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Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.

2023 Genesis G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD review

2023 Genesis G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD
Mark Savage
Savage On Wheels
2023 Genesis G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD

Stumped about what to get me (or anyone) as a gift for the holidays? Look no further than the new bauble-laden Genesis luxury sedan, the G90. Santa may want to trade in his sleigh!

G90 is simply a showstopper, maybe a traffic stopper too as several pedestrians inquired about its origins. Easy to understand the confusion as it doesn’t look at all like its two main competitors, the pricier BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S Class. They’re sharp, but the elegance of the G90’s lines with its horizontal twin headlight and taillight design that marks all Genesis luxury rides exudes class. The Genesis logo that looks much like that of Bentley and Aston Martin also can befuddle some folks.

Yet there’s so much to gush about, even beyond looks.

A summary? G90’s ride is sublime. The power’s potent. The handling is responsive. The braking is superb. Inside, I simply don’t recall a finer interior, ever. That’s a pretty strong gush!

Start with power and you will not be disappointed.

The tested top-level G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD model packs a silky 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with an electric supercharger. Output is 409 horses and 405 pound-feet of torque. The slightly lower tier 3.5T model without the supercharging creates 375 horses, still generous.

I could say the G90 blasts to 75 or so mph in a blink, but really, it’s so smooth and quiet that you barely notice that triple digits are appearing on the giant digital instrument screen. An eight-speed automatic handles all that power and puts it to all four wheels as this is AWD, good for traction and steady grip.

The handling is quick, easy and smooth too, aided by rear-wheel steering to help the car corner efficiently and with little disturbance to driver or passengers. I’ve used the slot-car metaphor before, but it’s again apt.

Eco, Comfort and Sport drive modes allow the power, handling and suspension to adjust to the driver’s command. Comfort is fine while Sport firms wheel tension and pumps up the power driver’s seat’s side bolsters air bladders to accommodate the more spirited handling.

There’s air in the suspension system too. It cushions the ride and coddles passengers thanks to its multi-chamber configuration. Ah! Amazing how comforting this can be with such refined control!

The braking is smooth, steady and exceptional — four-wheel discs of course, with 14.2-inchers up front and 13.6-inchers in back.

All this and we haven’t even gotten to the spectacular interior that is bathed in supple brown quilted Nappa leather stitched in a diamond pattern and as comfy as your grandfather’s recliner. Speaking of which, the powered rear seats both recline partially (enough for a snooze), and the rear passenger’s side seat has a small footrest that powers up for added comfort in dreamland. Headrests in back are basically fluffy suede pillows. I’d like one for my couch.

The roof’s headliner is a contrasting brown suede and the dash and door tops a dark brown (nearly black) soft leather-like material. Dash and door trim is a camo-like pattern that looks sort of like wood with a bit of inlay design. Trim around the trim is a thin chrome while all buttons, toggles and knobs are satin chrome. Classy!

Quiet? Yep, the cockpit is as quiet as Marcel Marceau arguing with himself. That is to say, it’s perfect for listening to the incredible Bang & Olufsen 3D premium audio system, which is easily the best I’ve heard yet in a vehicle. Then again, there are 26 speakers.

Other premium touches? Let’s start with two sunroofs overhead, one normal size and a smaller one in back, with its own power sunshade. The rear side door windows also host power sunshades and there’s another for the rear window, which either the driver or rear passengers can deploy.

Back seat folks have loads of controls on a fold-down armrest that features its own digital control screen for heated and cooled rear seats, radio and climate controls. That’s right, both front and rear seats are heated and cooled and get this, will deliver a stimulating massage, which is good for comfort and for keeping a driver awake on a long haul. A variety of massage speeds are offered via one button control on the front doors for the highfalutin front seaters.

Hyundai/Kia/Genesis designers are excellent at designing interiors and controls so they wisely put the three-level seat heating/cooling on console buttons. Many makes now insist on embedding these essential functions in a multi-level info screen. Only the heated steering wheel is on the wide, but thin screen here, along with a button to spray a scented air freshener. The test car wasn’t loaded, but that’s OK, I know what the north woods smell like.

Can this dreamy luxury liner get any better?

Well, there’s more, much more.

Staring with what Genesis calls its Mood Curator, settings that allow for various comfort modes (Vitality, Delight, Care and Comfort). Engage these and the car presets music, scent, lighting, side sun shades and massaging features. There are nature sounds that can be emitted by the sound system too. I like the rainy forest as the crunch of the snowshoes in winter mode can be a bit much after a few minutes.

The G90 works on your emotional space too with its 3D surround system that can reenact the sound characteristics of famous theaters and other interesting environments. Hmm, I would like this at home!

How about cutting the emotional stress of closing my own door?

Yes, the G90’s doors will open and close automatically. Press a button on the door (à la Tesla) and it unlatches and opens about a foot, then you must push the rather heavy door the rest of the way. But, press that button once you’re in the car, or another button on the console and the door shuts itself. Genesis calls it the Easyclose system. Think of it as a power hatch/trunk for doors.

The outside door handles are flush when the car is locked, but like a Tesla, pop out for passengers to raise for entry. Posh!

Then there are the expected pluses from a luxury sedan, the wireless charger easily reached in the console where your phone inserts nearly vertically.

Safety equipment? You get the full load standard, no add-ons. So, smart cruise, lane-keeping, blind-spot, collision avoidance, even something called Remote Smart Parking to squeeze the lengthy luxury liner into a tight spot are included.

The only misses here are the price and mpg, and neither are surprising.

In fact, the base 3.5T model’s $89,495 sticker with delivery only seems high if you haven’t priced the main competition, BMW’s 7 Series or Mercedes’ S Class. The Genesis G90 starts $5,000 less than the BMW and $13,000 less than the Benz. Where I come from that’s real money.

Of course this AWD version with the e-supercharger pushes that envelope higher to $99,795 and the test car was $101,295 after adding just its snazzy semi-gloss Verbier (a town in Switzerland) White paint. It’s sort of glossy and sort of matte, but with a pearl base that could make Martha Stewart blush.

Either of the German makes will hit $115,000 to $120k for their high-horse and AWD versions. Save your cash for a Danube cruise.

Time and experience tell me a luxury vehicle buyer rarely considers mpg ratings, and this one is a middler at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, still beating non-hybrid SUVs. I managed 20.5 mpg in about 60% city and 40% highway driving. Preferred fuel is premium, natch!

A few other points to consider. You can download a Digital Key app to your smartphone to allow you to go keyless, avoiding fob-in-pocket syndrome. There’s also a fingerprint authentication system on the console. That allows you to quickly be identified as the driver and recall your driver profile settings, such as seats, mirrors and radio presets. The memory button on the door also allows this.

Everything is artfully and beautifully packed into the G90, and standard, except the kitchen sink. But give Genesis a year, they may offer that as an option!

FAST STATS: 2023 Genesis G90 3.5T E-Supercharger AWD

Hits: Elegant looks, excellent power, responsive handling, stellar ride, multi-drive modes, AWD and rear-wheel steering. Stylish, quiet leather interior, with heated/cooled seats, heated wheel, two sunroofs, wireless charger, full load of safety equipment, massaging front and rear seats, reclining rear seats, rear pillow headrests, 26 speaker-B&O system, push-button power doors, big digital instrument panel and info screens, side and rear window shades.

Misses: Price and mpg.

Made in: Ulsan, So. Korea

Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbo, e-supercharged, V6, 409 hp/ 405 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 4,861 lbs.

Wheelbase: 125.2 in.

Length: 207.7 in.

Cargo: 10.6 cu.ft.

MPG: 17/24

MPG: 20.5 (tested)

Base Price: $99,795 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $94,861

Major Options: Verbier white paint, $1,500

Test vehicle: $101,295

Sources: Genesis, www.kbb.com

Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Savageonwheels.com. He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.
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