Short answer: No.
However, for some purposes, such as turning on several lights at the same time, a scene might work, and scenes can be used in automations. But you’d have to have one scene for on and one for off. So not as good as real groups, obviously.
The other approach is what we used to do with the classic app. Create a virtual device to stand in as a proxy for the group. Then have all of the individual lights “mirror“ the proxy. (Of course, that requires one SmartLights automation for each of the lights in the group, which is a lot of work to set up.) Now you can put the proxy into automations and the individual lights will all follow its state for on, off, and Dimming. But it doesn’t work for color temperature.
So it all depends on what you were trying to do. I agree that it’s very odd that this doesn’t already exist in SmartThings.