It's official: Hyundai has confirmed its flagship luxury sedan, the Equus, will be sold in the U.S. starting in late 2010. It is intended as a rival to luxury flagships such as the Mercedes Benz S-Class, BMW 7-series and Lexus LS, but with a price tag substantially lower than its competitors.

Previous reports from a Hyundai insider indicated that the Equus would be priced below $60,000 in the U.S. Its closest competitor, at least in terms of pricing, will be the Lexus LS 460, which starts at $64,700 including shipping. In South Korea the Equus is priced from $50,000 but a fully loaded version can range up to $81,000 in price.

We won’t have to wait until next year to see the Equus on local roads, however. "We showed the car at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, and the response was fantastic," says John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Since then, we've had a fleet travelling around the country, capturing input from our dealers and consumers. Here, too, the response was extraordinarily positive, and similar to the market reaction to the award-winning Genesis, so we've decided to bring it to the U.S."

The Genesis took home the 2009 North American Car of the Year award and Hyundai is hoping to further capitalize on this success, since the Equus is based on a lengthened version of the RWD platform underpinning the award-winning Genesis.

Measuring in at a generous 16.9 feet in length, 6.2 feet in width and 4.9 feet in height, the Equus certainly has the luxury sedan size factor. The powertrain lineup is also respectable, with the Equus available with a 286-horsepower 3.8-liter Lambda V-6 and a 361-horsepower 4.6-liter Tau V-8. A long-wheelbase model will eventually be offered, complete with a brand new 5.0-liter version of the Tau V-8. This new 5.0-liter unit is likely to be the sole powertrain used for U.S. versions.

Some of the possible options include tilting rear seats, massagers and TV screens in the rear seats. Full details, options and specifications will be revealed closer to the car's launch next year.


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