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Genesis goes S-Class hunting with G90

Fresh start: The Genesis G90 is the first all-new model launched by the fledgling premium brand, but it is unlikely to be offered in Australia due to left-hand-drive only production.

Hyundai's Genesis sub-brand launches first salvo at BMW, Benz with G90 sedan


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10 Dec 2015

HYUNDAI'S freshly launched Genesis sub-brand has ripped the covers off its G90 flagship that will go head-to-head with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS at the top end of the premium segment.

The G90 – or EQ900 as it is known in its South Korean home market – will sit above the 5 Series-sized Genesis sedan, which will change names to G80 from next year.

While the G80 is bound for Australia in 2017, the G90’s future here is unclear.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia public relations general manager Bill Thomas said the car-maker did not know if the G90 would be produced in right-hand drive, but added that it was unlikely given the expected low volumes for a car of this size.

Mr Thomas said the other future Genesis models, included a pair of SUVs and a BMW 3 Series-sized sedan, are more likely to be offered to RHD markets, such as Australia.

The G90 is 89mm longer, 16mm wider and 1mm shorter than the regular-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the Korean car's wheelbase is 125mm longer than the German sedan.

It can swallow 484 litres of cargo in the boot compared with the 535 litres of the Mercedes S350 and 515 litres for the just launched BMW 7 Series.

The G90 follows the same design theme as the Genesis and was penned under the guidance of the company’s chief design officer Peter Schreyer. The company calls the look, Athletic Elegance.

Up front the now-familiar 'crest' grille dominates, and the LED headlights sweep back more dramatically than the Genesis. Hyundai says the long bonnet combined with the short overhangs “accentuates the model's strength”.

A chrome belt line flows to the back of the car with its dual exhausts and vertical tail-lights with a triple L-shaped design.

While the one official image only shows the exterior of the car, the G90 will come with a highly-specified cabin offering high-end luxury features, including specially developed semi-analine seat leather developed with Italy’s Concerio Pasubio. Along with Nappa leather trim and real wood panels.

The South Korean car-maker says the G90 will offer a world-first clinically validated Smart Posture Caring System, which automatically adjusts the seats, exterior mirrors, steering wheel and head-up display “to the optimal position for the driver's body”.

While that feature is for the Korean market only, the rear passenger seats are approved by a German campaign for healthier backs.

In some markets, the G90 will gain a Genesis Smart Sense suite of active safety features that include semi-autonomous Highway Driving Assistance, Advanced Smart Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assistance.

An 800-strong team worked on the G90 over four years, delivering what the car-maker says is “best-in-class refinement”, due in part to the extensive work on noise, vibration and harshness levels.

The vehicle has been put through its paces at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany and at the Mojave test centre in the United States.

G90 will have a choice of three powertrains, starting with a naturally aspirated 3.8-litre V6 GDI petrol engine that produces 232kW/397Nm – the same unit that powers the Australian-spec Genesis sedan – and covers the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.9 seconds.

In the middle is a 3.3-litre turbocharged V6 that pumps out 272kW/510Nm, ensuring a 6.2-second 0-100km/h dash, while the flagship gets a 313kW/520Nm 5.0-litre V8 that covers the same distance in 5.7s.

All variants are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The G90 is rear-wheel drive, but a version with the optional H-TRAC all-wheel drive system includes the first application of the Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension.

The G90 will go on sale in Korea next year, followed by the United States, China and Russia.

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