The Hyundai Equus known as the Hyundai Centennial in the Middle East, is an upscale full-size luxury car that serves as the flagship model of Hyundai Motor Company worldwide, named after the Latin word for “horse”. The Hyundai Equus is the largest and most expensive sedan in the company’s lineup. In 2009, the company released a new version on a rear-wheel drive platform aimed to compete with the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.
In March 2009, Hyundai unveiled the new high-end flagship model, codename “VI”. The VI is a completely different model from the old Equus. Unlike the old Equus, the VI has a rear-wheel drive architecture, a longer wheelbase, and a different engine.
The VI is based on an all-new platform, that has been entirely developed by Hyundai Motor Corporation. Although the car has nothing in common with the previous Equus, the VI takes only the name from old Equus, because the name ‘Equus’ has prestige in Korea.
The Korean domestic market Equus comes as a 3.8L “Prime” and a 4.6L “Prestige” in South Korea. It is the most expensive model in the company’s lineup. It became available in South Korea on March 11, 2009. It launched in the People’s Republic of China in August 2009. The Hyundai Equus was listed in the ’10 exciting cars for 2010′ from Forbes.
At the 2010 North American International Auto Show, the Equus made its North American debut. At the 2010 New York Auto Show the US-Spec version was revealed with the same 4.6L V8 engine as the Genesis except with 10 hp (7 kW) more than the current version. This puts the total engine output at 385 hp (287 kW) with 333 lb·ft (451 N·m). It was also revealed that the Hyundai Equus will be receiving a 5.0L V8 with 429 hp (320 kW) and 376 lb·ft (510 N·m).
This engine will be an option for the Equus after January 2011. This engine will also be placed in the facelifted 2012 Hyundai Genesis and possibly the 2nd Generation Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
The North American Equus features a badge attached on the hood as opposed to the hood ornament, the grille features a horizontal grid pattern like its Genesis sibling as opposed to the vertical one on international models, and an included iPad device with an Equus user’s guide application pre-installed as opposed to a traditional owner’s manual.
On September 2009, Hyundai unveiled the long-wheelbase version Equus limousine. It is 300 mm (11.8 in) longer than the sedan version, increasing comfort for the VIP passenger with Tau engine V8 5.0L, which delivers a peak torque of 368 lb·ft (499 N·m).
The stretch edition offers several upgraded features from the normal sedan version, including differentiated exterior designs and longer overall length. The limousine model has an exclusive horizontal cross-bar radiator grille, as well as features such as a power-driven footrest, rear-seat leg support and a massage system.
Hyundai has also developed a bulletproof presidential limousine, based on this limousine model, with an enlarged 5.5L version of the V8 engine. On September 2009, Hyundai delivered three bulletproof limousine versions of the luxury sedan Equus to the South Korea Presidential Security Service. Hyundai designed this vehicle with a special alloy, and it has an automatic cooling system in case of fire as well as bulletproof windows.