The Genesis G90, Motor Trend’s car of the year, is a $100K fusion of rock and opera
Following his band’s iconic performance during Live Aid at London’s Wembley Stadium, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury had an idea: He wanted to perform a concert in Barcelona with Montserrat Caballe, one of the world’s premiere opera singers. Barcelona-born Caballe was an unlikely duet partner for flamboyant Zanzibar-born Mercury, but this welding of rock and opera made magic.
Transfer that ethos to four wheels and you have the Genesis G90, a Korean car born to rock traditional players from Germany and Japan.
Genesis’ enormous cross-hatch grille is flanked by twin strips of LED headlamps extending into the front fenders, but its most enchanting elements are the gently rear-sloping beltline and upwardly angled windowline that give a sense of motion with contemporary formality. Add to those chiseled bodylines and narrow wrap-around taillamps — all placed over 21-inch wheels.
It’s a unique, yet beautiful composition.
The G90’s fusion of rock and opera continues inside where soft Nappa leather, sueded headliners and sustainable wood veneers conspire with twin screen infotainment, wireless phone charging and drenching 26-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio that recreates the acoustics of Boston Symphony Hall. Front seats heat, cool and massage. Same for the rear. And a “mood curator” adjusts ambient lighting, audio and fragrance to your desire.
2023 Genesis G90
Five-passenger, AWD Sedan
• Cultured Style
• Divine audio
• Sublime driving experience
• CarPlay/Auto not wireless
• Middling fuel economy
• Aspirational price
Powertrain: 3.5-liter SCV6, 8-spd trans
Output: 409hp/405 lb.-ft. torque
Suspension f/r: Air Ind/Ind
Wheels f/r: 21-inch/21-inch alloy
Brakes f/r: disc/disc
Must-have features: Style, Power
0-60 mph: 5.1s
Fuel economy: 17/24 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Ulsan, Korea
Base/As-tested price: $88,400/100,370
My daughter, who’s expressed her own inner queen from the rear seats of some spectacular sedans, was impressed with the right rear extendable footrest, power window shades, panoramic sunroof and touch controls in the console. Rear seats even get their own climate setting, and the air suspension has a chauffeur mode that insured nothing pierced her sanctuary.
Safety is paramount. Assisting drivers is a head-up display, adaptive cruise with steering inputs and blind spot cameras. Automatic emergency braking, rear cross path detection and lane keep assist help, too. Going farther are ultrasonic rear seat detectors for kids and Safe Exit Assist that prevents passengers from stepping into traffic.
Mercury was known for his supercharged performances while Caballe was known for her smooth vocals. The G90’s powertrain matches both. In top trim, the G90 duets a 3.5-liter V6 with an electric supercharger. Shifted through an 8-speed transmission, the powertrain conjures 409 horsepower and 405 lb.-ft. of torque — plenty to raise the G90’s prow as it traces fast motorways. Press gently to see 17/24 MPG city/highway.
It’s a delightful car to drive across any stage. The air suspension wafts along on smooth roads but can be clicked into Sport mode if you want a faster sprint. Rear wheel steering maneuvers The Queen Mary like a compact in tight driveways. Getting a prized passenger in and out of a concert venue — or tight downtown parking — is effortless. And when weather turns ugly, all-wheel-drive pushes through.
In the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, we’re given a glimpse of a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow taking Freddie Mercury to the Wimbledon concert. The Mercedes S-Class was arguably a better car, but the Rolls dispensed its past with unibody construction and a streamlined body that predicted the brand’s future.
The G90 makes a similar break from Genesis past, earning it Motor Trend’s 2023 Car of the Year honors while employing panache and tech that equally satisfy a rock star or opera diva.
You may need their incomes to afford the G90’s base price of $88,400 or, ahem, $100,370 as-tested. Competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS cost considerably more.
Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.