What Is It?
2015 Kia K900
What's Special About It?
It sounds ludicrous, but suspend your disbelief: With the 2015 Kia K900, the automaker has every intention of irritating the full-size luxury establishment.
The base K900, expected to start at around $50,000 when it goes on sale next spring, will offer a 3.8-liter V6 engine with 311 horsepower. That won't be enough to push around this 4,300-pound sedan with any real authority, so the optional 420-hp V8 will be tasked to lift the K900 into the echelon of BMW, Lexus and Mercedes comparisons. Both all-aluminum, direct-injected engines will pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In addition to more power, the V8 offers many of the features luxury buyers expect, among them heated, ventilated and reclining front and rear seats, a full-length panoramic sunroof, a full-color head-up display and safety systems that include a 360-degree camera view, adaptive cruise control, collision warning system, blind-spot detection and lane departure warning.
The base model V6 won't lack for dazzle, however. Despite a deficit of power (noticeable in our K900 first drive), the base model K900 will still offer adaptive LED headlights that shift up to 12 degrees, leather upholstery (with optional Napa leather upgrade) and a 9-inch navigation and multimedia display.
As if to emphasize the K900's singular mission, designers departed from the distinctive "tiger nose" grille found throughout the Kia lineup, instead blunting the front end and adding a bolder, wider grille for an effect that's more Jaguar than tiger.
Kia executives accept that the K900 will sell in low volume, but volume is not its primary purpose. Rather, the flagship luxury sedan is expected to fundamentally alter perceptions of Kia and burnish its badge cachet. Will it be enough to lure buyers from traditional German and Japanese favorites? Kia thinks so, especially among younger, tech-savvy buyers. Michael Sprague, Kia executive vice president of marketing and communications, says the K900 will appeal to "technophiles with a different idea of luxury."
A fully loaded 2015 Kia K900 V8 model is expected to start around $65,000.
What Edmunds Says: Kia has proven it can compete in tough segments including midsize sedans, compacts and crossovers. There's no reason to think the company can't deliver in the full-size luxury class.
Base Price: $50,000
Engine: 3.8-liter V6; 5.0-liter V8
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 311 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (V6); 420 hp @ 6,400 rpm, (V8)
Dimensions: 200.6 inches long, 58.7 inches high, 74.8 inches wide, 119.9-inch wheelbase