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First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Equus


Just two years ago, when the rear-drive HYUNDAI GENESIS debuted for the 2009 model year, established luxury brands were put on notice. Hyundai, once the "up and coming" brand of $10,000 Accents, had officially arrived on the elite scene, and its initial upper-crust offering was solid. Not the completely polished piece of some of its considerably pricier rivals, but, for the money, a fabulous first effort and one heck of a building block.

 Enter Equus, Hyundai's all-new four-door, a flagship that builds upon that robust HYUNDAI GENESIS block. Utilizing the same Tau V-8 and ZF six-speed automatic, the Equus measures 7.2 inches longer and 0.4 inch taller than the Genesis, and rides on a wheelbase stretched 4.3 inches; both share the same 74.4-inch width. While the Equus's wheelbase (119.9 inches) is noticeably lengthier than the Genesis's (115.6), it's about on par with standard-wheelbase versions of the Bmw 7 Series (120.9) and Jaguar XJ (119.4), as well as the long-wheelbase Lexus Ls460 L (121.7). The Equus's styling bears some resemblance to that of its smaller sibling, but its added span, LED turn signals, standard 19-inch chrome wheels, and unique character lines (especially the one that sweeps up along the back door to create the rear shoulder) give it a look all its own.

 During our very brief drive in a U.S.-spec car in Korea, we found the Equus to deliver a composed, compliant ride befitting a top-tier luxury sedan. (Whether it proves to ride similarly over American roads remains to be seen.) On the high-speed oval at Hyundai's Namyang proving ground, the Equus showed no problem effortlessly accelerating up to 140 mph and then quietly cruising at that triple-digit velocity as if it were 80. We did find the Equus to wallow a bit over the bumps of the oval's steep banks (the HYUNDAI SONATA 2.0T, for instance, felt more stable), but otherwise the nicely tuned electro-hydraulic power steering and adjustable air suspension provided a secure feeling at speed. For improved grip and performance, we'd be apt to replace the V-rated all-season Continental ContiProContacts (245/45R19 front, 275/40R19 rear) for a set of dedicated summer tires -- say, Conti's ExtremeContact DW.

(Source)


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