Home' Motoring Plus : June 29th 2016 Contents THE NELSON MAIL Wednesday, June 29, 2016 — 7
The new Genesis G90
might be the best
luxury car we’ll never
see here, reports
In the beginning...
Hyundai’s Genesis brand aims to offer
presence and quality to compete with
top-line luxury models from Audi,
BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
G90 has a superb luxury-car cabin. But the wheel’s staying on the left for now.
Cosseting ride, but also epic performance from 5.0-litre V8 engine.
Shortly after Hyundai
launched its Genesis
luxury sedan in 2004, it
stated an intention to spin
the Genesis name off as a
standalone luxury brand.
In 2015, after much will-they-
won’t-they backtracking and
uncertainty, it happened. The G90
is the first model under the new
brand and will also serve as its
flagship, taking on the likes of the
Mercedes-Benz S-class and BMW
While Honda, Nissan and
Toyota all launched luxury
brands (Acura, Infiniti and Lexus)
in the 1980s, only Lexus has had
much luck outside the US. It
would seem timely for the
Koreans to have a go, with
Hyundai best-placed to break into
this highly competitive and
The ‘‘Hyundai Genesis’’ sedan
is widely viewed as a thoroughly
excellent first attempt at a proper
luxury car. It has been admirably
successful in New Zealand,
despite many commentators’
reservations about a $100,000
Hyundai. But it does have a few
glaring flaws, especially the dull
interior and the odd squirminess
of the rear end over minor road
Hyundai is remarkably good at
responding to issues like this with
great speed, so when we got a
chance to drive the new G90
(known as the EQ900 in Korea) it
didn’t really come as any surprise
that it was a deeply impressive
But then, it really does need to
be if the company is serious about
taking on the heavy hitters in the
The version we drove at
Hyundai’s Namyang test facility
was fitted with the company’s
5.0 -litre petrol V8, hooked up to an
transmission driving all four
The first thing that strikes you
about the G90 is its interior.
Where the Hyundai Genesis we
currently get is dulled by its
conservative, dark interior, the
G90 is full-on Euro in its approach
to interior decor.
While the styling still errs
slightly on the conservative side,
the materials used and build
quality are utterly stunning.
It doesn’t boast the
flamboyance of the current S-class
interior, but the opulent wood-
and-leather approach is arguably
more attractive and, well,
luxurious than BMW’s 7-series. If
anything, it’s closest to the
current Lexus range for interior
design and quality, and that is a
very good thing.
A massive 12.3 -inch
widescreen display dominates the
dashboard, with conventional
dials behind the steering wheel.
So there’s no Mercedes-like full-on
digital gauge-replacement going
on here, but that’s not to say that
the G90 is in any way lacking in
hi-tech toys or safety features. It’s
fully loaded, and then some.
Nail the throttle in the G90 and
a subdued basso rumble
surrounds you as the big car belts
effortlessly towards the horizon.
The ride is cosseting, yet
impressively controlled. Again,
there’s more than a hint of Lexus
in its approach to ride comfort.
Although we were at
Hyundai’s test facility, the drive
was limited to the lane-change
test area. It’s long and straight, as
you might expect.
The G90 proved itself to be
adept at stable high-speed lane
changes (even sudden ones), but
it’s approach to actual corners is
still something of a mystery. Its
superb high-speed stability and
composed ride suggests it should
be fairy decent in that respect as
well. During our brief time in the
G90, it was quickly apparent that
it was a true luxury car and a
convincing competitor for the
So here’s the big question –
will we see it in NZ?
While sales of the $100k
Hyundai Genesis sedan have been
good, whether or not buyers will
respond similarly to a
$150,000-plus Genesis G90 is
another question entirely.
It’s not a question we (or
Hyundai NZ) will have to ponder
any time soon, as Hyundai says it
will not be making the G90 in
right-hand drive form for at least
another three years.
Where does that leave the
sedan we currently know as the
Hyundai Genesis? Well, it was
recently rebranded and
relaunched (with an extensive
update and minor facelift) at the
Busan Motor Show in Korea as
the G80, taking its place below the
big-daddy G90 in the new brand
The G80 builds on the previous
model’s impressive specification
and safety (at launch in New
Zealand, it was the safest car ever
crash-tested by ANCAP),
retaining the 3.8 -litre petrol V6
engine, but adding a Sport model
with the twin-turbo 270kW/
510Nm 3.3-litre petrol V6 from the
G90 to the mix.
Visual changes are minimal
over the current Genesis sedan,
with new bumpers, new internals
for the headlights and a revised
While the Genesis/G80 is
certain to continue here, when it
will make the transition from
Hyundai Genesis to Genesis G80
is something that the local
distributor is working through.
The refreshed G80 is going on
sale in Korea later this year,
expanding into global markets
through 2017. As always, expect
RHD markets to lag behind
somewhat. So again, it’s not
something that’ll be happening
any time soon.
Then again, rushing the birth
of a luxury brand is not wise
anyway. But Hyundai seems to
have the right ammunition to hit
the ground running with.
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