An interesting comparison article that puts the G90 against the Volvo S60 Polestar. It takes a look at how Genesis and Volvo took completely different routes to give their large sedans over 400 hp.
Genesis has their naturally aspirated 5.0-litre, quad-cam V8 (420 hp & 383 lb.-ft. of torque) while Volvo has their hybrid four-cylinder engine that's turbocharged and supercharged (415 hp & 494 lb.-ft torque)
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The Genesis G90 and Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered are two very different cars with one unique similarity: they’re both flagship products for their respective brands. Each is a compelling way to spend the better part of six figures on something that’s loaded-as-she-goes, standing out as a top-line product in its automaker’s portfolio.
The G90 Ultimate? It’s the top-dog unit from Korean automaker Genesis. The S60 Polestar Engineered? It’s Volvo’s highest-performing sedan. Both machines pack a meaty punch, with 420 horsepower from the G90, and just five less from the Volvo. Thing is, both machines go about developing their nearly-identical amounts of horsepower in very different ways.
The G90 rolls along with a strong presence, as well as some serious winter-driving swagger, thanks to its 5.0-litre, 420-horsepower V8 and H-TRAC all-wheel-drive. If you want big power, big luxury, and even bigger comfort that’s enjoyable in all seasons, it doesn’t get much better than this for the money. The G90 is one of the very best highway cruisers I’ve ever driven; the ride is excellent, and it feels solid, planted, and aptly dialed-in for the driver who wants a rolling luxury lounge where they can comfortably decompress and socialize on the go, with space to spare. If you want something sportier, you have better options for roughly $90,000, but that figure isn’t as hefty as you think thanks to the exhaustive list of standard equipment.
Under the hood, the G90 is all motor: a 5.0-litre, quad-cam V8 with 32 variable valves. No turbo, no supercharger, no hybrid. It’s a very effective conventional modern V8, and one of the last of its kind. Drivers get get 420 free-breathing horsepower, 383 lb.-ft. of torque, and the sort of creamy smooth operation and tastefully restrained sounds that signal the precision engineering behind how velvety this engine is. It’s an ideal match for the driver who just plain loves a V8 engine that likes to breathe, but one they won’t hear much from unless they really get it spinning fast.
Next, the S60 Polestar Engineered. It starts a bit beneath the G90, at roughly $81,000. With 415 horsepower, this top-thrust S60 variant is slightly outgunned by the 420 served up by the Genesis, though the Volvo is the torque champion here, with 494 lb.-ft. compared to the G90’s 383. The Volvo is also smaller and lighter, by several hundred pounds.
The S60 Polestar Engineered lacks the exciting V8’s power curve of the G90, which sees the acceleration swell and surge as the revs climb and the lovely soundtrack seeps in. The G90 is more dramatic and engaging when pushed; the sounds are more potent, the power output grows distinctively across the revs, and drivers feel it growing and surging in the seat of their pants. Though the S60 Polestar Engineered is technically faster, the G90 feels — to me, at least — more powerful and exciting when you get it working.
The S60 weighs less and packs a lot more torque, thanks to the electric motor that serves as the sole means of driving the rear wheels. With an electrified torque boost, power hits harder and faster for a more urgency and response. The power arrives largely at once, and that’s it — no rising action. It’s more of a great big shove that stays on strong. It might be faster, but on sound effects, Volvo’s little four-cylinder just don’t stir the enthusiasts soul as much as that V8 in the G90.
But as mentioned, the S60 Polestar Engineered is the faster machine. It does the zero to 100 km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds, and that’s nearly BMW M3/M4 territory. The bigger and heavier G90 takes about a second longer, but it delivers what you’ll likely find the more exciting experience doing it.
The Volvo is also the more high-tech option here, and it shows in the numbers. The batteries that drive the rear motor self-recharge automatically as you drive. Since it’s a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), you can even plug in to store a few dozen kilometers worth of electricity that gives you gasoline-free driving for a short while. By the way, the charging happens whenever you find it convenient — as long as you’ve got gas in the tank, you’ve got full power output and you’re ready to go.
And while the electrified driveline is a performance and torque enhancement, it’s also why the S60 Polestar Engineered uses so much less fuel than the Genesis, while turning out similar power and even more torque. With that V8, the G90 drinks an average of 13 L/100 kilometres in combined driving. With its heavily enhanced four-cylinder, the S60 Polestar Engineered sees that figure drop to just under eight. Plus, with short-range, all-electric capability after a recharge, you can probably get through your daily commute or errands using no fuel at all.
So, which is better? A boosted and electrified four-cylinder, or an exciting and engaging V8 engine that’s thirstier but has much more personality? That depends on what you like. The Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered is faster, smarter, and easier on fuel thanks to its more modern powertrain, but on pure sensation and sound effects, I’d say the G90 offers the more exciting engine to push.
As overall packages, it’s apples to oranges. Both machines are compelling ways to spend the dollars, with the G90 perfect for cruising confidently while you relax, and the S60 Polestar Engineered offering a more athletic overall drive, with rocket-thruster torque for the enthusiast motorist who wants to try something electrified. That’s two powerful cars, two different ways. It’s always nice to have choices.