Kia K9 Officially Launches In Korea – North America Next?
Kia’s new luxury sedan currently dubbed the K9 has officially been launched in South Korea this week. We brought you some initial teaser images of the Kia K9 back in February, and now we’re pleased to bring you some more official photos of Kia’s latest high-end sedan offering.
There is still much we do not know about the Kia K9′s availability here in North America. As we touched on previously, the vehicle will carry a different nameplate when it does arrive on our shores and pricing is still a mystery. Export sales are expected to begin later this year, but still no official confirmation of Canadian delivery dates.
A large rear-wheel drive luxury sedan offering is a big, bold step for Kia. The Kia K9 launch news comes on the heels of some blistering sales figures for Kia Canada who just announced their first-ever month (April, 2012) exceeding 8,000 units sold. Competition from luxury stalwarts Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW will be fierce, but as an automaker brand Kia has matured greatly in recent years and perhaps the timing is right to go after this coveted and lucrative demographic.
Check out some official images and the full release after the jump.
SEOUL – Kia’s all-new luxury flagship sedan goes on sale in Korea today (Wednesday), powering the brand into an entirely new segment of the global automotive market.
The striking new rear-wheel drive sedan will be launched in a number of key overseas markets starting in the fourth quarter of 2012. The new flagship tops Kia’s global model range and is a true landmark vehicle for the company. Kia’s first modern rear-wheel drive vehicle using its own platform combines stylish design with luxurious comfort, engaging driving dynamics and advanced high-tech features.
Known as the ‘K9′ in Korea, the new flagship sedan will have a different name in overseas markets – to be revealed closer to its on sale date.
“K9 is our first rear-wheel drive large sedan for more than a decade and sets new standards for advanced design, new technologies and driving performance, representing the ‘best of the best’ of Kia,” comments Soon-Nam Lee, Kia’s Director of Overseas Marketing Group.
“Demonstrating once again our brand’s power to surprise, K9 will entice an entirely new customer group of progressive, forward-looking consumers to Kia for the first time,” adds Lee.
Designing for a rear-wheel drive platform has provided Kia with an opportunity for proportions that define luxury.
As a large rear-wheel drive vehicle, K9 boasts a long wheelbase which gives a generous first impression. As the engine sits further back, the A-pillar is also pushed back to create a longer hood and an impressive short front overhang. Consequently, the distance between the centre of the wheel and the A-pillar, the so called “prestige distance”, is increased.
Thanks to the long prestige distance and high shoulder line, the glass house sits far back and the sheet metal-to-glass ratio is significantly increased. The pushed-back position and the small size of the glass house give occupants a feeling of privacy and dignity, while the nice distinctive window graphics accentuated by a chrome inlay give the car a premium feel.
“K9 is all about elegant simplicity, balanced proportions and simple surfaces,” says Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. “The class-leading long wheelbase, the prestige distance, large wheels, sharply upright short overhangs and a long sweeping shoulder line all work together in a harmony to give K9 a sporty, athletic proportion and a confident stance quintessential to a premium large rear-wheel drive vehicle.”
“While embodying a new generation of Kia design, K9 is a clear signal of our intention and determination to compete head-to-head with the European luxury brands. And for Kia, our customers, and for me – this car is like a dream come true,” concludes Schreyer.
With a 5,090 mm overall length and 3,045 mm wheelbase, K9 offers generous front and rear occupant space. Overall width and height are 1,900 mm and 1,490 mm, respectively, which creates a spacious cabin environment, while efficient aerodynamics and close attention to exterior detailing result in a highly competitive Cd of 0.27.
V6 power and eight-speed transmission
Initially, K9 will be available in overseas markets powered by an upgraded 290 ps Lambda V6 3.8-litre MPI engine, with a 334 ps 3.8 GDI engine joining the global engine line-up next year.
For fitment to K9, Kia’s engineers boosted the Lambda V6′s power output, raised its efficiency and enhanced its refinement – making it well-suited to power the new flagship model. The normally aspirated twin DOHC 3.8-litre engines are equipped with dual continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and a variable intake system (VIS).
Every K9 comes with Kia’s all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The wide spread of gear ratios guarantees brisk acceleration and high-speed refinement, while shift-by-wire (SBW) technology with a joystick control delivers fast, smooth gear changes.
Rear-wheel drive characteristics
“With K9 we have achieved a near-perfect front/rear weight distribution, which has created a strong foundation for excellent balance and steering response, and a sophisticated blend of ride and handling qualities,” comments Chang-Ky Kang, Senior Vice President of Namyang R&D Chassis Technology Center.
Together with the ultra-stiff bodyshell made with 74.3 per cent high-strength steel, K9′s electronically controlled air suspension with five-link front and rear suspension geometry has given the new flagship first-class ride and handling characteristics.
Four driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow) enable the driver to choose a preferred set-up of suspension, steering, engine and transmission ideal for various road conditions or driving styles.
“K9′s excellent balance delivers a host of driver benefits – improved traction, greater road holding, enhanced braking stability, and enhanced turn-in. Adopting rear-wheel drive also enabled us to create a purity of steering response and feel,” concludes Kang.
Advanced new features
When it goes on sale in overseas markets, K9 will premiere a range of advanced luxury features and technologies that are second to none. Depending on model, available active safety features will include fully adaptive all-LED headlamps, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), radar-based Blind-Spot Detection (BSD) and an Around-View Monitor (AVM) with four cameras.
Premium comfort features include a 12.3-inch full size Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD cluster, a HUD (head-up display), twin 9.2-inch monitors to entertain rear seat occupants and a remarkable 17-channel, 17-speaker Lexicon (by Harman) sound system and Smart Cruise Control (SCC) which adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain the distance from the vehicle ahead.
A special ‘VIP’ option will offer twin heated and ventilated rear seats with a reclining backrest, sliding cushion and lower leg support for the ‘nearside’ seat, together with a front passenger seat that slides forwards when unoccupied.
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