2022 Genesis G90 vs. 2022 Mercedes S-Class: Can the Luxury Sedan Upstart Beat the King?

Genesis G90 vs. Mercedes S-Class comparison highlights:

  • The 2022 Genesis G90 and 2022 Mercedes S-Class are their respective brands’ flagship sedans
  • Significantly cheaper than the S-Class, the 2022 G90 doesn’t have quite as many technological flourishes, nor is its interior as fancy, but it offers similar premium touches
  • It’s expensive, but the 2022 S-Class continues to be a luxury benchmark—and that’s before you include the Maybach models

It’s the new kid on the luxury car block, relatively speaking, but Genesis has quickly become a strong player on the scene. The 2021 GV80 is MotorBiscuit’s SUV of the Year, for example, while the GV70 and G70 both earned MotorTrend accolades. But the competition won’t let the Korean brand have its own way. And the Genesis G90 faces some particularly stiff opposition in the form of a luxury car benchmark: the Mercedes S-Class. So, for 2022, does the S-Class still wear the luxury crown, or does the G90 knock it off?

2022 Genesis G902022 Mercedes S-Class
Price Range$74,950-$81,200$111,100-$184,900 (not including S 680)
Engine Options3.3T: 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6
5.0: 5.0-liter V8
S 500: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with mild-hybrid assist
S 580, Maybach S 580: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with mild-hybrid assist
Maybach S 680: 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12
Horsepower3.3T: 365 hp
5.0: 420 hp
S 500: 429 hp
S 580, Maybach S 580: 496 hp
Maybach S 680: 621 hp
Torque3.3T: 376 lb-ft
5.0: 383 lb-ft
S 500: 384 lb-ft
S 580, Maybach S 580: 516 lb-ft
Maybach S 680: 738 lb-ft
TransmissionEight-speed automaticNine-speed automatic
Drive TypeRWD
AWD
AWD
0-60 MPH Time3.3T RWD: 5.1 seconds (MotorTrend)
5.0 RWD: 5.4 seconds (MotorTrend)
S 500: 4.8 seconds
S 580: 4.4 seconds
Maybach S 580: 4.7 seconds
Maybach S 680: 4.4 seconds
MPG Rating3.3T: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway
5.0 RWD: 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway
5.0 AWD: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
S 500: 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway
S 580: 16 mpg city/25 mpg highway
Maybach S 580: 15 mpg city/24 mpg highway
Maybach S 680: Not yet rated
IIHS Safety RatingTop Safety Pick+
Crashworthiness: Good
Crash avoidance & mitigation: Good
Child seat anchors: Acceptable
Not yet rated
NHTSA Safety RatingNot yet rated Not yet rated

2022 Genesis G90

A maroon 2022 Genesis G90 in front of a house
2022 Genesis G90 | Genesis
  • Pros: Significantly cheaper than the S-Class, lots of standard features, high safety rating, stylish design
  • Cons: Interior not quite as sharp as the exterior for 2022, less powerful, V8 doesn’t offer performance benefits, loses a few handling and tech points to the S-Class

Although its sales don’t necessarily reflect the fact, the G90 is the Genesis flagship sedan. And no, Genesis isn’t killing the G90. It’s actually getting a significant update for 2023 that addresses some repeated criticisms, which we’ll cover shortly. But the 2022 G90 is identical to the 2021 model.

However, even though it’s unchanged from 2021, the 2022 Genesis G90 offers a lot for luxury car buyers. You get a comfortable, if not exactly opulent, leather-upholstered interior, wood trim, a long list of standard safety features, plenty of luxury features, and a few neat tricks. For example, the 22-way driver’s seat adjusts itself based on your height, weight, and inseam, MT says.

And much like Genesis’ other models, the 2022 G90 makes a strong case for itself based on value. You could buy a fully-loaded G90 5.0 AWD and most of a 2022 G70 for the price of a base 2022 Mercedes S-Class. Or you could buy a used S-Class and a 2022 Genesis G90 5.0 AWD for the price of a 2022 S 500.

2022 Mercedes S-Class

A green 2022 Mercedes S 500 4Matic S-Class Sedan on a cobbled city street
2022 Mercedes S 500 4Matic S-Class Sedan | Mercedes-Benz
  • Pros: The established luxury sedan standard-bearer, tons of luxury and safety tech, standard AWD, huge screen, a hood ornament’s still available
  • Cons: Significantly more expensive even before options, doesn’t break new automotive ground

As the G90 is Genesis, the S-Class is to Mercedes. Now in its seventh generation, the S-Class has a well-established reputation in the luxury car world built on quality, comfort, and technology. And that’s before you even get into the Maybach version.

The 2022 Mercedes S-Class isn’t significantly different than the 2021 model. It has the same powertrains, trim levels, and yes, a bulletproof version is still available. However, the 2022 model does have a few notable tweaks and upgrades.

Firstly, in honor of Maybach’s 100th birthday, there’s a new limited-edition model, the Edition 100. Secondly, the 2022 Mercedes S-Class’s MBUX infotainment system now comes standard with Interior Assistant gesture control in front as well as proximity awareness for the rear-seat passengers, Car and Driver says. Also, the sedan now offers Mercedes’ E-Active Body Control, which links air springs with hydraulic dampers that adapt on a per-wheel basis. Plus, the 2022 S-Class has a few extra interior and exterior color options. And you can now order the Maybach S-Class with a V12.

2022 Genesis G90 vs. 2022 Mercedes S-Class: Trim levels and features

The 2022 Genesis G90 is only available in two trims, 3.3T Premium and 5.0 Ultimate, in RWD and AWD form. Although the V8 model adds some rear-passenger-friendly features, it’s not like the V6-powered G90 is barren.

All G90s come standard with Nappa leather, wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, and a 12.3” center touchscreen, Autotrader reports. A wireless charging pad, power sunroof, heads-up display, power sunshades, ambient lighting, and three-zone automatic climate control also come standard. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation are standard, too. And if you do go up to the 2022 Genesis G90 5.0, you also get ventilated power-adjustable rear seats and two 10.3” HD screens.

As for the 2022 Mercedes S-Class, its trim offerings are model-dependent. The Maybach, for example, has no trims (apart from the Edition 100). Meanwhile, the S 580 offers three trims: Luxury Line, AMG Line, and Executive Line. The S 500 only offers the first two.

Fully-loaded, a 2022 S 580 Executive Line costs around $150,000; basically, two G90 5.0 AWDs. However, even the base 2022 S 500 offers a few luxury advantages over the G90. For example, it has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 12.8” center touchscreen. Also, it has adjustable air suspension, augmented-reality navigation, corner-adaptive LED headlights, soft-close doors, and massaging seats.

Interestingly, the 2022 Genesis G90 does score some minor victories over the base Mercedes S-Class here. For one, the S 500 only has 15 speakers, rather than 17. Secondly, Nappa leather is optional on the S 500, as are rear-seat screens, Car and Driver notes. And if you want electronically-adjustable rear seats in the S-Class, you need to get the S 580 Executive Line, Autotrader claims. Doing so does give you even more safety features, though.

2022 Genesis G90 vs. 2022 Mercedes S-Class: Safety features

Speaking of safety, the Mercedes S-Class has long been a safety paragon, and the 2022 model is no exception. As standard, the 2022 S 500 has adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. And it has a 360° camera system, parking assist, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and a dashcam. But that’s just the start.

It also has SAE Level 2 semi-autonomy as standard as well as Pre Safe Plus and Pre Safe Sound. The former feature automatically closes the windows and sunroof, tightens the seatbelts, and applies the brakes before a collision. As for the latter, it blasts a sound to trigger a protective reflex in your ear so the collision noise doesn’t damage your hearing, Autotrader explains. And if your 2022 Mercedes S-Class has E-Active Body Control, it automatically raises itself slightly before a T-bone collision. Thus, the other vehicle hits a stronger part of the S-Class’s chassis, minimizing the risk to the occupants.

To be fair, neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has crash-tested a 2022 S-Class yet. But the IIHS has consistently given the G90 strong safety scores. The 2022 Genesis G90 continues that legacy and packs a sizable standard ADAS suite. That suite includes a 360° camera system, front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, and Highway Driving Assist. This bundles adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and the navigation system into a Level 2 suite. So, while it doesn’t have all the S-Class’s safety tricks, it nails the basics just as well.

2022 Genesis G90 vs. 2022 Mercedes S-Class: Driving

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Behind the wheel, it’s difficult to describe the 2022 Genesis G90 as anything but comfy. To paraphrase MotorTrend, it’s like the spiritual successor to the Lincoln Town Car.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, to be clear. And while the G90 is significantly cheaper than the S 500, it doesn’t give up much when it comes to refinement. Both engines offer effortless acceleration thanks to plenty of low-end torque, the sedan’s ride quality is excellent, and the interior is quiet and, well, comfortable. Plus, while it rolls a bit in the corners, overall, the G90 feels stable and planted, with precise steering, Car and Driver says.

However, while the 2022 Genesis G90 is stylish on the outside, its interior is a bit bland, especially compared to the S-Class’s cabin. The upcoming 2023 G90 should rectify this handily, but that doesn’t help the 2022 model. Also, while the G90’s infotainment isn’t the worst in the business, it’s not on the MBUX system’s level.

Admittedly, the 2022 Mercedes S-Class isn’t perfect. Its exterior styling is arguably too understated, and it doesn’t differentiate itself significantly from its EQS sibling. And some of its switchgear feels a bit cheap, MotorTrend adds.

Yet even with its near-$190K price, the Maybach S-Class is worth the price of entry. All the 2022 Mercedes S-Class models are, in fact. The S 500’s air springs and rear-axle steering give it solid handling without compromising the stellar ride quality. And then there are the subtle touches, like the automatically-extending door handles and automatic rear spotlights. The S-Class still has a sense of occasion that the G90 doesn’t quite match.

Hence why, although it ranked the 2022 Genesis G90 at #4 on its list of full-size luxury sedans, MotorTrend put the S-Class at #1.

Does the usurper overthrow the luxury sedan king?

Although the 2022 Genesis G90 is a solid luxury car, it’s not quite on the Mercedes S-Class’s level. The German sedan is still a benchmark for the segment, even at, or perhaps because of its high price tag.

If you do want to save some cash, though the G90 gets fairly close to the S 500, equipment-wise. And the 2023 model’s updates might tip next year’s comparison to the Korean sedan. But for now, the S-Class keeps its crown.

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