- Killer wheels
- Plush and comfy
- Great value
- Dated interior
- Missing gravitas
- Underwhelming V-8
It wasn’t all that long ago that a big sedan like the 2020 Genesis G90 would be considered the be-all, end-all flagship vehicle for a luxury brand. As consumer tastes have changed, the big three European luxury automakers’ range-toppers—the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class—have all been joined by equally opulent flagship SUVs—the Audi Q8, BMW X7, and Mercedes-Benz G- and GLS-Classes. But in the upstart Genesis lineup, the 2020 G90 currently stands alone as the king of the castle.
It’s quite the convincing executive sedan. “A Korean domestic-market limousine,” editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin said while damning with faint praise: “This is what an elite luxury car would look and feel like, circa 2006.” The big, brooding 2020 G90 is the recipient of one of the most extensive mid-cycle updates we’ve seen in years. Its engines, a 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 and an optional 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8, haven’t been touched, but just about every panel, save for the doors and roof, has been tweaked, tucked, and trimmed to bring the G90’s styling in line with the new G80 sedan, GV80 SUV, and revised 2022 G70—a past Car of the Year winner.
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We were fans of the G90s new duds, judging this to be a more successful overall exterior design than that of its little brother, the G80. The G90’s 19-inch wheels in particular drew praise—not just for how well they filled out the wheel wells but also for how stellar these ’90s-throwback dish-and-spoke wheels look. Associate road test editor Erick Ayapana spoke for all of us, saying, “The G90’s wheels are definitely pimp.”
We only wish the G90’s interior were as loved as its sheetmetal. “For a mid-cycle refresh, this is a good one outside, but I wish that trend continued inside,” MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina said. “It’s not that the interior looks bad, but I feel like all the energy and resources were spent outside and the interior was left untouched, especially when you compare the flagship G90 to the new interiors in the G80 and GV80.”
With its analog gauges, Hyundai switchgear, and a dated (not to mention buggy) infotainment suite, most judges felt that the G90’s cabin was missing a few of the finer details and ornamentation needed to make a flagship luxury sedan truly stand out. A word of advice—a truly new G90 with the G80’s jewelry would be killer.
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As far as the drive experience goes, it hasn’t changed at all since the G90 first made its debut in 2015. Both the G90 3.3 and 5.0 drive remarkably similarly despite having two wildly different powerplants. (Most cars in this class have clear deficiencies when you decline to upgrade from the base engine.) Both V-6 and V-8 are quiet, punchy, and smooth, preferring to rely on an elegant surge of low-end torque rather than brute horsepower to get the G90 moving down the road with authority. The ride is floaty and unperturbed. “You really do get the impression that you’re driving a massive limousine,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said. “It actually feels a bit like a Toyota Century.”
Interestingly enough, the slightly cheaper G90 3.3T is both quicker in our instrumented testing and more efficient than the pricier G90 5.0, leaving some judges to question why bother even offering the naturally aspirated V-8.
Although the revamped G90 sets out to challenge the big European luxury flagships, it does a far more convincing job of filling the gap in the market ceded by big, comfy luxury sedans like the Lincoln Town Car. As other big sedans, such as the current Lexus LS 500, chase driving dynamics at the expense of comfort and roominess, there’s a big white space left in the market for Genesis to slip in. As buyer’s guide director Zach Gale said, “When you’re done pretending you want a sporty car, the G90 is ready to welcome anyone who knows what a Genesis is.”
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