2009 Hyundai Equus - Click above for a high-res gallery

This is the new Hyundai Equus in the steel and on U.S. roads, courtesy of Autoblog reader Alex. Depending on dealer reaction to the car, Hyundai could-maybe-possibly-might bring it to America. If so, we would then find out if Hyundai could do what Volkswagen was incapable of doing with its Phaeton: Charge top-tier money for a top-tier product wearing a lower to (now) mid-market badge.

As for the luxury sedan itself, being fans of the underdog, the Equus makes us go "Hooray, but hmmm..." We understand the need to lure unfamiliar buyers with familiar luxury themes, but we have to chide the Korean automaker for its reliance on Lexus' styling playbook. This is particularly true at the rear, where the taillight line jinks twice and runs to the wheel well, mimicking Lexus' L-Finesse language. Further, the rump wears a copy of Lexus' exhaust pipes and the car is badged the VS 460, which strikes us as a bit too close for comfort.

With Hyundai at least enjoying early signs of success with its upmarket Genesis sedan, perhaps there's room for an even more expensive offering, but early warnings point to a much higher sticker price than the automaker's reigning North American Car of the Year, and it's too soon to analyze the Genny's long-term prospects for success. What do you think... is Hyundai threatening to jump the gun, or is it headed in the right direction?

Related GalleryMore Hyundai Equus

[Source: Flickr]