• Apr 1, 2010
2011 Hyundai Equus – Click above for high-res image gallery

When the first Hyundai Excels rolled onto American roads in the late-1980s, it was hard to image the Korean automaker getting taken seriously as a builder of budget cars. Taking on the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW would have been an absurd thought. And yet later this year that is exactly what Hyundai is doing as the new Equus begins to arrive at American dealers.

Visually, the the Equus hasn't changed much in its trip across the Pacific. For the U.S. market, the winged hood ornament had been discarded in favor of a flush mounted badge with the same logo that adorned the trunk lid of the Korean market model. The bars of the grille have been replaced with horizontal slats that make it look more like the Genesis sedan.

The Equus is equipped with all the techno-gimmickry one expects in a big luxury sedan today, including adaptive cruise control and navigation. The 4,376-pound is suspended on electronically controlled air springs and power comes from a 385 horsepower version of the 4.6-liter Tau V8 already seeing duty in the Genesis. The only thing the Equus lacks compared to a Lexus or Benz is an oversized sticker price. Hyundai says the Equus will be priced in the mid $50,000 range when it goes on sale later this year. You can check out the full press release (including a by-the-numbers comparison of how the Equus stacks up against its main rivals) after the jump, or check out the high-res gallery below (we'll have live shots from Javitz shortly).

[Source: Hyundai]
Show full PR text

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.


2011 Hyundai Equus

2010 Lexus LS 460

2010 Mercedes-Benz S550



385 hp (Prem.)/

378hp (Reg.)/

333 lb-ft/324 lb-ft (est.)

380 hp (Prem.)/

367 lb-ft

382 hp (Prem.)/

391 lb-ft

Fuel Economy


16/24/19 mpg (est.)

16/24/19 mpg

14/21/18 mpg


203.1 inches

199.2 inches

206.5 inches


74.4 inches

73.8 inches

73.7 inches


58.7 inches

58.1 inches

58.0 inches

Front Headroom

38.7 inches

38.0 inches

38.0 inches

Rear Headroom

38.1 inches

37.9 inches

39.0 inches

Front Legroom

45.1 inches

43.7 inches

41.9 inches

Rear Legroom

38.9 inches

35.8 inches

42.3 inches

Curb Weight

4376 lbs.

4,244 lbs.

4,630 lbs.


$50,000 - $60,000




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The Equus will launch with a starting price in the mid $50,000 range.


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 HYPERLINK "http://www.HyundaiAssurance.com" www.HyundaiAssurance.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this thing looks like a Dodge Avenger. That is to say, not good.

      I just think this price territory is far too high for a Hyundai, and like someone else said, this might be competitive against the previous generation of luxo-barges, but not the current, E-, S-classes or 5- or 7-series cars it's targeted against. I'm fairly certain that it's better than what Lexus has to offer (except their IS series, which wouldn't compete against this), as well as Acura, but I doubt it's up to the standards of the current Infiniti lineup.

      I'm sure the fanboys will just say I'm a Hyundai hater, though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Folks, you have to keep in mind that this car was first created for its home market and is now being "ported" over to the USA to help boost the hyundai image and try to establish some badge-prestige. I agree with the posters saying that Hyundai would do well for itself to spin off a seperate division for the genesis cars and the equus, but at the same time, hyundai is setting its sights low for sales figures for this equus. I think the genesis sedan is better looking and is still the main Slanted H flagship in my preference.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Were it not for the industry down-turn, I truly believe Hyundai would have spun-off Genesis into it's own division. It still might at some point. It's just more prudent for them to wait until they are sure the market is more stable for them. Conservative thinking? Yes but, they seem to have made all the right moves for quite some time now, haven't they?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am hoping that a turbo six model becomes available at some point, even a diesel version would be pretty welcome. Its going to be a tough sell in the 50k price range but if they stick with it I am sure it will sell well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dont think Hyundai will have the same problems that VW faced with the Phaeton. VW has Audi to satisfy the premium luxury crowd. They should have never crossed into that territory. Hyundai on the other hand has crossed into the premium category without the bourdon of already having a luxury wing. This gives Hyundai the ability to do as it pleases with less brand snobbery from the public.

      However, this is another reason to make Genesis (or whatever they want to call it) a separate brand from Hyundai.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Writing from Seoul, Korea.
      Full package of Equus Sedan in Korea : About $95,000.00(V8 4300cc)
      Full package of Genesis Sedan in Korea : About $55,000.00(V6 3800cc)
      Full package of Sonata Sedan in Korea : About $31,000.00(V4 2000cc)

      You are getting it(in US) : Under$60,000.00(V8 5000cc)
      : Under$33,000.00(V8 4600cc)
      : Under$24,000.00(V6 2400cc)

      Because of patriotic spirit most korean people try to purchase korean brand if it's possible but recently after above facts are revealed we doubt about our decision. Well, it is true that all you oversea customer gets great price and better quality luxuously sedan.

      In last 4 decades Hyundai's biggest supporters were Korean. When they have been failed in oversea market we were still there to supported them. But, in the returns, we get twice price than what oversea customers get? Low quality airbag, sunroof and other accessories are optional? This is reason why I purchased 535i Bemmer!!!!($95,000.00) rather than genesis!!!

      You had your market share over 85%(including Kia) in last 30 years but now you are loosing it to foreign brand in domestic market. Think y your big supporters start to turn their back on you!

      You may try to expand your market in oversea with cheaper price but same time
      it is time for treat right for your biggest supporter otherwise you may loose it all!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      So it's "HYUNDAI" Equus, not a new luxury brand that they said they were going to make. I was hoping to see a new badge on the car when it officially arrived in the states. Hyundai had considered launching a new luxury brand when they introduced the Genesis sedan. I think they have put it off long enough.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How do you pronounce the name of this car?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know how successful this will be. It will probably follow the footsteps of the Phaeton. A lot of bang for your buck but it doesn't have the badge that ultimately people buy their car off of.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i know it doesn't have a brand prestige, but it actually holds its own in terms of a pure performance.

        just recently saw a korean comparison test between this and LS460 and 740i. This had better performance numbers than LS and it was even quieter than LS which is very impressive. but lighter 740i was the most nimble and athletic of the 3.

        as far as interior refinement goes, just think of last generation LS430. honestly, i think ls430 has better interior quality than ls460. i know ls460 is fancier, but i prefer last gen lexuses over current gen. maybe i'm too old school, but i really do believe toyota is cutting cost on interior material quality.

        it's definitely more LS than 7, but maybe that's a good thing because i can see a Caddy deville buyer upgrading to Equus. yes, Hyundai isn't Caddy, but as far as ride goes, Equus kills deville.

        • 4 Years Ago
        *its design is also proper designed car for full size, MB S-class fighter.
        *Their V8 engine is proven world best engine (listed in Ward’s 10 best engines)
        *Perhaps, It is Top class safety car like little brother genesis (genesis sedan earned IIHS Top safety award)
        *If it share same platform with genesis, their chassis is stiffer than BMW, MB.(Genesis body exceeds the BMW 5 in torsional rigidity by 14%)
        *Equus’ little brother genesis sedan already outclass interior space volume than Lexus LS, BMW 7 series. So, Equus have huge interior space in its class.
        *Lexicon audio, installed Rolls-Royce Phantom class sound system. Mark levinson audio system (Lexus LS) made by same company. But, Lexicon is only audio system for Rolls-Royce Phantom.

        technically better than Lexus LS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Only about a $5000 savings over a Lexus LS.

        The biggest problem here is people buy Luxury Vehicles based on brand snobery and wanting their egos to be stroked. Otherwise Lexus owners would just buy top of the line Toyota's. You can get a Taurus with all the same electronic gadgetry. What makes people pay more is being able to say they drive a ____ and the much higher class dealership experience where they coddle them before they give them the big bill.

        Buy one of these vehicles and you will still be sitting in the same plastic chairs with the Accent-driving-woman-with-the-screaming-kids while waiting for your oil change.

        Phaeton 2.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hyundai has arrived.

        I'll take this over LS and save 20k. Lexus is now has a serious competition.

        3 years ago, i would've laughed at hyundai for doing this. but now after sonata, and all the great things they have done? they are for real.
        • 4 Years Ago

        "This car is CHEAP. The interior only feels a step above the Genesis but it doesn't have the refinement of the BMW 750, the S550 or even the LS460."

        I assure you, this car is not 'CHEAP.' I was literally in two different ones poking around on Tuesday before they went into the Javitz Center and my impression is vastly different. I thought the leather was buttery, the dash and infotainment system crisp and well-designed, and I thought everything felt very comfortable. It may not be perfect for you, but as a first try from a previously budget-minded company I think they've done well. They're not trying to beat the Germans or Lexus at their own game, they just want to join in and I definitely think they'll find some buyers. Probably not the same buyers that are in the market for a $100k Benz, but then those buyers are probably the same ones who would scoff at the notion of the Benz being comfortably and stately if they had the money for a Ghost or Mulsanne.

        I think JimBob was right, a lot of people stretching for a mid-level Bimmer or Benz might find a place for this in their garages.
        • 4 Years Ago
        thats what they said about the Genesis...but it has been selling well for Hyundai....they only plan on selling between 1500 - 2000 equus a year.......
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed... this car will not sell well.

        Cars in the ~$30k range (like the Genesis) are not purchased nearly as much for their name as cars in the ~$50k range (like this Equus would be in).
        Ad copy-cat styling and a horrible grill, and I see this is Hyundai's first big failure since it transformed itself a few years back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "...Pontiac is dead...nobody will notice if we steal their grille for our new KIA..."
        • 4 Years Ago
        the wood used in Equus is the same grade as Maybach's. that's impressive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm with those who are skeptical that this will sell well or be a "game changer" for Hyundai. I won't say that they can't one day achieve the same kind of success that Lexus eventually realized in this segment, but this car is not going to be the one we look back on as having been their turning point. It seems like it has a lot of "stuff" for ~$50k, but features do not equal build quality, refinement and prestige.

        This also is not a Phaeton, which is only more bad news for Hyundai. The Phaeton really was about the best D-Segment car you could buy when it came out, and it failed ONLY on prestige - nevermind its very tangible superiority in content and build quality at a much lower price point once other cars (D2 A8, LS430, S500, 745li) were optioned to compete with it.

        You have to put your toe into the water at some point so I'm glad they're at least giving it a go, and if they stick with it and work on the branding rather than turning tail to run out of the US market like VW did, they may win some serious market share in the future. I have to say that price-no-object, the LS460 is the first full-size sedan Lexus has made that I would honestly cross-shop with an A8, S-Class or 7-Series so it may take a couple of generations for Hyundai to get things sorted out, but this is quite the warning shot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        this will come fully equipped, i think. loaded LS is well over 80k. so it will be much much cheaper than LS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        While I do think that the Genesis sedan is much more cohesive than this, this should be a huge hit if they can manage the promised 50K price tag. The Phaeton cost as much as the competition, while severely lacking in brand name prestige. This would undercut the competition by 25-30K - a huge difference no matter how you slice it.

        Sure, people wanting an S Class will still buy an S Class. But those already stretching their budgets to an entry 5/E Class could be convinced to hop into this barge instead.
        • 4 Years Ago
        in this case its more than just the badging, its the fact that hyundai is trying to cheap out on investing the necessary capital to create a separate luxury marque, yet wants to reap the benefits of expanding its market.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I own an S550 and I've seen the Equus in the flesh.

        the Equus in NO WAY challenges even the base S550...and certainly doesn't compete with the fully loaded models.
        This car is CHEAP. The interior only feels a step above the Genesis but it doesn't have the refinement of the BMW 750, the S550 or even the LS460.

        The S550 has the most space of all of these cars. I'm over 6'6 and I had no choice but to buy one when I went luxury shopping. The Equus' front seats are tighter than my car.

        WHAT WILL help this car is its low price. That's part of the reason the Genesis sells so well. I will admit that Hyundai is aggressively offerring plenty of features to the $40,000 ~ $50,000 car buyer that you wouldn't expect to get on a "Hyundai".

        I'm glad they changed the exterior as I think it looks less gawdy now.

        I'm sure alot of people out there will give this car a chance since the younger generation doesn't hold prejudices against Hyundai and at current, Hyundai is getting rave reviews and seems to be a better choice than Toyota.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hyundai is the new Lexus - especially since Toyota is getting very cheap with everything to save money and/or become more profitable. Toyota is probably never going to be what they were. On the other hand, Hyundai is doing everything in their power to build the best automobiles they can - just like Toyota used to do.

        If Lexus did what THEY could do with the LS - than I see NO reason AT ALL why Hyundai can't do the same with their Equus... This car is going to be a game changer and we're going to see the cost of top-tier luxury cars come down as a result...

        Sal Collaziano
      • 4 Years Ago
      I actually have high hopes that this car like the Genesis can change the game a bit, Genesis aren't spilling out the showroom but hey they're moving along at a good pace.

      Only time will tell but I am very sure it'll do "well" (for a 55k car)
      • 4 Years Ago
      The quality of the interior might be high but you can tell, for me, that the designers of this interior all design the interior of bread and butter Hyundai's
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is probably going to be a very tough sell. The $55k+ market is a lot different than the $34k-$44k "Genesis sedan" market.

      While elevating the Hyundai image may be more of the goal than sales/profits, a failure here could be damaging.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I live up in "icebox country" so we get quite a few winter testing vehicles. One of these Equus models has been around for the last several weeks and it catches your eye, both from a styling as well as build-quality standpoint. Certainly a far more attractive design than the awkward & overpriced Phaeton ever was. But they do need a different channel to sell the thing. As hot as Hyundai is that is still too far a stretch IMO. And why bother building a lower-priced alternative to Lexus, et al, if you're not expecting sales of at least 20K per year? Hard to amortize much tooling over only a couple thousand units.
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