It’s a brand new day for Hyundai’s new luxury brand.
In the movie Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart’s character tells his bar’s piano player to play it again. It would seem that Hyundai has heeded his advice. (Actually, Bogart never said those exact words, but that was the gist of it, so why mess with a legend?)
Taking a sumptuous tune already played by Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, Hyundai has joined the chorus with its own stand-alone luxury division. The aforementioned Japanese nameplates have, respectively, Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus. And now Korean carmaker Hyundai has Genesis.
Debuting for the 2017 model year, the Genesis brand offers two models: G80 and G90. While the midsize G80 essentially is a carried-over 2016 Hyundai Genesis (back when Genesis was a model rather than a brand), the full-size G90 is new.
Offered as the V-6 3.3T Premium or the V-8 5.0 Ultimate, the big G90 is a full-throated luxury sedan whose equipment list is so comprehensive there are, for all intents and purposes, no options. The buyer simply decides:
Beyond that, everything’s already here, from real wood trim and Nappa leather to a 22-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, to every passive safety nanny one can imagine — including Lane Keep Assist, Auto Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, and Driver Attention Alert —and lots more.
We drove a 3.3T AWD (all-wheel drive) and found the ride creamy on its gently damped suspension (with the Genesis driving experience, think Lexus, not BMW), its cabin hushed, and its power gratifying; we did 60 mph in about five seconds.
There’s plenty of room throughout the cabin, including a back seat that’s the stuff of chauffeured excursions. The huge rear door opens wide for easy access and, once inside, the boss will find a complete set of climate and infotainment controls secreted in the fold-down center armrest.
In the final analysis, it’s clear that this new Genesis G90 is well aware of what it’s gotten itself into, competing as it does with Lexus. So, from its three-zone climate control to its 17-speaker Lexicon® Surround Sound audio, this car is luxurious, as it must be to be taken seriously.
It knows that, when it comes to establishing a long-haul luxury reputation, the fundamental things apply as time goes by.
January/February 2017 Issue
Dan Wiese is an automotive freelance writer living in St. Louis, Mo.
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