Few people who can afford a $65,000 to $75,000 luxury car will consider spending that kind of scratch on a Hyundai. It’s a transaction that doesn’t compute for anyone not born in the carmaker's home country of South Korea.
Pretty good reason then that Hyundai – eager to tap into the luxury profit margins enjoyed by BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus – is calling its luxury brand “Genesis,” the name it gave its first upscale sedan modeled after the BMW 5-Series, and a coupe it pitted against, among other two-seaters, The Ford Mustang. Then came the Hyundai Equus, a shot at the heart of the luxury sedan market, but that sold roughly as well as parkas in Hawaii.
As names go, Genesis is a pretty good one. And the toothy wide mouth grille topped by the spread-wing ornament of the 2017 Genesis G90 makes for a pretty nice arrival. Still new enough to be largely unknown, each time the valet brought my 90 out for me at my Los Angeles hotel, the car caught comments and curiosity, and not one offered a “pffffffft.” It was more like “what is that?” “How Much?” “Pretty nice.” “Wow!”
None of Hyundai’s previous attempts at luxury–the Genesis and Equus– was really a legitimate threat to Lexus and Mercedes. But let me just say to the German brands writing off the new Genesis G90…Achtung! Yes, pay attention. The South Koreans have the drive, the resources and the commitment to make a dent in your market. And the 90, as well as its less expensive showroom mate, the 80, have made quite an impression.
Perfect? No. But Hyundai and its Genesis division have a machine that is only going to get better with each refreshed design and new model.
And the G90 is a lot of car already. To get the equipment, features and technology that are in the $72,000 top of the line G90, you’d easily encroach on or surpass $100,000 with an Audi A8, BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S-Class.
LED daytime running and tail lamps; 12.3-inch navigation screen; cut and stitched multi-layered dash; surround sound stereo; 22-way power seats with both heating and cooling features; climate and audio controls in the rear-seat console, giving a limousine feel to the car; adaptive cruise control; three years of free scheduled maintenance; valet services, Genesis Connected Services, SiriusXM Travel Link and Map care for the navigation system. The only thing wanting perhaps is some of the state-of-the-art accident avoidance tech.
The Koreans got the exterior very much right, though the C-pillar (behind the rear windows) feels a bit chunkily carved. But this is a small thing, and does not overshadow the overall substantial feel of the car.