DETROIT — We were in a parking lot and found ourselves answering a bevy of questions from a couple of guys. The first and most important was what kind of car we were driving. It was a Genesis G90.
And in those few minutes, we discovered the upside and the downside of Genesis. In a cluttered and crowded automotive market, Genesis must establish brand recognition. What’s more, it must accomplish this with limited product offerings.
We had the top-of-the-line Genesis G90 5.0. It was a full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that made 420 horsepower on premium fuel or 407 with regular gas. It made 383 pound-feet of torque using premium and 372 using regular gas.
Either/or, this engine moved the G90 with ease. It was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and we could barely feel it change gears beyond first to second.
Our one quibble was that we thought the paddle shifters out of place. This car was ready made for a chauffeur. Controls for the radio, audio system, rear seats that were power adjustable, rear seat climate control system and the heated and cooled rear seats were at the tip and on the side of the center arm rest in the back seat. In other words, whoever owns the car can be in control of much of the equipment from the rear seats. There were even vanity mirrors in the back. Add to that mix paddle shifters and eh, no.
Anyway, the car handled well. Cornering was great, sight lines were good and the audio system thumped without being turned up to eardrum-shattering decibel levels. The Genesis G90 5.0 was a full-size luxury sedan.
The car had the air of a limousine and its equipment was formidable. It had automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection, smart blind spot protection with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keep assist and driver attention alert.
There was drive mode selection with smart shift. It had an adaptive suspension with electronic damping control that made the G90 feel like it was gliding over the road without that floaty front end feeling that came with big cars years ago.
For the record the 5.0 G90 only comes with rear-wheel-drive. For all-wheel-drive, you have to drop down to the 3.8-liter V6 that makes 311 horsepower. We hope power to all four wheels will be added to the G90 5.0 soon.
Meanwhile buyers will have to content themselves with a car that has no options. The heads up display, leather seating, 22 inch wheels, 12.3-inch high definition navigation screen, a 22-way power driver’s seat and a 16-way right rear seat, all door automatic entry, push button start/stop, full LED headlights, heated and cooled sets all round, side shade screens and a power one in the rear, 19-inch alloy wheels, wireless charger and multi-view camera including overhead were all standard.
Genesis has the car. Now they need more vehicles. We can only hope that the fuel cell powered G80 CV concept crossover the brand showed at the New York International Auto Show is not far off with a gasoline engine.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.