Hyundai has introduced a September 2011 Specialty lease program on their flagship sedan the Equus. The $739/monthly payment immediately took me by surprise. Equus list pricing is $58,900 for the Signature Edition and $65400 for the Ultimate. My initial reaction …”That kind of money will get you an awfully nice Pre-Owned BMW.”

Wondering how many other potential buyers would have a similar reaction I set out to find just what is available for the Hyundai list prices.

$ 58,900 2009 BMW 750i

$ 65,400 2009 BMW 750Li

Both of these BMWs would have approximately 30,000 miles and are available under the Certified Pre-Owned program. The CPO warranty will keep you covered for up to 6 years or 100,000 miles. An added benefit is that the previous owner or lessee took the major depreciation hit for you. These vehicles may be comparable from a dollars and sense perspective, however, it is very hard to consider them as true competitors.

While both the Equus and the 7 Series have V8 power plants, a rear-drive platform and nearly identical fuel economy, the list of similarities ends quickly. Hyundai’s V8 is listed as 385 HP with 333 lb-ft of torque. The BMW ‘s 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 is boasting 400 HP and a torque measurement of 450 lb-ft. This sort of disparity will become instantly clear to potential buyers. The German sedan will deliver on the promise of a luxurious environment without losing the ability to be a driver’s car.

I will give credit to Hyundai; the Korean automaker has made significant strides in the last several years in terms of quality and styling. The current generation Genesis and Equus are a far cry from the original Hyundai Excel that landed in the US in 1985. It is clear that Hyundai is using the Equus as a HALO car to attract potential buyers into the showroom and display the best and the brightest of what they have to offer. This strategy they will help them sell more of their main stream Genesis sedans.

The question to consider is will the Equus attract true buyers from the premium luxury category and specifically BMW? In my opinion it’s doubtful.

VW tried it a number of years ago without success. Buyers who were going to consider a full size German sedan like the Phaeton went ahead and bought the step sister Audi A8. Volvo has recently announced another 8 year plan to become a consistent player in the premium game dominated by the Germans. If a company with the quality and safety record of Volvo needs to make a dramatic effort to enter the upper tier of the market then it will be a very big leap for the Korean company to make.

I’d like your opinion. Where you would spend your hypothetical premium luxury sedan dollars?

Ross Schold is a new contributor to BMWBLOG.

There is something to be said for driving a car that you LOVE. A large number of us feel a deep emotional attachment to our vehicles beyond just a chosen form of transportation. I consider myself lucky to be within this group. These feelings began 15 years ago when I bought a E30 325es. Since then I have owned a 88 535is and my current daily driver is a 00 528it.

Over the years I have tried to be practical and owned several other non- descript sedans and SUV’s. Left with the feeling that I was driving an appliance I have always come back to the brand. It says something very special to me that I would rather drive my 12 year old wagon than get into a spanking new Brand X.

I live and work in Rhode Island with my wife and 3 young boys where youth sports, automotive interests, family and career keep me very busy.

I’m excited to be able to contribute to BMWBLOG and share this experience with all of the people out there that understand the emotions stirred by both BMW and all other interesting autos. I hope to provide an honest and enthusiastic perspective and look forward to hearing from the
BMWBLOG community. Thanks Very Much for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you.