2023 Genesis G90 brings luxury to your door

Photo: Genesis

Photo: Genesis

As any tip-hungry valet will tell you, opening and closing a car door is a thoughtful act of service. It’s a small gesture and respect, a kind of welcome and farewell to the car—and what the 2023 Genesis G90 does for you. Push a button and the door partially opens to avoid hitting other cars or objects. Once inside, press the button on the door panel and it will close as if pushed by an invisible valet. This is a signature Rolls-Royce party trick, and it’s just as satisfying in the G90 as it is in a Phantom.

The G90 is Genesis’ flagship large sedan, and it’s loaded with features that typically belong in the ultra-luxury realm. The perfectly crafted cabin masterfully mixes a leather, wood, metal and microsuede trim, while there are reclining rear seats that heat, cool and massage. Seclusion and comfort dominate the experience. The material choices look and feel expensive and all the controls move with a satisfying smoothness. Whether you’re cruising at 45 mph or 90 mph, the interior remains serene even when the landscape blurs outside.

Photo: Genesis

Photo: Genesis

The long 125.2-inch wheelbase provides enough legroom for NBA stars, and optional air springs keep the ride soft and compliant, despite the thin sidewalls around the 21-inch wheels. Steering effort is light, and while the nearly 5000-pound G90 isn’t going to be mistaken for a sports sedan, it moves with grace and skill. Some credit for the easy maneuvering goes to the available rear-wheel steering that reduces the turning diameter from 40.1 to 37.1 feet.

A few taps of the 12.3-inch touchscreen feature the 1700-watt, 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system that sings through different soundscapes. If you’ve always wondered what Dua Lipa or Jimmy Buffett would sound like at Boston’s Symphony Hall, the G90 is equipped to answer those burning questions. (They sound great.) Stop the music and start talking, and you’ll notice that the headliner-mounted microphones pick up your voice and make it sound like you’re standing alone in a concert hall. It’s a trick that will put a smile on your face. The G90 is certainly big inside, at 105 cubic feet, but it’s not big in the theater.

Photo: Genesis

Photo: Genesis

If you want to go from Symphony Hall to an Abercrombie & Fitch from 2006, just turn on the fragrance mode that pumps scented air through the vents, part of a system Genesis calls a “mood curator.” And yes, Mercedes has been offering piped fragrances for years, and luxury rear seats and power doors aren’t groundbreaking features either. What’s remarkable is that the G90 offers this kind of capability for $89,495 in 3.5T form or $99,795 for the 3.5T E-SC. That’s still a lot of money, obviously, but it qualifies as good value compared to European sedans that can cost $200,000 or more.

Photo: Genesis

Photo: Genesis

All the content aside, the G90’s drivetrain optimization and quiet road manners also remind us of cars costing twice as much. Gone are the 2022 model’s 3.3-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8, replaced by a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 that can be used with an electric supercharger. The turbo-only version makes 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, with the top-shelf turbocharged model we tested bumping output to 409 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Almost as effortless, smooth and quick as an electric car from a standstill, the V-6 pulls hard when pushed and never raises its voice—unless you turn on the artificial sound enhancements. A standard four-wheel drive system puts down power with zero drama, and shifts from the eight-speed automatic are almost imperceptible. In Comfort mode, the transmission is slow to downshift, but once it does the surge is strong.

Despite a slippery 0.27 drag coefficient, the turbocharged G90’s 19.3-gallon tank empties at an EPA-estimated 24 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in the city. The base engine manages 18 and 26 mpg, respectively. Those numbers fall short of the six-cylinder-equipped Audi A8L and Mercedes-Benz S500 and are more in line with the V-8 versions of the Audi and Benz. However, the turbocharged G90’s EPA rating of 20 mpg combined represents a 2 mpg improvement over the 2022 V-8 AWD model.

Photo: Genesis

Photo: Genesis

With so much right and comfortable, the G90’s few off-key notes stand out. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require a wired connection, when wireless phone mirroring—which we consider essential—is found in cars that cost much less. Engineers also missed out on giving customers configurable gauge displays, and the G90 lacks the smaller GV60’s facial recognition system that unlocks the car when it sees you. The G90 lets you use your smartphone as a key and works without fuss.

The G90 doesn’t sell in high volumes, but Genesis is still putting a lot of effort into the latest version of the large sedan. Whether you’re driving or riding in that massive backseat, the G90 is comfortably numb when you want it to be and refined in a way that belies its near-six-figure price tag. Maybe some of the brand snobs in Beverly Hills or Miami won’t be impressed by the Genesis badge. But if we were valets, we’d leave that up front.

Photo: Hearst Owned

Photo: Hearst Owned

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