There's not a huge difference in performance between the two models, but the V8 offers a satisfying burble under load and is befitting of a high-end luxury sedan like the G90. Both, however, will provide plenty of grunt for everyday use, while not quite matching more esteemed German competition for ultimate acceleration.
Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but expect the G90 to undercut the Mercedes-Benz S-Class comfortably. We anticipate a price tag of just over $70,000, which would make the G90 around $20k less expensive than a base Mercedes S450. Of course, the G90 lacks the pedigree of the mighty German - and the same applies to the BMW 7 Series - but the Genesis is no longer the understated wallflower it once was. The bold new appearance is matched by improved quality and tech, and we're looking forward to getting behind the wheel when it hits US dealerships in December.