By Arison Knapp
Today we will be driving two Presidential luxury sedans which measure more than 200 inches in length from two commanding auto companies which you may or may not expect to be represented in this comparison. Whether you’re being chauffeured or piloting the Hyundai Equus Ultimate or BMW 740Li all on your own, they’ll both have their own elegant qualities, hospitable dimensions and innovative technologies to choose from.
Hyundai’s flagship vehicle is a representation of what Hyundai has become so quickly by establishing themselves as a serious manufacturer who can deliver a full lineup of passenger cars throughout a wide price point much as is true of Japanese and German brands. Hyundai has pulled their brand up from welterweights into prize fighters; a direct example is their largest luxury sedan, the Equus.
The luxurious 2013 BMW 740Li is the closest competition. At 205.3 inches overall, it’s just about two inches longer than the Equus. Yet the Hyundai’s wheelbase is about seven inches shorter; feeling a bit sportier in the city and easier to maneuver in tight parking situations.
Each sedan exhibits exterior technologies making for a more harmonious stylistic execution so let’s take a closer look—the Equus comes equipped with Adaptive HID headlights, height adjustable Electronic Air Suspension, Active Cruise Control, an Auto-Hill Hold feature, Tire Pressure Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, park assistance sensors all around as well as cameras that work to create a state-of-the-art Front Cornering Camera system which displays traffic ahead of you either way in upcoming blind corners. This multitude of well-designed fish-eye lens cameras is placed on the front grille of the car and gives a full 180 degree view of the intersection ahead and is neatly displayed in the Navigation screen which is a feature we have never seen in any competitor at any price.
BMW offers their cutting edge BMW ConnectedDrive including Adaptive LED headlights, Lane Departure and Approach Warning Systems with Change Warning, Active Protection and Attention Assistant features, Surround Views and Parking Assistance. If you are still even more incapable of driving for yourself you can order a Night Vision system to helped with seeing pedestrians and deer at night, Active Cruise Control with “Stop & Go” ability on long road trips and five selectable, unique drive modes ranging from the efficiency aiding ECO-PRO setting to other settings one would expect your average BMW owner would prefer on a twisting two lane road.
I only listed a few of the advanced features from the 740Li, nonetheless but do believe that BMW offers you a greater variety of technology whereas Hyundai stays competitive with the high value content of their still potent package of technologies. The tech most useful to me was Hyundai’s Front Cornering Camera; it was so handy for oncoming traffic and pedestrians in the city’s busy streets. The Equus with its somewhat flashy and extroverted exterior styling was the luxury sedan that also won my heart over! (2013 Hyundai Equus Ultimate)
The interior of a new luxury sedan the caliber of these two models is much like the unique DNA matrix that is an inherent part of any two ferocious jungle predators. The layout of the center dashboard command center with their vast array of buttons, displays and control knobs is truly where you see how all of these active technologies work together.
The driver in both of these vehicles will be just as comfortable as the passengers but a unique trait of Hyundai gives more leg and shoulder room for the driver. That is exactly where the Equus feels more luxurious than the 740Li, the extra space right at the legs and shoulders. These dimensions can be a deal breaker or maker for many buyers used to getting and having everything that they want.
Both the 2013 BMW 740 Li and 2013 Hyundai Equus Ultimate provide well-appointed optional equipment such as a rear entertainment systems connected to all of the car’s infotainment, rear reclining, heat and cool massaging seats, controls that push away the front passenger footrest to increase available room, multi-zone area climate control and champagne-ready refrigerators too.
When two brands have so many features in common it is the small ones that whisper loudly; one of them is Hyundai’s electronic leg rest that kicks out from under the rear seats for long days spent counting your money at the office. This goes beyond BMW’s elongated thigh support. The Hyundai Equus wins with comforts you find in your home, that is, if you are someone like Tiger Woods before his name became associated so closely with scandal. (Winner: 2013 Hyundai Equus Ultimate)
Each of these power plants has their own idea of how to launch their sedan up to speed. Propelling the 2013 Hyundai Equus is a large displacement naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 engine producing 429 consistently powerful horses with 376 ft.-lb. of torque. The Tau V8 (as Hyundai calls it) is bolted to a smooth in-house, Hyundai developed 8-speed automatic transmission. Our BMW 740Li is powered by a traditional twin turbo, inline, 6-cylinder reading out power of 315 horses and 300 ft lbs of torque all pushing through a smart 8-speed transmission, nice improvement from last year’s 6-speed.
Hyundai’s Equus like BMWs 740Li prefers high-octane fuel. Equus’s EPA fuel economy is 15 city and 23 highway. I thought the Equus had a notably supple ride but a tight chassis that broadcasted important road changes but was graceful with imperfections. The ride impressed everyone; smooth cruising was comparable to a 60’s Cadillac. The easy-to-roll gearing created a feeling of low resistance and resulted in low effort steering which was fatigueless, this was refreshing.
The 740Li’s smaller and less powerful engine comes away with better fuel economy, 19 city and 28 highway, but this car is more of a cruise liner than an Autobahn bruiser. A refined cabin felt a touch quieter than the Equus and it was almost as nimble on its feet but the BMW’s steering required a bit more effort and was so unneccesarily heavy that after most trips we didn’t feel invigorated but rather exhausted. We know BMW used to own the luxury sport sedan market but after so many years it has started to feel like they try much too hard. (Winner: 2013 BMW 740 Li)
Overall Value and the Winner is…
To summarize our comparison between the BMW 740Li and the Hyundai Equus Ultimate; BMW is a standard of luxury and class but if you look closely at the options of power, technology and safety it should be very clear to anyone that Hyundai offers an outstandingly attractive value proposition that even 1-percenters might find hard to resist. (Winner: 2013 Hyundai Equus Ultimate)
|SPECIFICATION||2013 Hyundai Equus||2013 BMW 740Li|
|Base Price MSRP||$66,250||$75,500|
|Engine||5.0L V8||3.0L I6 Turbo|
|Gearboxes||8-Speed Automatics||8-Speed Automatics|
|429 horsepower/376 lb. feet of torque V8||315 horsepower/330 lb. feet or torque turbo straight six-cylinder|
|EPA Fuel Economy||15/23||17/25|
|IIHS Safety Rankings||Top Safety Pick||Top Safety Pick|
|Recommended Exterior/Interior Color Combinations|
When it comes to making the 2013 Hyundai Equus look as menacing it can appear in its imposingly black exterior paint job, purchasing an even more somber black leather interior cheapens the look of this flagship veicle. Therefore, the Equus must then be equipped with the saddle brown or light tan leather to soften the overall appearance.
Mojave Metallic Brown exterior paint with a contrasting Ivory White/Black Nappa leather interior.