For Hyundai, the Genesis G90 is very much its Lexus LS400, a meaty first foray into the realm of luxury sedans that Genesis-which began with only five employees in Korea-obviously hopes will undercut the established players.
For its mission, Hyundai has armed this car to the teeth. It is exquisitely detailed inside-our car's off-white interior is especially charming, although predictably dirty-and both the wood accents and the faux-suede headliner demand to be touched. Also in Lexus LS fashion, the car is astonishingly quiet at all speeds. You'll try to start an already-running engine, and at 80 mph the cockpit encourages gentle conversation atop classical music from the lovely Lexicon 17-speaker stereo. All so soothing. The G90 is an accomplished long-distance cruiser, a 1000-mile-per-day tourer that taxes its driver little, with a trunk big enough to hold most of the Sopranos' cousins.
We ordered our G90 with the 365-hp twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6. Acceleration is beyond adequate-zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, which is surprising for a car that weighs 4717 pounds and threatens to inflict coast-to-coast furrows on America's asphalt. The consensus so far is that the optional 420-hp V-8 is unnecessary. The eight-speed automatic performs its chores in efficient transparency such that paddle-shifting will never occur to you. Sightlines are open in all directions. The vast rear seat qualifies as limousine-quality.
The price for the G90 3.3T RWD Premium is $69,050. At this point, 30,000 miles into its stay with us, that seems bargainlike, although it's a sum that would also put you into a Mercedes-Benz E-class, meaning your neighbors would know what a cool car you're driving. Still, as Buyer's Guide senior editor Rich Ceppos noted, "This is a more convincing luxury car than either Cadillac or Lincoln has managed."
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The G90's shifter is apparently a collaboration between Satan and Comedy Central. You pull back for drive, but for how long shall you hold it there to effect a gearchange? Simultaneously, your foot must be depressing the brake, but, again, for how long before a shift is permitted? No matter where you push or pull the lever, it returns to its central "no gear at all" location, attached to nothing but someone's imagination at the factory in Ulsan, Korea. Finding neutral at the start of an automatic car wash is like cracking an old Soviet code. Then, to add to the misery, park is not on the shifter at all but is a push button in front of the lever. To engage park, you must snake a finger up and around the lever, a task you cannot perform from muscle memory. You'll have to look. Here again we have a primary control whose operation has been designed for the purpose of being different. It's different all right, as in gratuitously complicated.
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