Kia divulges details of the new ’15 K900 today at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show.
The rear-wheel-drive sedan is the U.S. version of the K9, which Kia has been selling in its home market of South Korea since spring 2012.
The car, on sale in first-quarter 2014, represents Kia’s first foray into the luxury market in the U.S. since the brand’s debut here in 1994.
“The K900 is the next logical progression for Kia,” Michael Sprague, executive vice president-marketing for Kia Motors America says in a statement. The car “demonstrates what Kia is capable of and will help redefine what the Kia brand stands for.”
The K900 will have Kia’s first V-8 in a U.S. sedan, the 420-hp 5.0L direct-injected engine already in use in sister brand’s Genesis and Equus models.
The car also will offer the Genesis’ 3.8L DI V-6, which makes 311 hp.
Both the V-8 and V-6 engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, but Kia notes gear ratios are customized for each mill.
The RWD K900 rides on 5-link independent front and rear suspensions. The front unit boasts coaxial coil-spring shock absorbers mounted on the sub-frame to dampen pavement imperfections.
The steering column has a new friction bearing for better straight-line stability, and in the rear, separate coil springs and shock absorbers improve cornering ability by allowing for negative camber.
The car’s chassis consists of 75% high- and ultra-high-strength steel for added torsional rigidity.
Laminated side-window glass and “generous use” of sound-reducing materials keep the K900’s cabin quiet, Kia says.
Size-wise, the K900 mimics the Equus’ 119.9-in. (3,045-mm) wheelbase and front and rear tracks.
The K900 features 19-in. multispoke chrome wheels with the V-8, while V-6 model’s get 18-in. alloys.
As is to be expected with a luxury model, interior features of the K900 are plentiful and include a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for the audio and vehicle-information systems; Nappa leather seats in white with contrast piping; LED interior lighting as standard; and genuine “white sycamore or dark charcoal poplar-wood trim” on the dash and door panels.
Other upmarket features include an optional 16-way power driver’s seat, multi-stage heating for outboard rear seats, and reclining rear seats, the latter part of the V-8 model’s VIP package.
Also part of that package is Kia’s largest LCD screen on the center stack, a 12.3-in. (312-mm) design, and a heads-up display, also available in the V-6’s Technology package.
The K900 features some of the advanced safety technologies available on the Cadenza front-wheel-drive near-luxury sedan, such as rear-cross-traffic alert, standard on V-8 models, and blindspot detection, but adds a Kia-first Advanced Vehicle Safety Management system. The system marries electronic stability control and the ability to pre-pressurize the braking system and tighten seatbelts in anticipation of a collision.
Kia hasn’t divulged a sales goal for the K900. In an interview with WardsAuto in September, Sprague cautioned against using South Korean K9 sales as a guide for U.S. deliveries.
“There’s a huge difference” between the two markets, Sprague said. “It’s very small-car-focused there. And the Korean market is an open market now, so there’s a lot more competition. When you give consumers choices, they make different decisions.”
Kia K9 sales in Korea plunged 42.6% in September, WardsAuto data shows, and from January through September were down 31.7% from like-2012, with 4,167 deliveries.