Compared to V-8 luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Lexus, and others, the 2013 Hyundai Equus measures up closely spec for spec—and it offers acceleration that's just as strong and refined. But it still doesn't come very close to matching those rivals in handling.
Last year Hyundai gave the Equus an all-new Tau V-8, displacing 5.0 liters and making 429 horsepower. With the new eight-speed automatic transmission that accompanies the new engine, it can now do the dash to 60 mph in around six seconds, which is closely on pace with the BMW 7-Series, the Lexus LS and the Mercedes S Class. The drivetrain hustles this big sedan up to highway speeds quickly, accompanied by a brawny V-8 burble and ripple.
In handling (and ride quality), the Equus feels positioned directly against the Lexus LS; it's clearly more softly sprung than German luxury sedans, yet the combination of a well-tuned air suspension and otherwise relatively soft chassis settings make this a car that brings security on the highway, or in high-speed sweepers. But make sudden changes in direction at lower speed or brake suddenly, and the Equus' weight becomes apparent, with some excess body motion or nosedive.
While we're still not all that impressed with the electric power steering in Hyundai's more affordable front-wheel-drive cars, the electrohydraulic steering in the 2013 Equus is actually quite good, pairing the linear, consistent feel that hydraulics allow with a 'geared-down,' weighted feel on center that allows it to feel precise and easy to place in tight places.There is a Sport mode--engaged with a button on the center console--that's supposed to sharpen the steering feel, transmission shift points, and throttle mapping, although the difference between modes is minimal.