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Equus seeks to put Hyundai on equal footing with Lexus, Mercedes

Hyundai has stepped up its game tenfold with the introduction of the 2011 Hyundai Equus sedan at The New York International Auto Show during media days. The Korean manufacturer’s new flagship is going to turn heads with its features, looks and price.

The luxury sedan has a longer wheelbase than the Lexus LS 460, is reminiscent of a previous generation Mercedes S class in its design, comes packed with an amazing litany of features, and, when it’s introduced in the fall, will cost between $50,000 to $60,000, according to Hyundai Motors America president and CEO John Krafcik. That’s at least $5000 below the LS 460 and $35,000 below the S class.

The Equus is practically Maybach in its features, among them:

  • Heated, cooled and (optional) massage seats for the driver
  • Reclining rear heat and cooled seats with footrest
  • High intensity discharge Xenon headlights with adaptive lighting
  • Rear and optional front-view cameras that help in parking and also pulling out of blind spots like an alley, and
  • A 608-watt, 17-speaker, 13-channel Lexicon sound system.

About the only non-luxury item on the Equus is its six-speed automatic transmission. The Mercedes S class has seven speeds while the LS 460 comes with eight. Hyundai officials said the decision was made to maintain the basic powertrain from the Genesis platform that the Equus is based on.

The all-caps EQUUS on the rear decklid looks kind of trashy, too. It’s the only unsubtle touch on the whole car. Oh well, one mistake is allowed and I’m sure it won’t stop anybody from buying the car.

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