Don’t call it a Hyundai: Newly-crowned Genesis brand unveils G90 luxury flagship

In November, Hyundai promised to transform its Genesis nameplate from a simple vehicle designation into a bonafide luxury division, and at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, the automaker delivered.

The newly-christened Genesis brand officially launched its G90 flagship sedan at the event, and although pricing information has not been disclosed, it is slated to compete at the top of the U.S. premium segment with titans like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and BMW. The vehicle is one of great significance, as its success or failure could foreshadow the future of an entire company.

Styling-wise, the G90 looks similar to the current Hyundai Genesis sedan, which will be renamed G80 to minimize confusion. The G90 boasts a decidedly more upscale aesthetic though, with its larger “CREST” grill, full LED light kit, redesigned rear lamps, and extensive set of chrome jewelry. It’s also noticeably larger than the Genesis at 204.9 inches long and 58.8 inches high. It’s in the cabin, however, where the G90 makes its strongest argument for a spot in the luxury bracket.

The four-door’s interior is lathered with top-shelf materials like Nappa leather real wood accents. In fact it’s almost Mercedes-like inside right down to the 12.3-inch display screen’s DIS control knob. Passengers will have access to a variety of convenience features as well such as heated and cooled front power seats, “Stressless” rear seats, ambient mood lighting, and a premium Lexicon sound system with 17 speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. For the driver, Hyundai’s suite of Smart Sense technology adds an autonomous safety net, which includes automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, driver attention alerts, and adaptive cruise control with start/stop capability.

Powering the car will be one of two engines — a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 (Hyundai’s first) with 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, or a 5.0-liter V8 with 420 hp and 383 lb-ft. of torque. Rear-wheel drive comes standard on the luxury car, but all-wheel drive is optional. Both powerplants bolt up to an eight-speed automatic.

Hyundai is expected to launch a total of six Genesis vehicles by 2020, including the G90, a smaller G70 sedan, an entry-level sedan, a two-door sports car, a small crossover, and a large SUV.