Can the new Kia K9 challenge the top dogs of luxury saloons?

After numerous teasers of the all-new Kia K9 (also known as K900 in other markets), Kia Motors has officially revealed their flagship sedan in its home country. Set to make its world debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, the new car will be manufactured in Korea and will go on sale in selected markets from Q2 of 2018.

A product of close collaboration between Kia’s global design headquarters in Namyang, Korea and U.S. design studio in Irvine, California, the team adopted a “Gravity of Prestige” design concept which resulted in the imposing and strong character of the K9. The new ‘Quadric Pattern’ front grille features 176 individual jewel-like cells, a design cue that Kia says exudes energy being released from the centre. The new grille will trickle down to other future models, replacing the familiar ‘Tiger Nose’ grille.

The wheelbase of the new model has stretched by 60 mm to 3,105 mm while key measurements read 5,120 mm in length, 1,915 mm in width and 1,490 mm in height. To give it a strong footprint, designers have shaped the car with shorter front and rear overhangs, pushing the wheels further out from the centre of the car.

Key elements of the exterior include the new ‘Duplex’ LED headlamps featuring an inner lens (in addition to the main beams) to create a progressive lighting profile. Generous chrome touches have been applied throughout the car to add visual depth to the smooth lines of the K9; even the tail lights housing come with chrome touches. Speaking of the taillamps, doesn’t it remind you of a certain flying B?A total of seven exterior shades are available for the K9: Aurora Black Pearl Pantara Metal, Deep Chroma Blue, Lake Stone, Marsala, Snow White Pearl and Silky Silver; combined with four interior themes – Black, Dark Brown, two-tone Beige and Sienna Brown Special.

Inside, the cabin is crafted with a “Confident Richness” design concept; an elegant interior that gently wraps the occupants with premium materials. Firstly, the cabin has gone through a major UI change. The existing 91 switches have been integrated and arranged into 73 individual switches, significantly de-cluttering the cabin.The 12.3-inch HMI screen is integrated into the smooth dashboard, controlled by a rotary dial placed next to the gear selector. Inspired by the simplicity of fine watch designs, the K9’s dashboard houses a Maurice Lacroix analogue clock designed specifically for the luxury sedan.

Co-developed with Pantone Colour Research Institute, the global authority on colour, the ambient lighting features seven colour themes – Blue Flight, Peaceful Forest, Dream Purple, Aurora Violet, Orange Delight, Golden Insight, and Refreshing Ocean – which lights up 16 areas of the cabin.

Other cabin details include premium real wood trims, leather seats with contrast stitching, a Lexicon premium sound system, chrome-plated bezels, automatic driver’s seat comfort control, a LCD instrument cluster and wireless charging port.A total of three petrol engines are available for the K9 – a 3.8-litre naturally-aspirated V6 with 315 hp/397 Nm, a 3.3-litre turbocharged V6 with 365 hp/510 Nm and a 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V8 pumping out 419 hp/520 Nm. An eight-speed automatic is standard across the board, sending power to all four wheels.

Kia has set ‘Reliable Comfort’ as one of their development goals, ensuring that the K9 not only delivers dynamic capabilities but also superb ride quality and quietness. As such the engineers have classified road conditions into 1,024 characteristics and tailored the ESP, powertrain and adaptive dampers settings accordingly to provide the highest levels of comfort in most (if not all) driving conditions.Safety wise, the K9 is as good as it gets – nine airbags, navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Blind-spot View Monitor, Rear Cross-traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) and Safe Exit Assist (SEA).

Prices for the Kia K9 starts from ₩54.9 million (RM200k) to ₩93.8 million (RM343k). Local distributor, Naza Kia Malaysia (NKM) aspires to elevate the brand perception of the Korean make with the introduction of high-specification models as well as the yet-to-come Stinger GT.



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