Hyundai isn't a name most buyers instantly associate with luxury or higher-end hardware, though those in the know put the Genesis and its new big brother on par with Lexus' best offerings--at a bargain price. And to sweeten the deal, the 2011 Hyundai Equus--the new flagship sedan--gets a "tablet computer" app (unofficially confirmed as an Apple iPad) for an owner's manual, and a free iPad to read it on.
The WiFi-enabled iPad is also used to schedule service appointments and keep track of the car's history. It's a taste of the future, integrating technology into the car in a new and more involving way.
That's not the only way Hyundai leverages technology to make the Equus unique, though: a lane departure warning system uses haptic technology to warn the driver through the seatbelt in addition to a chime and warning light. Smart cruise control enables easy long-distance driving, while stability control, vehicle stability management and a full array of nine airbags enhance safety.
The car itself is Hyundai's first foray into full-size luxury sedans for the U.S., powered by a 4.6-liter Tau V-8 engine rated at 385 horsepower on premium fuel and 378 horsepower on regular unleaded. It's a rear-drive only vehicle, so those needing all-weather duty might need to look elsewhere, but it'll have driving dynamics that front-drive alternatives don't.
A six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode delivers the power to the rear, jetting the big sedan to 60 mph in under 6.4 seconds. Hyundai is comparing the car to the Lexus LS460, Mercedes-Benz S550 and the Audi A8 on the numbers.
Leather and Alcantara interior upholstery complement real wood trim and a full array of heated, electronically adjustable and massaging interior components. An electronically-controlled air suspension levels the ride and softens the road no matter if the car is loaded with passengers or on a solo commute.
High-tech components also play into the entertainment system: a 17-speaker, 608-watt 7.1-channel surround sound system with HD Radio, XM Satellite Radio and iPod/USB inputs all available.
The best part for the family that's not looking to take out a second mortgage to buy a new luxury sedan: the Equus will launch later this summer under $50,000. For more on the Equus, check out our first drive report here.