Hyundai got serious about stepping up to the luxury segment when it brought the full-size, rear-drive Equus to the U.S. in 2010, and it would appear that there are enough people willing to buy a $60,000+ Hyundai that a next-gen Equus is on the horizon. These spy shots captured a heavily camouflaged Equus undergoing cold-weather testing near the Arctic Circle, and from what there is to see, the car seems to be fairly far along in its development, which means we might see the 2017 Hyundai Equus as early as the end of this year.

With the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class debuting last year, and new BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS sedans on the way, the 2017 Hyundai Equus definitely has some tough acts to follow. Considering the quality of the current Equus and the improvements Hyundai has made in recent new-model launches, the Equus should be able to put some real heat on the competition.

Updated 08/26/2015: A camouflaged prototype of the 2017 Hyundai Equus was recently spotted near Hyundai’s test center at the Nurburgring, signaling that a European version of the luxury sedan could be in the works.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Hyundai Equus.

  • 2017 Hyundai Equus
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    5.7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    61000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

August 26, 2015 - Testing near the Nurburgring

2017 Hyundai Equus
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2017 Hyundai Equus
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2017 Hyundai Equus
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February 4, 2015 - First testing session

2017 Hyundai Equus Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Hyundai Equus Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Hyundai Equus Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

When the Hyundai Equus launched for 2010, it was a groundbreaking vehicle for Hyundai in terms of luxury and size, but it was actually a step backward in terms of design. That appears to be changing, with more aggressive styling that seems to have been inspired by the 2015 Genesis Sedan, and perhaps even by some of the competition. Despite the camouflage, it’s easy to see that the next Equus will have a more upright front-end design, with horizontal LED headlights and a version of Hyundai’s current six-sided grille. At the rear, it looks like the Equus will sport vertical taillights that remind me of the current Mercedes S-Class. The large, multi-spoke wheels and integrated exhaust outlets should add to the overall styling, although the squared-off roofline and side window openings leave the car with a Camry-like profile.

Interior

Judging by the second-generation Genesis sedan and the all-new Sonata, the next-gen Equus will not disappoint when it comes to luxury or cabin tech. I expect it to make extensive use of high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum that will make the car even more rigid, which should also help to make the interior even smoother and quieter.

Drivetrain

One downside to the current Hyundai Equus in the U.S. is that it lacks any drivetrain options, as all current models have the 5.0-liter V-8, an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Not to say this is a bad combination, but offering more options would surely attract more buyers in this segment. And it sounds like that is just what Hyundai has planned, as Hyundai could add a new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 as well as the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system introduced on the 2015 Genesis Sedan. The 5.0-liter V-8 could get some improvements in power and fuel economy as well. There is also a good chance that the current eight-speed automatic transmission could carry over on the next-gen Equus, but soon be replaced with a 10-speed automatic as part of a 2019 model-year refresh.

Prices

The Hyundai Eqqus’ $60,000 starting price tag represents a significant value when compared to the Lexus LS, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series. A new V-6 could help lower the price somewhat, but expect a fully loaded 2017 Equus to sneak into the low $70,000 range.

Competition

Kia K900

2015 Kia K900 - Driven Exterior
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The closest competitor to the Hyundai Equus is the big sedan’s not-too-distant relative: the 2015 Kia K900. Kia launched its first-ever full-size, rear-drive sedan last year with the same goal as the Equus – to to let people pay for the luxury, not the badge. As such, the K900 costs considerably less than many large sedans from traditional luxury brands, but it offers the same kind of opulence, technology and performance that luxury buyers demand.

The 2015 Kia K900 is priced starting at $54,500, and is powered by a 420-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 that gives the big sedan plenty of get up and go. On the road, the K900’s suspension has been tuned for an ultra-plush ride, yet the adaptive shocks provide firm and supportive handling.

It would appear that in the platform-sharing relationship that exists between Hyundai and Kia, the former is getter first cracks at the luxury goods. Unless the K900 turns out to be a total flop, expect to see an updated K900 hit the scene within a couple years of the next-gen Equus going on sale.

Lexus LS

2013 Lexus LS460 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Lexus LS once was the dark horse of the full-size luxury sedan market, just as the Equus is now, but it has earned its place as one of the preeminent offerings in the segment. Starting at $72,250, the Lexus flagship is still priced lower than rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8, but doesn’t take any shortcuts in quality, performance or luxury.

The Lexus LS gives buyers plenty of choices, with the availability of two wheelbases, the option of rear- or all-wheel drive and even a hybrid model. For a sportier driving dynamic, the new LS 460 F Sport model brings with it improved handling and sportier styling. The LS offers an Executive Class Seating Package on the long-wheelbase models, with independent rear seats that are able to recline, offer fold-out ottomans and give a shiatsu massage.

Conclusion

Hyundai may have been an underdog in the luxury segment when it launched the Equus five years ago, but that certainly won’t be the case when the next-gen Equus arrives. Although Hyundai is probably still a few years away from stealing large numbers from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW customers, there’s no doubt that the 2017 Hyundai Equus will be heavily cross-shopped by Acura, Lexus and Cadillac buyers.

  • Leave it
    • * For buyers who determine a luxury car by the badge on its grille, this is still just a $60,000 Hyundai
    • * Still no alternative fuel/hybrid option
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