Behind the Wheel

2020 Genesis G90 Review: Perhaps the best luxury sedan alternative to the Germans

The Genesis G90 has gotten a fresh face and interior enhancementns for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

People generally buy big, expensive luxury sedans for one of two reasons. Either they want to show everyone else how they've made it, or they want to reward themselves for how they've made it. Or, both.

Whether you're a lawyer or a doctor or a publishing magnate, plunking down the cash (or, more likely, signing a lease) for a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series shows that you are (or want to pretend like you are) at the top.

2020 Genesis G90 The Genesis G90 is a very large sedan that comfortably seats four adults.Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

But if you're more concerned about your personal comfort rather than brand cachet and what everyone else at the country club thinks — or you want everyone else at the country club to think you're clever and responsible with your money (showing off is complicated) — you have more choice. Like the 2020 Genesis G90, which is perhaps the best luxury sedan alternative to the Germans available today.

Most importantly, the G90 has presence. It's absolutely massive, with a huge grille up front with a winged Genesis badge atop the hood. I still find the badge a little lacking in panache but it works well on this car, especially at night when an illuminated version of it is beamed onto the ground by the doors.

And the G90 has luxury in spades. Every safety feature is here, including Hyundai's excellent active lane-keeping assist feature that I've praised before. It allows you to take your hands off the wheel for 10-15 seconds at a time (on well-marked roads with good visibility) and the car can maintain your place in the center of the lane and even handle corners for you.

2020 Genesis G90 Rear-seat legroom is akin to business class seating on an airplane - perhaps better.Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

There's also a particularly excellent 360-degree surround view camera so you can see everything going on around the car, which is roughly the size of a medium-size barge. Continuing the gargantuan theme, there's a 12.3-inch center-stack touch screen that is one of the best-looking I've seen on a car. And, perhaps more importantly, it's fast to respond and easy to navigate. It's basically a reskinned version of Hyundai's infotainment system, which isn't a bad thing but I might have hoped for something a little fancier.

Speaking of fancy, I have to spend a little time talking about the interior. The G90 is a flagship luxury sedan, and the inside is where those cars really shine. The 22-way power driver's seat deserves particular praise, with lovely quilted Nappa leather and a very interesting seating program.

The ergonomic seats in the Genesis are certified by the Aktion Gesunder Rücken — German for "Campaign for Healthier Backs" — an organization of back specialists and medical professionals that gives its seal of approval to back-friendly products after a rigorous evaluation. There's even a mode that will automatically adjust the driver's seat and steering wheel to the most ergonomic position for your height, weight, and inseam length. It was a modest change from my manually-adjusted position — tilted back a bit more and slightly further away than normal — but after an hour or so, I realized it actually was more comfortable, only now I wish I had this feature in every car as I can't quite replicate it exactly. Alas.

2020 Genesis G90 The seats in the most premium level of the G90 feature quilting. Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The engine is the same 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 as the G70 sports sedan I drove a few months ago, making 365 horsepower sent through an 8-speed automatic to an all-wheel drive system. It's not a head-snapping amount of oomph, but it more than gets the job done. If you're looking to zip along even faster, there's a V8 engine option that's totally unnecessary. But then, most of this car is unnecessary.

That's what flagship luxury sedans are all about. Do you need rear seats that recline and first-class levels of footroom? Not really. What about screens on the back of the seats and three zones of climate control and a CO2 sensor that notices if the cabin doesn't have enough oxygen and will bring in more fresh air to compensate? I guess not, though that CO2 sensor thing sounds pretty cool.

2020 Gennesis G90 Seating for every passenger is abundantly comfortable. Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Your diminishing returns on an automobile purchase starts in earnest around $45,000, and by the time you get to the rarefied air of a $75,695 car like the Genesis G90, you're paying for many wildly unnecessary things. But that's the point. Even more the point, that's about $25k less than the competition in this segment and you'd never know it — more importantly, the Jones's down at the country club won't either. At least until they go to buy one.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Bugatti Bolide is a concept car that pushes the limits of what is possible for the super luxury automaker.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

What if Bugatti developed a track-focused hyper sports car? Lotus is doing it. So is McLaren. Ferrari and Lamborghini? Been there, done that.

The Bugatti Bolide concept car pushes the limits of what Bugatti is capable of. It's derived from production cars but doesn't stick to the formula. It has a weight-to-power ratio of only 0.67 kilograms per horsepower.

"Bugatti stands for the continuous quest for technological innovations – in alignment with the company's brand values of excellence, courage, dedication. And Bugatti never stands still. We are perpetually aiming for new and exciting goals, and the question that we always keep in mind is: what if?" said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti.

Bugatti Bolide The car takes its design inspiration from historic planes.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

In the concept, Bugatti has used its 8.0-liter W16 engine, which delivers 1,850 PS (1,824 horsepower) and 1,805 nM (1,364 pound-feet) of torque to move the Bolide1's 1,240-kilogram (2,733-pound) body. Bugatti clocks the model's top speed as being almost on-par with that of Formula One cars, well above 500 kilometers per hour (310 mph) and confirms that the weight and speed do not impact the car's agility.

The Bolide takes 3:07.1 minutes to complete a lap of Le Mans and 5:23.1 minutes to get around the Nordschleife.

"We asked ourselves how we could realize the mighty W16 engine as a technical symbol of the brand in its purest form – with solely four wheels, engine, gearbox, steering wheel and, as the only luxury, two seats," said Winkelmann.

"Important aspects of our considerations were fine-tuning our iconic powertrain without any limitations as regards the weight-to-power ratio. These considerations resulted in the Bugatti Bolide. An uncompromising experiment, a thoroughbred, a Pur Sang that, in its brute exclusivity, impresses above all with high performance, low weight, and a driving experience in a whole new dimension. Driving the Bolide is like riding on a cannonball."

Bugatti Bolide The front of the car is very familiar to Bugatti fans.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Importantly, the car meets FIA's safety requirements. These include HANS device compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system, a towing device, pressure refuelling with fuel bladder, central locks for the wheels, lightweight polycarbonate windows, and a six-point harness system.

"All of Bugatti's expertise has been condensed into the Bugatti Bolide. It is therefore an innovative information source for future technologies. The Bolide is thus more than just an intellectual exercise," said Stefan Ellrott, member of the Board of Management of Bugatti and Head of Technical Development.

"In terms of technology and organization, the Bolide was one of the most ambitious projects of my career," says Frank Götzke, head of new technologies at Bugatti. Before working to develop the Bolide1, Götzke played an integral role in the development of the Veyron 16.4 and the Chiron5. It took Götzke just eight months to create the new model.

Modifications to existing equipment include a de-throttling of the intake and exhaust system to allow for faster response. The engine features four newly developed turbochargers that have optimized blades that are designed to build up boost pressure and power while the engine is running at a higher speed. The oil circuit, oil pressure, check valves, baffles, oil tanks, oil reservoirs, and pump design of the dry sump lubrication have been optimized.

Bugatti Bolide The interior of the car is relatively bare bones to assist with lightweighting.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

The Bolide features air-to-air cooling rather than a water-to-air setup. Water is then pre-cooled for optimal performance. Newly developed and hybrid carbon titanium turbofan radial compressors ventilate and cool the high-performance racing brake system.

The engine is a big part of the equation, but not all. In order to achieve such a low power-to-weight ratio, Bugatti had to look for weight savings wherever possible. All screen and fastening elements are made of titanium. Hollow, thin-walled functional components made of an aerospace titanium alloy are used in many places, having been constructed using a 3D printer, which enabled their 0.5 millimeter thickness.

One of the most interesting parts of the Bolide is its roof. Its outer layer is morphable. Bugatti explains: "If the vehicle is driven at a slow speed, the surface of the scoop remains smooth. In contrast, a field of bubbles bulges out when driven at fast speeds. This reduces the aerodynamic drag of the scoop by 10 percent and ensures a 17 percent reduction in lift forces."

The Bolide uses racing brakes with ceramic discs and coatings. The calipers weigh just 2.4 kilograms (5.2 pounds) each. Bugatti has given the model front forged magnesium rims with central lock that weigh in at 7.4 kilograms (15.4 pounds) while the rear rims weigh inn at 8.4 kilograms (18.5 pounds). It rides on very wide tires - 340 millimeters on the front axle and 400 millimeters on the rear.

Bugatti Bolide

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

The car's light monococque is made of carbon while the front end flange is made of the same. The strength of the carbon fibers is akin to what is used in the aerospace industry and is significantly stronger than what can be found in cars on the road today.

Bugatti's speedster is just 995 millimeters (39.1 inches) high, the same height as the historic Bugatti Type 35.

The Bolide is one of the most aerodynamic and challenging models that Achim Anscheidt, director of design at Bugatti, has taken on. His design for the car was inspired by the so-called X-planes of aviation history. This is most apparent at the tail end of the model. It is indirectly reminiscent of the Bell X-1 jet aircraft which was flown by Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager 1947, the first person to break the sound barrier at Mach 1.06.

Only around 40 percent of the surfaces of the model are painted, coated in a re-interpretation of the historic French Racing Blue.

"Fifteen years ago, Bugatti succeeded in creating a new segment with the Veyron 16.4: that of the superior hyper sports car. With the Chiron launched in 2016, we systematically developed this segment further. The models bear witness to power and elegance, uniquely combining technology, design, luxury, and quality in a hitherto unknown combination," explains Anscheidt. "In contrast, the Bugatti Bolide is an absolute rebel. It is clear to see that its only aim is to convey the pure power of the W16 engine in a visually and technically unadulterated form. Reduced, raw, and authentic – like freshly-caught sashimi".

Whether the Bugatti Bolide will go into series production, has not been decided yet.

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The Genesis GV70 will go on sale in the U.S. in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The first Genesis GV70 debuted with little fanfare but all the looks, charm, and charisma of the GV80, but smaller. It joins the rapidly expanding Genesis lineup alongside the G70, G80, and G90 sedans and below the the GV80. Like all other Genesis models, it will be based on a rear-wheel drive platform.

"Genesis continues to build on our solid foundation with the addition of new and exciting products to our lineup," said Mark Del Rosso, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Motor North America. "We recently launched our first-ever SUV, the flagship GV80, with U.S. deliveries beginning in the next thirty days. Now, with the upcoming release of the dynamic GV70 and a further diversified product portfolio, Genesis will be able to reach an even broader audience of American consumers."

2022 Genesis GV70 Sport

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Genesis says that the GV70 gets its name from the following formula: the "G" stands for Genesis and "V" stands for versatility.

Like the sedans and SUV already in the Genesis lineup, the GV70 features the company's crest grille at the front. The grille takes it shape from the Genesis logo. One this model, it's set lower than on the GV80, and below the Quad Lamp headlights to give the GV70 the look of a sporty crossover.

Muscular rear fenders and a coupe-like roofline give the GV70 an athletic appearance. There's a chrome line to the C-pillar to accentuate the sportiness and exude a sense of elegance.

Quad Lamp taillights are set into the bumper, which also features a G-Matrix pattern applied to it. The Muffler is vertical-shaped and the SUV features a body-colored diffuser.

The Genesis G70 Sport variant takes the looks of the model even further. This SUV has an exclusive front bumper, 21-inch G-Matrix pattern-applied wheels, dark chrome garnishes, and a large diameter exhaust. The Sport model's interior features exclusive colors and trim, including a sport steering wheel and carbon-fiber appointed consoles and doors.

"The audaciously designed new GV70 breaks new ground for Genesis through purity of design execution. This follows the Genesis G80 and GV80 which demonstrated the perfect balance of our design identity 'Athletic Elegance,'" said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Genesis Design."

He added "The new GV70 inherits the Genesis design DNA including signature elements, such as the Wing Face and Two Lines. Along with the G70, the athletic 70-series line-up expands our design territory. As a luxury brand based in Korea, we are excited to offer the 'Beauty of White Space', Genesis' contemporary spatial experience exclusively to our customers."

The first GV70 is expected to arrive in the United States in calendar year 2021. The GV80 starts at $48,900. Expect the GV70 to have a MSRP far below that starting price.

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