- Kia ventures into luxury territory with the 2015 Kia K900, the Korean brand's first car to offer an optional V8 engine.
- The new full-size rear-wheel-drive flagship sedan will launch in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014.
- The K900 will be available with either a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine or a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine.
LOS ANGELES — The Korean brand known for its affordable small cars and advertising campaigns featuring hamsters rocked the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show with the debut of the 2015 Kia K900, a new luxury flagship sedan that is expected to be priced close to $50,000.
The K900 is a landmark vehicle for Kia and one that signals a new offensive aimed at drawing buyers away from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The K900 is Kia's first car to offer an optional V8 engine.
"The K900 is the next logical progression for Kia," the automaker said in a statement.
The new full-size rear-wheel-drive flagship sedan will launch in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014. Formal pricing has not been announced.
The K900 is positioned above the 2014 Kia Cadenza, the brand's current front-wheel-drive sedan. The Cadenza, which enjoyed a short tenure as Kia's flagship sedan, starts at $35,900, including an $800 destination charge. The top-of-the-line Cadenza starts at $43,200, including shipping.
The K900 will be available with either a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine or a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The V8 model has most of the amenities expected by luxury buyers. They include standard adaptive LED headlights, a power rear window sunshade and a panoramic roof with power-retractable sunshade. Options on the high-end model include a VIP package with reclining rear seats with power lumbar support. The V8 model gets standard 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels.
The Kia K900 Premium V6 will launch with an optional Luxury and Technology package.
All K900s come standard with a power-operated trunk lid.
From a size standpoint, the K900 rides on a 119.9-inch wheelbase, which means it slots in between the short and long-wheelbase versions of the 2014 Lexus LS 460. It is slightly smaller than the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550, which rides on a 124.6-inch wheelbase.
Edmunds says: No, we're not kidding. This Kia targets the Mercedes-Benz S550 and the Lexus LS 460.