Although associated with economy cars in the U.S., Hyundai has a different reputation in Asia, marketing and selling a premium luxury sedan called the Equus. With the 2011 update of the Equus, Hyundai is bringing it here, ready to compete with the likes of Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
German car makers established the executive sedan class with the Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, and Audi A8. Lexus joined in with the LS, and now Hyundai steps into this rarefied atmosphere with the Equus, a car that will probably undercut its more expensive competition by $30k to $40k.
The Equus uses a 4.6-liter V-8 with continuous variable valve timing, producing 385 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque. This engine moves the car easily, with the kind of power luxury buyers would expect.
The automatic transmission, from ZF, has 6 speeds. Although it has a manual mode, there is no sport mode on the transmission itself. Rather, pushing a button on the console engages sport mode fro the transmission, suspension, and vehicle stability electronics.
In Ultimate trim, the Equus gets these big rear seats. The right-hand seat has a massage function, operated by a remote control. The Ultimate trim only has room for four, while the Signature trim gets a bench seat in the rear.