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Kia readies 2015 K900 for luxury-sedan segment

Wed, 22 Jan 2014

Kia is getting closer to its entry into the full-size luxury category with the 2015 K900, which will go on sale in the first quarter of 2014.

The K900 will arrive with two engine configurations. The most powerful is a 5.0-liter Tau V8 making 420 hp. The engine, which also motivates the uplevel Genesis sedan, uses direct injection, variable valve timing, a tuned air intake and Teflon-coated crank oil seal to improve efficiency. Driver selectable modes include eco, normal and sport. EPA fuel-economy numbers haven’t been released.

The 3.8-liter Lambda V6 comes in the less expensive model, which will launch later this year, delivering 311 hp with a three-step variable intake system designed to deliver more low- and midrange torque. The V6 gets direct injection and variable valve timing, as well.

Both engines send power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. So far, we haven’t heard anything about an all-wheel-drive model.

A five-link fully independent front and rear suspension keeps the K900 planted to the road. The front suspension is mounted to the sub-frame to reduce road shocks, while in the rear, the sub-frame also houses the differential. The rear coil springs and shocks are separate, allowing for negative camber and improved handling.

As far as design goes, the K900 looks like a BMW 7-series clone. Well, not exactly a clone, but the proportions are similar, as is the flat “tiger” nose and large grille. LED headlights wrap around the corners with narrow fog lights below. The standard mirrors are both power-adjustable and heated, and feature LED turn signals, an auto-dimming function and blind spot indicators.

Inside, a leather-wrapped, three-spoke wheel includes controls for audio, cruise control, entertainment and vehicle info. Steering wheel heat is offered on the V6, standard on the V8. The rest of the cabin is swathed in leather, with LED mood lighting. Wood trim sweeps across the dash in either walnut or poplar, while a 12-way adjustable seat keeps things comfy down below. Upgraded models have a 16-way adjustable seat.

In the rear, passengers will get the executive treatment with multistage heated, reclining seats and a center armrest. They also have access to heating controls and a power window shade.

The K900 dash includes a 12.3-inch LCD screen in the instrument cluster that displays pertinent information. More expensive models get a heads-up display that features speed, blind spot info and directions. Music comes from a 900-watt Lexicon system with 17 speakers. It can connect via Bluetooth, offers HD radio, three months of satellite radio, auxiliary and USB ports. A 9.2-inch screen sits in the center, offering the usual touch controls for navigation, entertainment and climate, controlled by a rotary knob that sits where the right hand falls.

Kia hasn’t announced pricing yet, but we’ve seen estimates in the $65,000 range. That’s a good bit less than its luxury competitors. We’ll have to wait and see if that makes for strong sales in the coming year.

By Jake Lingeman