Hyundai Steps Up with Launch of New Premium Genesis Brand

Hyundai Steps Up with Launch of New Premium Genesis Brand

Hyundai Genesis G90Story and photos by Russell Purcell,

Much like its Japanese rivals Toyota and Nissan, Korean auto giant Hyundai has set its sights on the premium segment of the automotive marketplace in an effort to give the company even more influence and enhance its prestige.

To accomplish this, Hyundai plans to spin its Genesis nameplate into a standalone brand, complete with individual boutique dealerships and eventually, a very well-rounded lineup of models.

The first offering to be released is rolling into showrooms now. The G90 is a large executive sedan complete with all the luxury trappings, safety equipment and technological goodies that one expects in this category, but it will soon be followed by a smaller G80 sedan. By 2021, Hyundai plans to offer as many as six Genesis models, including a couple of utility vehicles, and no doubt, a slinky sports coupe. The end goal is to position the Genesis brand among the now dominant players in this segment, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but to also best all the luxury marques with regards to value, content and reliability.

The Genesis name should sound familiar as Hyundai has been selling two models under that name for the better part of a decade – a sporty coupe and a luxurious five-passenger sedan, but production of these cars will soon come to an end, and the nameplate will no longer be used under the Hyundai banner.

Hyundai Genesis G90Under the hood of the G90 you will find either a twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 engine producing 365 horsepower and a healthy 376 lb-ft of torque, or an optional 5.0-litre V8 (420 hp and 383 lb-ft). While the V8 offers plenty of grunt, the base engine seems to deliver its power to the pavement much quicker and features a very wide torque band. This gives the car a sporty and athletic feel when driven with enthusiasm, as the V6 and the smooth-shifting eight-speed transmission react almost instantaneously to driver inputs.

Canadian G90 models will all feature Hyundai’s rear-biased H-Trac all-wheel drive system, a move that will no doubt be appreciated by consumers given our unpredictable weather and often inferior roads.

Overall, styling is conservative, but the car’s aerodynamically sculpted body lines give it a design which should help it to retain its appeal for many years to come. Hyundai calls this design language “Athletic Elegance.” The car is large in stature, and in fact, the G90 is longer than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class by 125 millimeters. However, the big sedan doesn’t feel bulky or awkward from behind the wheel, and the level of fit-and-finish is so exceptional, that one could argue that the G90 is setting a new standard for this segment.

The interior of the car is very impressive, and it is evident that both the designers and product planners sought to create an environment that would coddle its inhabitants and stand as a real feast for the senses. The doctor-approved seats are wrapped in supple semi-aniline leather and there is an abundance of real wood trim throughout the tidy cabin, and technological marvels like the over-sized 12.3-inch LCD infotainment screen and Lexicon sound system (complete with 17 speakers) help enhance the luxurious ambiance.

Hyundai Genesis G90The cabin is extremely spacious and there is an abundance of head- and legroom in all seating positions. Power adjustability has been added to all four outboard seats, as have heating elements, while cooling fans up front help regulate front passenger comfort (also standard on rear seats in V8 cars).

There are no fewer than nine airbags on board, as well as Smart Sense – an arsenal of the latest electronic safety aids which includes systems like autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active blind spot detection, lane keep assist and Hyundai’s innovative Driver Attention Alert.

Hyundai also plans to revolutionize the ownership experience, as the Genesis brand will eventually be sold in small boutique settings, rather than through a traditional dealership model. Genesis products will also come with five years of complementary service which includes home pickup and delivery for any service or repair, as well as the use of a courtesy vehicle.

The G90 flagship offers an impressive combination of power, poise and curb appeal and will be available starting in November with pricing expected to be in the mid-$85,000 range.

Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests