Big grilles, rich thrills
Want This, Get This: Mercedes-Benz S550 or Hyundai Equus Ultimate
If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, leaving your gadget desires unfulfilled. What’s a guy to do? Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
Executives require executive rides, but perhaps you’re the new CEO of a startup and you’re strapped for cash. You can’t exactly plunk down for a six-figure European limo while you’re trying to figure out how to cover the new office expansion. Still, a certain air of success should emanate from the car you choose to be driven in: you can’t get to meetings in your dad’s old Buick Roadmaster. We’ve got two rides that cradle you in luxury and deliver you with speed. Both are opulently appointed despite a very noticeable $25k difference in price; one says that you’ve arrived, and the other, that you’re comfortably on your way.
MORE WANT THIS, GET THIS: Porsche Cayman S or Scion FR-S | BMW X5 M or Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 | Ducati 1199 Panigale R or Suzuki GSX-R1000
If your idea of sophistication and power is a limousine-esque ride that fires Benjamins out its tailpipe, look no further than the new Mercedes-Benz S550 ($92,900+). Far more attractive than the car it replaces, the new Merc flagship sedan cements its podium placement among the German powerhouses. The 4.7-liter twin turbo makes 455 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque for a run to 60 in 4.8 seconds. But you’ll be too busy enjoying the rear, fully reclining first-class seats with hot-stone massage to notice that your chauffeur just blew the doors off a sports car. The multi-link Airmatic suspension coupled with optional Road Surface Scan, which detects changes in surface conditions, makes for an eminently soothing ride. Optional 4-Matic all-wheel-drive ensures you’re jetted to your power lunch safely, no matter the clime.
With cushy amenities like full LED lighting throughout, industry-first heated armrest and door panels, a cabin fragrance system with your choice of four olfactory delights, and heated and cooled seats that suck perspiration from you after a hectic stockholder meeting, you might not want to spend most of your time in your corner office. But who can blame you? You’re clearly living the vehicular dream.
Hyundai Equus Ultimate
The second-generation Hyundai Equus ($68,000) is even more impressive than the Korean automaker’s first foray into its version of a top-end sedan. Less flashy and more classy this time around, the Equus has real street presence and doesn’t look like the bargain flagship that it is. The huge grille puts the Equus’s smile in a league with the German big boys; though its execution isn’t wholly original, it’s handsome nonetheless. In fact, to the less-auto-educated, it might just pass for a Benz. Huge rear haunches lend the car a particular muscularity typically reserved for muscle cars.
And as for blowing through cross-town traffic to make your flight, the 5.0-liter direct-inject V8 produces 376 lb-ft of torque and 429 hp and gets the Ultimate to sixty only a half second slower than the big Merc. The Continuous Damping Control suspension adjusts to road conditions, and though it doesn’t boast all-wheel-drive, the selectable Snow mode enhances the Equus’s foul weather drivability. The twin 9.2-inch video screens in the rear headrests and the full-cabin controls from the rear armrest make for a pleasurable ride in the worst of rush-hour traffic, and your driver will love the head-up display, which also puts the blind spot monitoring indicators right on the front windshield. Did we mention that the Owner’s Manual comes included on an iPad? This car doesn’t have to put on airs — Hyundai has built a car that the new exec can be proud of.