2011 Hyundai Equus
Hyundai’s reputation - especially as of late - is based on building affordable vehicles with great value and quality. But now the Korean carmaker is taking that formula to the large luxury sedan segment. This is the all-new 2011 Equus, and it will compete with flagships from Lexus, Mercedes and others. That’s an astounding goal, but has Hyundai finally bitten off a little more than they can chew?
When Hyundai introduced the Genesis premium mid-size sedan two years ago, we wondered if the value carmaker could compete in a more rarified class. We quickly concluded that it could. Now, to cement its reputation even further as a premium brand, the carmaker brings to market the full-size 2011 Hyundai Equus. As their new flagship, Equus aims to compete with vaulted saloons like the Lexus LS, and even the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Equus will attempt to do so by delivering all the bells and whistles affluent buyers expect, but at a much more affordable price point. But, right off the bat, targeted buyers may have two reservations. One, the full-line Hyundai badge itself, and two, the car’s overly conservative styling. It looks bland even compared to its hardly earth shaking rivals. Except for a Bentley-like rear end, there isn’t much to attract an exclusive eye to the Equus. Still, the big sedan does exude sophistication with a Genesis-like front fascia and a flowing greenhouse and roofline for an almost presidential profile.
But there’s also a hint of sportiness here, thanks to brawny rear shoulders, 19-inch chrome alloys, and dual exhausts. Things improved when we stepped inside its executive cabin. It’s spacious, with well laid out controls amid nicely done wood trim. But there’s still an air of cost containment, from the plain gauges, to an abundance of hard plastics, to even the unremarkable face of the analog clock. On the other hand, a lot that’s optional on rivals is standard on Equus.
Base Signature trim includes front seats that are very comfortable and supportive, with heat, ventilation, and even driver’s side massage. A class first. Likewise, there’s heat for the wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other standard luxuries include dual automatic climate, navigation, back-up camera and a 17-speaker Lexicon stereo. And get this, an Apple iPad owner’s manual! Comfort extends to the enormous rear seats with sunshades and the only
standard power recliners in its class. A three passenger heated split bench is standard, with Ultimate Trim dividing it into two individual seats, and adding massage, a console refrigerator, and DVD system.
All seats fold, adding nicely to the Equus’ generous 16.7 cubic foot trunk space. Based on the Genesis sedan platform, the Equus is powered by the same 4.6-liter variable-timing V8, good here for 385 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque. Power moves to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. On the track, our Equus charged from 0 to 60 in a fast 6.1 seconds, and cleared the quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 99 miles per hour. Equus feels powerful off the line, but not overwhelmingly so. Power delivery builds nicely, and is quite smooth. Shifts, too, were smooth, but a little slow. Driving dynamics are governed by front and rear multilink geometries. And the electronically-controlled air suspension with Continuous Damping Control includes height-adjustable and driver-selectable Sport mode. And through the cones, with Sport mode on, the Equus feels acceptably capable, and trimmer than it actually is.
Understeer is always present, as is a fair amount of body roll. The steering is light and linear, but with little feedback. We give it better overall marks than the Lexus LS, but it doesn’t come close to the caliber of a German sedan. Equus stopping power is solid. With large vented discs at all four corners, the 4,500-pound Equus managed 60 to 0 in a good 127 feet. So, while overall, Equus performance seems unremarkable, as a first effort, it’s still very notable. On public roads, the Equus is more than competent. It’s very quiet and smooth, maybe a little too smooth. There are no ragged edges about this car’s performance.
But then there isn’t much to get excited about either. Government Fuel Economy ratings for the Equus are 16 city/24 highway on premium gas. We achieved 21.6 miles per gallon in real world driving. The Energy Impact Score is a fairly high 18 barrels of oil consumed per year. The Carbon Footprint measures a similar 9.8 annual tons of CO2 emitted.
But here’s the kicker…the Equus Signature starts at $58,000. That’s about $8,000 less than an LS, and $30-grand less than the cheapest S-Class. The Hyundai Equus Ultimate stickers for $64,500. The 2011 Hyundai Equus is an ambitious effort, and it’s a bargain. Still, for clientele to whom status and prestige are just as important as the accouterments, the biggest hurdle for Hyundai may be the brand itself. However, we can easily see other buyers viewing the Equus as a way to play big without breaking their 401(k). And even if this Equus isn’t a hit at the country club, Hyundai has the patience to make sure the next one will be.
- Engine: 4.6-Liter Variable-timing V8
- Horsepower: 385
- Torque: 333 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 6.1 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 14.6 Seconds @ 99 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 127 Feet
- EPA: 16 MPG City/ 24 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 21.6 MPG
- Energy Impact 18.0 Barrels Oil/Yr:
- CO2 Emissions: 9.8 Tons/Yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined