While the closest the Western market has come to experiencing Hyundai?s more upmarket offerings has been the Genesis sedan ? with which the Equus shares its engine options ? the company?s flagship is expected to be offered in the Korean market initially, with China and the Middle East planned for late 2009.
Officially the second generation in the line, the new Equus was developed under the ?VI? codename over a three year period.
The Equus represents a 500 billion won (AUD$513m / US$337m) investment for the Korean carmaker.
The Hyundai Equus features two engine options: the ?Lambda? 3.8 litre V6 and the award-winning ?Tau? 4.6 litre V8.
Both engines are also offered in the Genesis sedan, and feature all-aluminium construction, continuously variable valve timing and variable air induction systems.
The ?Lambda? V6 produces 213kW and 358Nm of torque and returns a fuel economy figure of 10.8 l/100km.
The ?Tau? V8 develops 269kW and 439Nm of torque, with a fuel economy figure of 11.4 l/100km.
The 2009 Hyundai Equus rides on five-link suspension at both ends, featuring lightweight aluminium control-arms.
To improve shock control, the Equus features Amplitude Selective Dampers (ASD), which Hyundai developed in partnership with ZF-SACHS for both the Equus and the Genesis.
The suspension is electronically optimised to minimise body roll and nose-diving ? both a common concern with larger luxury cars.
The Equus features Hyundai's Vehicle Stability Management system, which integrates Lane Departure Warning System, Pre-Safety System, Third Generation Smart Cruise Control (SCC) among other sub-systems to provide optimum active and passive safety.
The Lane Departure Warning System issues an audible warning if the car deviates from its lane without signalling, while SCC uses radar waves to monitor and regulate the brakes and throttle to ensure a safe distance from the car ahead.
The Pre-Safety System kicks in if a collision danger is detected, automatically applying the brakes and displaying a flashing warning light on the TFT-LCD screen, followed by an audible alert and a vibration in the seatbelt harness.
The Equus isn?t short for airbags, with two front, four side, and two side curtain airbags joined by a knee airbag for the driver, making for a total of nine.
It also features an Electric Parking Brake which activates when the car is in park and automatically releases when the vehicle is put into 'drive'.
Video cameras in the rear and front eliminate blind spots during parking and reversing, and the Parking Guidance System displays a computer graphic overlay on the LCD screen to assist with parking.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) head lights are standard, and the Adaptive Front Lighting System varies the angle of the light beam according to the steering direction.
Comfort And Convenience
Among the assortment of features expected of any luxury car is a sophisticated heating system, which in the Equus features a heated steering wheel, seat cushions and back rests.
For summer, the seats also feature a cooling system, and a drink chiller can be found in the glove box.
If that isn't enough, you'll also find a massage system in the seats to get you through the long hauls.
The Equus is equipped with a Driver Information System with touch-screen menus and a jog wheel with adjacent buttons for menu shortcuts.
DIS displays navigational maps, personal contacts (maintained via Bluetooth) and serves as the central control of the the 17-speaker Lexicon Sound System.
Available in four trim levels, Equus will start at 63.7 million won (AUD$65,500) for the entry level VS380 model, reaching up to 105 million won (AUD$108,000) for the VS460 Prestige.
Hyundai is shooting to for 13,000 Equus sales in the Korean market in 2009, with 19,000 sales expected for 2010.