Base Price: $61,000

Price as tested: $61,920

This week, we're driving Hyundai's upgraded luxury 2014 Equus Signature sedan, with "Equus" standing for the Latin word horse. Introduced in 2011 to American markets, Equus extols opulence in a "rethink everything you know about luxury" slogan in hopes of attracting the luxury class consumer. Current print and television advertising centers on "what kind of car is…? (that), with movie star Jeff Bridges delivering his most impressive voice overs, something he's been doing successfully for years.

Although the Equus branding effort continues to be a complicated one, Hyundai is successfully establishing both its core philosophy of lower price cars for buyers of all economic classes, including the sometimes very finicky upper level buyer. Hyundai will continue to experience similar growth pains Japan's Acura (Honda), Lexus (Toyota) and Infiniti (Nissan) did, although to date Equus is successfully impacting the market and looks for future luxury class sales growth.

As for the car, Equus is a most impressive effort as our week of driving included numerous business and local trips. The exterior is enhanced for 2014 thanks to a new grille and bumper layout, along with the addition HID headlights, LED turn-signal indicators, improved fog lights and revised LED tail lamps. Also new for 2014 are BlueLink telematics and blind-spot rear cross-traffic alert systems. The motif is highlighted by 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, making for a luxury and performance statement that is both soothing to the eye and exciting when your drive it.

Our Equus had zero options on the window sticker, meaning when you pay $61K for an Equus, everything a luxury consumer demands and then some comes with the deal.

Without going into every amenity listed (it would take this whole column), Equus owners will enjoy beautiful leather seating, lane departure warning system, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, pre-collision warning system, nine air bags, 4-wheel disc ABS traction control brakes, smart cruise control with automatic braking, rear safety back-up camera, wood trim interior, Lexicon 17-speaker 7.1 discrete surround sound DVD/Stereo system with navigation on a 9.2 inch screen along with numerous other bells and whistles.

Under the hood, Equus now features a larger 5.0 liter, 429 horse V8 that replaces the 4.6 liter, 385-horse V8 that powered Equus in 2011. Additionally, an 8-speed automatic replaces the original 6-speed automatic resulting in 23 mpg highway and just one less than the 24 mpg the 385-horse, 6-speed automatic delivered. The ride is quiet and sure footed thanks to an electric air suspension dual mode continuous damping control setup that allows traction administration via its rear drive setup. As for acceleration, the 5.0 V8 delivers 376 lb. ft. of torque, up 43 lb. ft. versus the 4.6 engine and is able to motive Equus to 60-mph in less than six seconds.

"Test Drive" especially likes the expansive power reclining rear seats, which offer more than enough room for taller adults to sit in comfort. If just four adults are traveling, a nice rear console folds down with specific stereo and climate controls.

In ending, we applaud Hyundai for building a wonderful example of top class luxury car that lists for way less than the competitors. As noted in previous reviews, comparing Equus to the most expensive BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar, Lexus, Acura and Acura finds this car as an alternative that will allow many other things, from top class home theater to an in ground pool.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 119.9 inches, 16.7 cu. ft. of cargo space, 4,553 lb. curb weight, 20.3 gallon fuel tank, 15 city and 23 highway EPA and a 37.7 turning circle.

Some consumers will surely turn their noses up at Equus because of the Hyundai badge, but the smart shopper looking for the very best and desiring a bit of anonymity will no doubt test drive an Equus because it's definitely first-class.

Likes: Power, interior, warranty, looks, amenities.

Dislikes: No all wheel drive, city MPG.

(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist)