Genesis G90, a new luxury brand, doesn't disappoint

IndustriesAssociated Press

The refined 2017 Genesis G90 luxury sedan is Hyundai's foray into the luxury brand market and the first new entry in the U.S. since Tesla in 2004.

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Starting at $69,050, the G90 undercuts the competition like the Lexus LS460 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class and has more standard features, such as head-up display, lane-keep assist and wireless device charging. Available with a twin-turbo V-6 and a naturally aspirated V-8, the G90 comes with the best luxury car powertrain warranty — 10 years/100,000 miles.

The five-seat G90 is the first car to work directly with Amazon's Alexa, allowing voice commands via Amazon home devices such as Echo, Tap and Echo Dot to, among other things, start the car remotely, set the interior temperature and check that doors are locked.

The long list of standard safety equipment is particularly noteworthy, and includes front pedestrian detection, automatic braking and smart blind spot detection that helps move the G90 back into its lane if an imminent side collision is detected.

The starting manufacturer's suggested retail price is for a vehicle with rear-wheel drive with the 365-horsepower, twin-turbo V-6, leather seats, 22-way power-adjustable driver's seat, 16-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, microfiber suede ceiling liner, real wood interior accents and a 900-watt Lexicon surround sound system with 17 speakers.

For an all-wheel drive G90 with a V-6 engine, the lowest starting retail price, including destination charge, is $71,550. This compares with the $73,495 starting retail price for a 2017 Lexus LS460 with rear-wheel drive.

The lowest starting retail price if you want to boost engine power with a 420-horsepower V-8 is $70,650 — far lower than the $97,525 starting price of a rear-wheel drive 2017 Mercedes S550 with 449-horsepower V8.

It's a gamble that luxury car shoppers will accept a newcomer from Asia, especially since Hyundai's reputation is for mainstream vehicles with affordable prices. Genesis also is historic, because no South Korean car manufacturer has had a luxury brand in the U.S. before.

The handsomely styled G90 bears a winged Genesis badge that's similar to the badge on a Bentley.

At 17 feet long, the G90 is about the same size as Lexus' LS460 but it has more room in the back seat and a larger trunk — 15.7 cubic feet. The G90 weighs some 4,600 pounds and felt substantial and solid.

The test G90 had a base 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V-6 that developed 365 horsepower and 376 foot-pounds of torque starting at 1,300 rpm and going to 4,500 rpm. This is a new engine and is not used in any Hyundai vehicle.

Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the engine powered the car strongly when passing and merging with nary any turbo lag.

All the while, the G90 gave a smooth ride, with quickly responsive steering and vague vibrations due to road bumps, thanks to the adaptive control suspension. It needed only regular unleaded fuel and nearly averaged the federal government's fuel economy rating of 20 miles per gallon in city/highway driving.

Passengers traveled comfortably in a quiet interior in which every button, knob and control provided excellent feedback. The standard Nappa leather-covered seats are ergonomically designed and left the driver fatigue-free on long drives.

The G90 comes with four cameras to provide around-the-car views that take the fuss out of parking — and all angles are displayed on the 12.3-inch, high-definition dashboard screen.