2020 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate Review by David Colman
A stunningly good value in the luxury car market
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
The G90 ULTIMATE is without question the perfect Pandemic package. When you have to leave your house, the G90 serves as your home away from home. In fact, there's every possibility that this sedan is nicer than your home. So inviting is its lavish interior that you will rue arrival at your destination. This meticulously constructed luxury lab is so captivating you will never want to exit its inner sanctum. During the week we spent driving the G90, we visited four different restaurants for take-out lunches. All four repasts were happily consumed in the back seat of this vehicle, with the air conditioning running, three privacy blinds drawn, and the XM Satellite radio tuned to "50's on 5." We even went so far as to bring our own utensils and trays to facilitate the process. In a world of closed restaurants, the G90 is really a life preserver.
But this sedan doesn't just excel at stationary exercises like lunch breaks. Although it may not look the part from the outside, this is one very serious high performance conveyance. Let's start under the hood, where Genesis has packed a 5.0 liter V8 tuned to produce 420hp. The engine is handsomely presented, with symmetrical, red banded air intakes at each front corner, framed by symmetrical aluminum chassis stiffeners that connect the shock towers to the front crush structure. At the back of the hood, you catch a glimpse of the massive windshield wiper stalks which look they were pirated from a Boeing 777 parts bin.
The V8, which is good for 24MPG on the open highway, drives the rear wheels through an 8-speed Shiftronic automatic gearbox which metes out effortlessly smooth ratio changes in automatic mode. If you have need for it, AWD is available. If you decide to shift cogs yourself, Genesis has you covered with a pair of paddles located behind the steering wheel. With this much power on tap, however, the G90 rarely requires manual gear manipulation. Just leave it in Drive, and it will post stunning acceleration times: 0-60mph in under 5 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 13.5 seconds at 105mph. Top speed is limited by governor to 146mph.
The agile handling of this admittedly heavy (4,722lb.) cruiser belies the car's weight. Steering response is exceptionally good, as is adhesion of the jumbo Continental radials (Conti Pro Contact 245/45R19 front, 275/40R19 rear) which are mounted on 8.5Jx19 front and 9.5Jx19 rear alloy rims. The striking snowflake pattern of these wheels is reminiscent of the honeycomb spokes BBS once used for their racing wheels. On this sizeable sedan, the fanciful rims add a note of festivity to the otherwise somber looking Himalayan Gray package. At first, I was dubious about the inclusion of a "Sport" setting button on the center console. My initial reaction was, "How can this comparatively sedate sedan aspire to sport performance?" The answer is, exceptionally well. Turn the Sport button on and you instantly feel the bolsters in the driver's seat grip your lower back more tightly just as the steering response becomes more acute. The dual simultaneous actuation of these inputs is something I have not previously experienced in any other vehicle.
The real magic of the G90 lies inside the cockpit. We loved the vast expanses of custom tailored tan Nappa leather, intermingled with matte slabs of oak dash and door trim. The combination is quietly elegant. While the front seats are blissfully comfortable, and the central dashboard contains a physical button to accommodate every HVAC and infotainment need, the back seat is where you want to spend your time in this limousine. The console between the back seats contains controls for every last nuance of comfort, ventilation, and information. Attached to the back sides of the front seats are a pair of HD multi-information display screens controlled by a selector knob on the console between the seats. You can dial up all pertinent information on these screens, including music selection, navigation information and map display. The twin screens operate exclusive of each other, so each back seat passenger is free to choose information independently. The rear seats also offer endless configurations, from near prone to bolt upright, with a maze of switches and buttons that even allow you to move the front passenger seat to a position that affords you more slouch room. You can also control all aspects of the infotainment system from the comprehensive back seat dashboard.
At $76,695, the G90 Ultimate is a stunning value in a luxury car market where that number is the starting price for most competitors. On top of everything else, Genesis offers a complimentary Service Valet for 3 years/36,000 miles which retrieves the G90 from your home for service while also providing another Genesis for your interim use.
2020 GENESIS G90 RWD 5.0 ULTIMATE
ENGINE: 5.0 liter V8 with Gas Direct Injection
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 16MPG City/24 MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $76,695
HYPES: Rivals 1st Class Air Travel
GRIPES: Mine Was Gone In A Week
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10