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.
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.
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.
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.
Under the Bonnet
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.
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.
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.
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.