Presence: The 2020 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Never before have I been as conflicted about a car as I am the 2020 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate.
Don't get me wrong---I LOVE it. It is officially on my list of cars that if I had the money, I'd buy and if they forgot to come get it after a weeklong test, I'd be just fine driving every day for the rest of my life.
What's driving me crazy is my brain trying to position it. Is it a one-third price Bentley? Is it simply a head-to-head but completely different competitor to the similarly-priced ($250 less at base price), similarly-powered (two horsepower less) Lexus LS 500?
Or---and I mean this in the best possible way, though someone will certainly take it as heresy---is it the 2020 interpretation of the 1970 Imperial LeBaron?
Both the '70 Imperial and the 2020 G90 are huge, physically imposing luxury cars that have seriously powerful engines under their hoods (that was a 440 cubic inch v8 in the Imperial), yet are stunningly smooth and quiet machines.
Under the hood of the G90 Ultimate, it's a 5.0-liter V8 with 420 horsepower, an eight-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC and paddle shifters, intelligent drive mode with smart shift, an adaptive control suspension with electronic damping control and 19-inch alloy wheels on P245/45R19 tires up front and P27540R19s at the rear.
Zero to 60 happens in five seconds. The EPA fuel economy estimate is 16 miles per gallon city, 24 highway.
Interior accommodations are top-notch---this is where the Bentley comparison starts to outweigh the Imperial.
The base price of the 2020 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate is $75,700. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the standard features at that price are Nappa leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped dash with genuine matte finish wood trim, a 22-way power driver's seat, a three-zone automatic temperature control and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system.
And....that's it. Zero extra-cost options. So, with $995 inland freight and handling, the as-tested price for our 2020 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate is $76,695. So while the G90 started out $250 more expensive than the 2020 Lexus LS 500 we reviewed on the old TireKicker site back in January, it ended up being almost $32,000 less expensive after Lexus piled on the options. Thats right---the LS 500 ended up at $108,490.
And yet, it's the G90 that feels more special. Even at roughly even prices, I'd go with the Genesis. I'll sort out the Bentley/Imperial quandry over many years of ownership.