The 2023 Genesis G90 Is Punching Well Above Its Weight

2023 Genesis G90 Premier

Price: $118,154.02 CAD

Colour: Uyani White

I’ve had the opportunity to drive numerous Genesis vehicles over the last couple of years. While none of them were perfect they were all excellent examples of what Genesis could do. They produce luxurious, well built cars with quality materials that really could be considered as options to their German competitors. The 2023 G90 continues this tradition with Genesis’ push to produce a true competitor to the iconic S-Class and 7-Series. What they have produced is something of a wonder and another excellent step forward in their unrelenting campaign to conquer das vaterland.

Power & Performance

The 2023 Genesis G90 comes with a 3.5L twin turbo V6 that also features something called an “e supercharger” which is essentially a mild hybrid drive system. It’s designed to provide torque fill when the naturally aspirated power plant falls flat while spooling up. The result of all this is 409hp and 405lb/ft of torque. This isn’t German horsepower or torque mind you, so it doesn’t slam you into your seat, squeeze your love handles like a vise with the seat bolsters when you put your foot down. Instead, it considers it for a second, agrees that aggressive speed is a good idea and then sets about delivering it.  The power in the G90 is more effortless than excessive and I enjoyed it a great deal. It speaks to the clarity of purpose around the design of this car. It’s truly built for comfort over performance.

All Wheel Drive is standard and the system does wonders keeping you driving straight and true. I’m glad to see the industry swing more and more to All Wheel Drive as standard on so many vehicles, including all the new EV’s that keep popping up. 

A system I haven’t had much experience with is rear wheel steering. It has of course been around for many years in various cars, but mass adoption never happened. The G90 benefits greatly from having the system as it is a large car and the rear wheel steer makes snaking around tight areas so much easier. It also creates a very strange sensation for the passengers in the rear under hard steering. I can only closely equate it with riding down a gentle water slide, sloshing around from side to side.

Air Suspension has become a proper trend in the luxury segment and it is present on the G90. It allows the car to waft along on a pillow of air that generates a lovely ride. When you couple it to the gentle power band in the G90 you see again a wonderful example of the focus applied to this cars design. It’s all about comfort.

Exterior

When it comes to big swanky sedans in the class occupied by the G90, looks matter. They can’t be ostentatious or looney, but they also can’t be swollen and lumpen. The S Class has always been the leader in this category as BMW has chosen to challenge us with their design choices in recent decades while the S Class has continued to nail design one generation after another. This might be the reason Genesis opted to take a photo of the S Class, scratch out the three pointed star and slap the Genesis wings on it. The G90 looks so much like the S Class it can’t be an accident. Take the badges off and people would struggle to tell the difference. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because if you’re going to copy anyone, you might as well copy the best.

The G90 has a long hood, high doorline and slick roof profile that combine to give us an elegant looking four door sedan. We don’t see a lot of these anymore and I’m happy that we haven’t forgotten how to make them. The headlights are twin ribbons of LED’s that look like a squinting cat. The massive grille up front should look like a deformed catfish but in the G90 works quite well. The rear end hangs over the rear wheels just enough without looking like it could do with some HIT training to tame its booty.

Interior

The interior of a car like this is where the magic really happens. Big sedans like this are designed to transport people in absolute comfort. The G90 accomplishes this with ease. It’s a nice place to sit, front or rear, and much thought went into ensuring its occupants would be well taken care of. 

I’ll start with the quiet you find in the cabin of the G90. It’s a serene place to be. It’s extremely well insulted which banishes a lot of the usual car noises from the G90’s cabin. Genesis also has a feature called “Mood Curator” that combines ambient lighting, stereo audio, massage features etc. to keep you at ease depending on what you tell it you’re looking for. It’s a fascinating experience although not something that’s for me. Nevertheless, this is a calming and quiet place for a drive that is hard to match.

The infotainment system is contained within a 12.3” screen integrated into the dash. It’s very wide and not terribly tall. This allows it to accommodate the lines of the interior instead of looking like something I mounted with some screws and Gorilla Glue like you’ll find in a lot of other vehicles. Contained within that screen’s functionality is every control you can imagine in this vehicle. It would take me weeks to hunt them all down and I’m sure I’d still miss the majority. Once curiosity about this system is that it doesn’t have wireless carplay. I’m not typically that picky about how I get my carplay as long as I get. However, in a vehicle of this class and price point I would never expect to have to use anything as uncouth as a wire to connect my phone for full functionality. I’m sure this will be fixed with an update in the future so it’s not a complete mark against the vehicle.

Naturally the G90 features massaging seats up front. You can choose from many different massage programs. I have never been a big fan of massaging seats and it was no different here. I was particularly struck when my son was playing with the settings when suddenly I felt something jab me in my rear in a way you would normally have to pay good money for on vacation in Thailand. That was the end of the massaging seats for me.

Leather interiors are of course standard on the G90. You get the equally standard Nappa leather. One trend in Genesis, among other manufacturers, is to “quilt” their leather upholstery. This is a preference thing, but I don’t care for quilted upholstery. It’s not as bad as ruched leather, but does run a close second. You have so many options about how you feature the upholstery in your car and everyone is just smitten with quilting.

Wireless charging is a really nice feature. It lends itself to my desire rid my everyday driving experience of the nest of wires that typically adorn my vehicle. The G90 has us well sorted for power as there are wireless charging pads both front and rear. The inclusion of a rear charging pad is a nice touch and shows forward thinking.

Alcantara (microfiber suede to you) adorns the roof of the G90. In a way I would have preferred to see leather skinned over this area as my recent experience with the 2022 Range Rover has left me smitten with that little detail. That being said, the Alcantara utilized by Genesis is super soft and slick and is a very satisfying thing to touch. 

The rear seats in the G90 are a wonderful place to be. They are comfortable and luxurious. You can splash out and nearly lie down flat and nobody would blame you for nodding off on a long journey in accommodations like that. You get all manner of controls in the centre console screen and reinforces the idea that this vehicle is made for transporting important folks in the rear. A highlight of the rear area are the window shades. They’re not only powered but they also cover the primary window as well as the little fixed window as well.  Not sure I’ve seen that before and it’s fabulous. I must touch on my one big criticism of the Genesis G90. It comes equipped with powered doors. They close with the touch of a button and open at the touch of another button, although they don’t fling open, they simply open a bit and the rest is up to you. My problem with this system is closing the doors from outside the vehicle. You can touch the close button on the door panel and make sure you leap out of the way before it crushes you against the door jam.  Alternatively you can touch a pad on the door handle, but this requires walking all the way around the door and facing it head-on and is very awkward. The system would work great if, when you applied a little pressure while closing the doors, the motors released and it closed like a normal door.  Alas, this just isn’t so.

Quality

The Genesis G90 is top shelf when it comes to construction quality. It’s a solid vehicle that has no squeaks, rattles or odd vibrations. Additionally, the materials chosen are largely high quality, classy and should age well along with the vehicle. I spent many hours in this vehicle looking for corner cutting and other signs of accountant interference and couldn’t really find any. From an initial quality perspective the G90 isn’t an imitation but leader in its class.

CQI – 8. This is good quality carpet you can clean with ease. The colour on this test vehicle is an appalling shade of feces-like brown but I won’t hold it against it as you can choose other options. Thank god.

Value

I mentioned earlier that my only real criticism of the G90 is the powered door arrangement. I may have lied as the cost of the G90 also presents me with a moment of pause. I’ve spent most of this review glowingly praising this car and it certainly deserves it. Genesis have clearly taken this to heart when considering its price point. At $115,000 CAD this brings it within spitting distance of it’s primary competitor, the S Class, which starts at $130,000 CAD. Yes, to get to an oranges-to-oranges spec level it will cost you more, but I think that’s a price people would be willing to pay. When dealing with a class of vehicle this exclusive, badge matters. It’s been proven over and over that people will pay more, considerably more in some cases, for a top shelf brand of almost anything. When it comes to executive limo’s like the G90/S Class, the three pointed star is going to win out despite the price differential. Genesis needs people to buy their cars and build their cult of ownership. Mercedes has a decades head start on them and will fight all competitors tooth and nail to keep the crown. Price matters in this regard as it will move a certain segment of the customer base to Genesis if the price is right. Upon that foundation you build an empire.

Final Thoughts

I really like the 2023 Genesis G90. It’s a well-made crate that truly competes with its Germanic contemporaries. There are very few issues with its design and it is built to a specific vision of transporting its valuable cargo in absolute luxury. Genesis continues to improve its vehicles and make headway in the luxury segment. Yes, the G90 does crib the look of the S Class a little close but wild and dynamic design don’t typify this class of vehicles so I’ll give it a pass in that regard. Other than the doors and the price point, there is little to throw shade at on the G90. It’s a real fighter.

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