DETROIT — New car introductions occur every 30 minutes at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, but the introduction of an entirely new car brand is a significantly rarer event. Hyundai officially introduced its new Genesis luxury brand by pulling the covers off the all-new 2017 Genesis G90.
Effectively replacing the Hyundai Equus, this full-size luxury flagship sedan represents upgrades not only befitting a full redesign but also a dedicated luxury brand intended to compete with the world's many established players. It has similar dimensions to the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, though we expect it will cost considerably less.
While the exterior styling is closely related to that of the former Hyundai Genesis, now known as the Genesis G80, the interior boasts a more elegant design and higher-quality materials. Most notable of these are new buttons, switches and knobs, which should help negate any inevitable comparisons to its less expensive Hyundai cousins — as well as the cheaper G80.
Standard cabin features are also in abundance, including Napa leather, lovely wood trim, a 17-speaker Lexicon sound system and a 22-way power driver seat with heating and ventilation.
On V8-powered models, the rear seats are also power-adjustable, heated and ventilated. Rear-seat occupants are also treated to dual 9.2-inch monitors and their own central infotainment control knob identical to the one found up front.
Two engines are available. The base engine is a new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Hyundai's familiar 5.0-liter V8 will be offered as an upgrade. It's good for 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.
Both come standard with an eight-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is optional with either engine. It is a rear-biased system that can send up to 40 percent of engine torque to the front axle in low traction conditions and as much as 90 percent to the rear when the car is in its Sport mode. Economy mode sends 100 percent to the rear for greater efficiency.
Besides the all-wheel-drive system, the G90's four Intelligent Drive Modes (Eco, Smart, Sport and Individual) recalibrate the steering, stability control, engine and transmission response, and the adaptive suspension.
The G90 and G80 will be joined by an additional four models by 2020. They will be sold in a select number of Hyundai dealerships and offer exclusive amenities supported by dedicated sales staff.
Edmunds says: After dipping its toe in the water for a few years with the Genesis sedan, the G90 is the brand's first all-in effort to take on the established luxury brands from Germany and Japan. Expect to see some unique features and dealer amenities as the G90 attempts to lure luxury buyers away from their favorite brands.