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2014 Hyundai Equus Performance

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The Hyundai Equus has luxuriant V-8 power on tap, but it doesn't handle with the responsiveness or directness of most large luxury cars.

Strong, refined acceleration is the hallmark of the Equus. The 5.0-liter V-8 surges forward with 429 horsepower on tap, and it's coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts invisibly, and makes the most of its available power. Acceleration to 60 mph takes about six seconds, in the ballpark of the base Lexus LS--the car the Equus compares with most directly--and not far off the mark set by cars like the base twin-turbocharged Mercedes S 550. The drivetrain hustles this big sedan up to highway speeds quickly, accompanied by a brawny V-8 burble and ripple.

Handling's even softer than before in comfort mode; the Equus' powerful V-8 is smooth and serene.

Despite a round of retuning to its adaptive air suspension, the Equus it still doesn't come very close to matching the best of the group in handling. It's most like the Lexus here again, with even softer settings in its "comfort" mode; it rides with pillowy compliance, and not quite enough control. The air suspension feels more confident in sport setting, though it's still nothing that you'd ever confuse for a Jaguar XJ. It feels secure on high-speed sweepers and stable on the interstate, but in tighter corners, the Equus answers with lots of body lean and nose dive.

Its electrohydraulic steering is better attuned to more sporty driving, 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.

Overall, the sense of driving refinement is excellent. Even with the 20-inch wheels and tires there's no harshness, and road and wind noise are kept away from the cabin.

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