In a classic Car & Driver move, the magazine has taken a $98k Lexus LS 460L AWD and compared it against the new $65k Hyundai Equus, then declared the winner based almost entirely on price:
Were this match based on price alone, we might have pitted an Equus with the Ultimate package ($65,400) against a base LS460 ($66,255), although that would have been limo versus size-XL sedan. Instead, we stacked the Equus against the mighty 4961-pound LS460L AWD dripping with automotive frippery, including a $5860 sleepy-driver alert and $13,200 worth of “Executive Class” rear seats. Limo versus limo. Note the way the Equus undercuts the six-figure Lexus. Just like Lexus undercut Mercedes 20 years ago.
In 1989, a bunch of us cringed at the notion of a $35,000 Toyota. A couple decades shoot past, and we’re staring down a near-$100K Toyota with a hand-sanded body. The original LS400 turned out to be a bargain. Today’s version? Not so much. Our as-tested LS460L cost 50 percent more than the Equus. It thus scored 10 fewer value-for-money points, and that alone was enough to relegate it to second place.
Let’s ignore the fact that C&D loaded up the LS to a ridiculous level then made that the sole reason for Hyundai’s win — what’s missing in this whole Hyundai is Lexus 2.0 comparison is that when Lexus debuted the LS 400 against the Mercedes S-Class & BMW 7-Series, it wasn’t just cheaper, it was noticeably better in almost ever regard — that’s just not the case here.
Not to take away from Hyundai’s achievement, but the Equus is nothing but a copy, and that just can’t stack up against what the LS has become — even Car & Driver gets that:
…we’re serious about this—every car guy on the planet, just once, should experience the LS’s profoundly isolated, tomb-like cockpit. It’s like driving to work in the Bodleian Library. Rest your left arm on the upper doorsill, and you’ll hear your wristwatch ticking. Mat the throttle, and, yeah, there’s a distant V-8 snarl, but the muted whoosh could just as well be emanating from the trunk.
[Source: Car & Driver]