Hyundai’s Genesis G90 vs Mercedes Benz S Class

The luxury sedan segment has always been a three horse race. Unlike other segments, the luxury sedan section of the automotive market has always been more than just about the car itself; Owning such vehicles has now become a symbol or an aspiration one strives to achieve. As such, a luxury car’s features, design and price are not the only factors for purchase.

The insignia too becomes a vital aspect in the appeal of such cars. However, Hyundai begs to differ. The South Korean car maker has launched a new line of luxury cars under the moniker Genesis to showcase its potential as a luxury car maker. While other car makers such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda have attempted this formula in the past, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi have remained unshaken and the hierarchy remains to be challenged. For Hyundai to pose a significant opposition, the South Korean car maker will need to bring more than its fair share to the table. We pit the Genesis G90 against the Mercedes Benz S Class to see how the new kid on the block fairs.

Design

Genesis G90

The Genesis G90 serves as the successor to the Hyundai Equus. However, the new Genesis shares little to no resemblance to its ungainly ancestor. Unlike most vehicles in Hyundai’s range, the G90 and its lesser brother G80 follow a highly refined variant of the South Korean car maker’s Fluidic Sculpture design philosophy. As a result, the G90 exterior is calming mix of sharp lines and smooth contours as opposed to the vortex of chaos normally churned out by the car manufacturer. The front end features a large hexagonal chrome grille with LED/projector headlights flanking both sides. Following the Fluidic design methodology, every end point of the hexagonal grille acts as the starting point from which the car’s defining lines emerge. The lower bumper features a horizontal chrome strip that houses the LED DRLs. The rear features a pair of chrome lined exhaust tips adding a bit of sportiness to the overall theme of luxury.

The G90 will be first product under Hyundai's Genesis sub-brand
The G90 will be first product under Hyundai’s Genesis sub-brand

Mercedes Benz S Class

The Mercedes Benz S Class is a metal creature of gargantuan proportions. Sadly however, its size may be the only thing going for the S Class. Unlike previous generations that made use of subtle curves and sharp yet understated power lines, the S Class is an awkward mix of wild twists and turns that ultimately shocks more than it pleases.

mercedes benz s class
The all new Mercedes Benz S Class’ design methodology is a radical departure from previous generations

Interior

Genesis G90

The cabin of the Genesis is just as elegant as its exterior. The vast swathes of leather wrapped around the cabin is punctuated by elegant aluminium embellishments and wood work. While this may be Genesis’ first outing in the luxury full size sedan segment, the car maker has pulled all the stops to ensure that the G90’s occupants are enveloped in the most luxurious interior possible.

Mercedes Benz S Class

Similar to the G90, the Mercedes Benz S Class houses one of the most exquisite cabins in the automotive industry. One may even be bold enough to claim that the S Class’ interior showcases the pinnacle of design and sophistication in its segment. Some of the main highlights of the Benz flagship’s cabin are the brushed aluminium finishing, free flowing dashboard and large instrument panel cum infotainment system display.

2014 mercedes benz s class interior
The cabin of the Mercedes Benz S-Class

Under the Bonnet

Genesis G90

The all new Genesis product is offered with two engines. Lower variants of the G90 will house a 3.3 l twin turbocharged V6 that churns out 365 hp and 376lb-ft of peak torque while top end models will be driven by the more capable 5.0 l V8 that puts out an impressive 420 hp with a peak torque figure of 383 lb-ft. Both engines send power to the rear wheels via an eight speed automatic. However, an all wheel drive system is offered as an option. 

Genesis will offer only two engines for the G90 sedan
Genesis will offer only two engines for the G90 sedan

Mercedes Benz S Class

Unlike the relatively small range offered by Hyundai for its all new luxury sedan, Mercedes Benz offers the S Class with engines ranging from a mere 255 hp to a whopping 621 hp. Buyers also have the choice between petrol and diesel. The lowest variant of the Benz packs a 3.0 l turobcharged diesel mill that produces 255 hp and an impressive 620 Nm of torque. The smallest petrol variant is propelled by a mammoth 4.2 l that churns out 453 hp @ 5250 RPM with peak torque of 700 Nm coming in at 1800 RPM.

2014 mercedes benz s class engine
Mercedes Benz’s flagship is offered with a varied range of engines

Benz’s top end AMG line of S Class variants include a 577 hp twin turbocharged V8 and the 621 hp biturbo V12 monster: the German car maker’s crown jewel.

Verdict

Although the Genesis has all the makings of an excellent flagship from Hyundai, the car’s limited engine options and lack of brand value may inhibit its growth as a brand. However, that being said, the Genesis G90 is one of the most elegant cars in its segment and poses a sizable threat to the multitude of Japanese and German car makers that populate this segment.

Face Off: Mercedes Benz S-Class vs BMW 7 Series

Cars in India have mostly been reduced to tools for locomotion. While the budget models do bring in the big bucks, automakers such as Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki have completely departed from the upper segments to focus solely on dominating the A, B and C segments of the Indian market. This trend is now being carried over into luxury car makers such as Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW as well with each manufacturer launching sub 30 lakh hatches and crossovers to woo the Indian buyer base. However, the Germans have not given up on the ultra luxury section of the automotive industry with Mercedes Benz launching what it calls the “Greatest car ever made”. Released in India late last year, the 2015 S-Class is one of the most advanced luxury cars opulence has to offer. Although the all new 7 Series is yet to arrive, how well does the current model stack up against the Benz’s Golden Chariot?

Design:

Mercedes Benz S-Class:

Although Benz has implemented its new design language with finesse on its lower models, the S-Class is on an entirely different plane. Serving as the car maker’s flagship, previous iterations of the luxury sedan have always been quite formal in character lacking any frills and embellishments.However, the new design language calls for a bit more flair. While this may have worked well with cars lower in the German car maker’s range, the new design philosophy simply won’t do. The S-Class may be striking, but one may not term it beautiful. It’s ungainly posture, bloated headlights, flashy grille and the odd combination of organic elements make for an incoherent design.

2014 mercedes benz s class sedan
The new S-Class is rather ungainly in character

BMW 7 Series:

The current gen 7 Series is more of an evolution in design rather than a complete makeover. As a result, the 2014 BMW flagship wears a finely tuned, refined shell characteristic of big Bimmers. With its understated presence and no nonsense styling, the 7 series is a far more elegant offering than the S-Class.

2013 BMW 7 Series front three quarter
The 7 Series’ somber tone and sophisticated presence suits the character of the car quite well

Winner: BMW 7 Series

Interior:

Mercedes Benz S-Class:

For all its exterior design flaws, the S-Class’ cabin is a beautiful place to be in. A blend of quilted leather, aluminum and bewitching ambient lighting envelop its passengers in a cocoon of opulence and magnificence. While the S-Class battles it out with the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 in terms of pricing and size, the interior of the Benz flagship is comparable to ultra luxury cars such as the Bentley Mulsanne and the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II. Few cars make its occupants feel so special.

2014 mercedes benz s class interior
The Mercedes Benz S-Class is the ultimatum when it comes to interior design and comfort

BMW 7 Series:

Similar to the luxury sedan’s exterior, the interior of the new 7 Series adopts an understated look. An ergonomic, business like cabin greets its passengers. However, while the 7 Series’ cabin is just as functional as its Benz rival, passengers may not feel as exclusive as they do in the S-Class.

bmw 7 series cabin
The unimpressive cabin of BMW’s flagship is rather disappointing

Winner: Mercedes Benz S-Class

Under The Hood:

Mercedes Benz S-Class:

The big Merc is offered with some seriously big engines. Offered in both petrol and diesel, buyers have an options between a 3.0 l oil burner and the more potent 4.6 l petrol mill. The 3.0 l diesel unit churns out 255 hp @ 3600 RPM and a peak torque of 620 Nm @ 1600 RPM.
The mammoth 4.6 l petrol engine puts out an impressive 453 hp @ 5250 RPM and a shocking 700 Nm of torque at 1800 RPM. Power is sent to the rear wheels via Benz’s 7G-TRONIC gearbox on both variants.

2014 mercedes benz s class engine
The big Merc is offered with some impressive firepower

BMW 7 Series:

BMW too offers both petrol and diesel engines for the 7 Series here in India. The diesel variant is powered by a 320 hp 3.0 l engine that produces 450 Nm of torque. The 7 Series petrol twin houses a 4.4 l turbocharged unit that churns out 450 hp at 5500 RPM and 650 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM.

2013 bmw 7 series engine
BMW offers more “sensible” engine options for its 7 Series

While both cars offer potent engines under the hood, the S class offers the more entertaining petrol mill.

Winner: Mercedes Benz S-Class

Verdict:

While the 7 Series may seem like the more civilized of the two, the S-Class is the last word on luxury. Although the 7 Series enjoys the privilege of honing years of dseign expertise, the Bavarian flagship fails to impress on the inside. The dull interiors and lack of exotic and bespoke touches lends a pedestrian feel to what should be the very best from BMW.

The S Class however, is God’s own chariot. The epitome of luxury, Mercedes Benz’s flagship wraps its occupants in an exorbitant cloak of wood, leather and aluminium. With the optional AMG madman under the hood, few can match what Benz has to offer with the S-Class.