It certainly looks like a flagship luxury sedan, created to rival established German saloons like the 7 Series and S Class, but it costs roughly half the price and… it’s a Hyundai? Yes, debuting at the New York Auto Show, Hyundai will now offer its flagship luxury sedan from Korea in the U.S. aiming to, “compete with the best luxury sedans in the world on all levels.”
Pricing for the Equus has yet to be locked-down, but Hyundai says it expects to be able to sell the car in the mid $50,000 range. And while the Equus isn’t likely to win over many buyers from Mercedes, the package is an attractive one for Lexus LS shoppers, with the LS460 riced in the mid $60,000 range.
The Equus more than just looks like a proper luxury barge, using a powerful V8 engine and riding on a proper rear-drive architecture (an elongated version of that used for the Genesis Sedan). The Equus is actually 7.2-inches longer than the Genesis at 203.1-inches. That makes it longer than the extended wheelbase Lexus LS, plus it’s wider than either the S-Class or 7 Series.
Motivation for the big sedan comes from Hyundai’s Tau 4.6-liter V8 engine with 385-hp and 324 ft-lbs of torque, mated to 6-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai claims a 0-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds.
Inside, the Equus delivers on its luxury promise (although not to the level of its German counterparts) with leather seats, an Alcantara headliner, wood trim and a leather-wrapped dash with French stitching. The front seats are heated and cooled with an optional massaging driver’s seat.
A luxurious driving feel is also part of the package thanks to an electronically controlled air suspension and Continuous Damping Control that adjusts the suspension to meet the conditions of the road. Both sport and comfort settings are offered so driver’s can select a more engaging ride. Also helping to deliver a more dynamic driving experience is a balanced (52/48 weight distribution) chassis and 19-inch wheels with 245/45/19 front and 275/40/19 rear tires
Other vehicle highlights include a standard back-up camera and optional front camera, as well as a 17-speaker 608-watt Lexicon audio system.
Official pricing will be revealed later this year with the Equus set to go on sale in the summer.
We have no doubt the folks at BMW and Mercedes are having a little chuckle over a Korean luxury car, but it wasn’t all that long ago they underestimated Lexus.
GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Official release after the jump:
HYUNDAI INTRODUCES ALL-NEW FLAGSHIP, THE LUXURIOUS EQUUS SEDAN, DURING NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT AT NEW YORK AUTO SHOW
Equus will Showcase Hyundai’s Approach toward Intelligent Luxury
NEW YORK, April. 1, 2010 – Hyundai aims to break down the barriers of owning a luxury car with the introduction of its all-new flagship, the 2011 Equus. Equus will compete with the best luxury sedans in the world on all levels including amenities, performance, advanced technologies, design and ownership experience when it arrives at select Hyundai dealerships late this summer. “Equus takes Hyundai’s formula for intelligent luxury to a new level,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve applied the lessons in engineering excellence we’ve learned with Genesis to the Equus, while adding a new level of customer experience that will further differentiate our take on luxury from the traditional premium brands.” Equus broadens Hyundai’s lineup of premium vehicles and like Genesis, is built on Hyundai’s world-class rear-wheel-drive architecture. It is powered by the award-winning 4.6-liter Tau® V8. The Tau inside the Equus will produce an estimated 385 horsepower using premium fuel and 378 horsepower using regular fuel. With technology rivaling more expensive luxury sedans, Equus showcases features such as a lane departure warning system, electronic air suspension, smart cruise control and a Lexicon® audio system.
PREMIUM REAR-WHEEL-DRIVE ARCHITECTURE When Genesis was introduced, Hyundai promised that its rear-wheel-drive architecture would spawn more products in other segments. Equus is the third of those products, this time riding on a lengthened Genesis architecture. Equus is 7.2 inches longer (203.1 inches vs. 195.9 inches) than Genesis. Equus boasts an excellent 52/48 front-to-rear weight distribution for exceptional handling and more refined steering characteristics. Equus reduces interior noise levels and improves ride and handling with a stiff, light weight body structure. The use of high-tensile steel in critical areas in the unibody provides Equus with significantly higher dynamic torsional rigidity and a lower body structure weight despite having a spacious interior cabin.
WORLD-CLASS TAU V8 Headlining the Equus’ performance capabilities is Hyundai’s Tau 4.6-liter V8 engine, a two-time Ward’s 10 Best Engine winner, mated to a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. The Tau V8 delivers an estimated 385 horsepower and 333 lb-ft of torque (378 horsepower and 324 lb-ft using regular fuel) to fit the demands of luxury consumers. This powertrain combination will launch Equus to 60 miles per hour in less than 6.4 seconds. On premium fuel, the Tau V8 produces more horsepower than the powerplants found in the Lexus LS460, Mercedes-Benz S550, and Audi A8 and nearly the same power as these competitors on regular fuel. LUXURY SEDAN STYLE WITH ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES The design of the Equus is handsome and pleasing to the eye. The rear-end treatment is progressive with bold taillights, strong shoulders and an overall look of precision. This look is accomplished through fully-integrated asymmetrical exhaust tips and rear LED turn signal indicators. The side silhouette is refined, with character lines that accent the rear fenders. Up front is a subtle horizontal radiator grille and well-proportioned headlamps with jeweled detailing. LED turn signals are inside the HID headlamps along with an adaptive front lighting system with white LED position lamps. The lower air intakes are bold and add to the positive reaction of the overall design. To assist in parking, and navigating blind corners and alleys in urban driving, there is an optional forward-view cornering camera integrated into the grille.
CUTTING EDGE HUMAN TECHNOLOGY The busy executive as well as the couple heading out on the town will feel right at home in the 2011 Equus due to abundant luxury touches and passenger comfort features. This ambience begins with superior quality of materials and design layout. The leather upholstery, Alcantara® headliner, natural wood trim and leather-wrapped French-stitched instrument panel showcase the richness of the Equus interior. The seats are designed with adjustable driver thigh support, plenty of width, great range of adjustment, and heated and cooled functionality. Thermoelectric devices located in the seat backs and bottom cushions provide control for heating, cooling and humidity. There is ample leg and head room for drivers over six-feet tall and an optional massaging driver seat. In fact, Equus has more leg, head and shoulder room in the front and rear seats than the Lexus LS460. The driver’s cockpit boasts an abundance of features and premium services. The Driver Information System (DIS) provides navigation, XM Satellite Radio, HD Radio technology, hands-free Bluetooth telephone system and much more.
ELECTRONICALLY-CONTROLLED AIR SUSPENSION Driving dynamics are a critical element in every luxury sedan, and the Equus offers first-rate ride and handling characteristics without traditional compromises. Equus’ electronically controlled air suspension meets the challenge of the wide variety of road surfaces drivers face everyday. For drivers who enjoy a firm ride and more stability when cornering there is a sport setting with additional body control. For customers who wish their ride to be a little on the softer side there is a normal setting for more ride compliance. In urban areas, the Equus is easy to maneuver and park, thanks to excellent steering and its electronic parking assist feature. While the Equus is large, it doesn’t feel over-sized or clumsy, that’s due to its 37.7 foot turning circle and variable-effort steering system. On winding country and mountain roads, Equus benefits from the precise wheel control delivered by its five-link front and rear suspension geometry. This geometry is maximized through Continuous Damping Control (CDC) which continually monitors road and driving dynamics and adjusts damping force accordingly. The standard 19-inch chrome alloy wheel and tire package with staggered width (P245/45R19 front P275/40R19 rear) tires offers excellent gripping power and precise control.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES DELIVER UNCOMPROMISED SAFETY PERFORMANCE Maintaining Hyundai’s emphasis on delivering leading safety technology, Equus boasts world-class active and passive safety features to help prevent accidents, and maximize the well-being of its occupants in the event of a collision. The Equus continues the Hyundai tradition of offering key safety technologies, with features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), nine airbags, electronic active head restraints, lane departure warning system and smart cruise control. Equus even has a Vehicle Stability Management system (VSM) that optimally manages ESC, the electronic parking brake, smart cruise control and the seatbelt tensioning system for optimal safety. Equus’ total of nine airbags include advanced dual front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side curtain airbags for both front and rear outboard seat occupants and a driver’s knee airbag. Hyundai’s lane departure warning system offers a warning light and chime after a one- second lane departure, and adds a haptic warning via the seatbelt after a three second lane departure. Smart cruise control automatically manages the Equus’ speed through the braking and throttle systems to maintain a specified following distance selected by the driver. The electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold enables the parking brake to hold the vehicle automatically when the vehicle stops, and deactivates as soon as the gas pedal is pressed. Equus has an optional camera located on the front grille and a standard camera on the rear decklid. These cameras help detect how close objects are when parking. Distance is indicated on the in-dash LCD monitor. Equus is brought to a halt by large four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). The 13.6-inch front rotors have four-piston fixed calipers and the rear brakes feature 12.4-inch rotors with single floating piston calipers.
LEXICON® AUDIO SYSTEMS TEAM WITH XM, HD RADIO™, AND APPLE TO OFFER UNRIVALED AUDIO PERFORMANCE AND CHOICE Hyundai Genesis and Equus offer a Lexicon-branded state-of-the-art audio system featuring LOGIC 7® technology. The Lexicon surround sound audio system includes a 13-channel digital amplifier and 17 speakers producing 608 watts of sound in 7.1 discrete surround sound audio. Equus also offers the clarity of digital HD Radio technology, XM Satellite Radio and iPod®/USB integration.
PRICING The Equus will launch with a starting price in the mid $50,000 range.
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program which now includes the 5-year/60,000 mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and 5-year complimentary Roadside Assistance in addition to the highly acclaimed vehicle return policy introduced in early 2009. For more details on Hyundai Assurance, please visit www.HyundaiAssurance.com.