2015 Hyundai Equus Performance

7.0
Performance

The Equus handles straight-line speed with quiet grace, but it's not quite up to par in terms of transient dynamics or suspension balance, at least when compared to the German competition it's ultimately aiming for.

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, making the most of its available power. The rear end of the car can shift invisibly too if you mash the gas too hard, causing the engine's 367 lb-ft of torque to overwhelm the all-season tires. If you maintain traction, 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, something you might not expect from a car with such a heavy luxury bent.

A serenely smooth V-8 is the Equus' best feature; handling is softly spung, and steering is light.

Despite a recent round of retuning for its adaptive air suspension, the Equus 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 its sport setting, though it's still not going to be confused with something as athletic as 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.

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.

Unlike most cars in this segment (and others) the Equus retains hydraulic steering. Its electrohydraulic setup is better attuned to more sporty driving, pairing the linear, consistent feel that hydraulics allow with weighty on-center feel, providing a feeling of precision and making it easy to place in tight places.

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