Kia Launches K9 Sedan in South Korea, Hints at Details for U.S. Version
For one thing, the large sedan won't be named 'K9.'
The Korean iteration launches with two versions of Hyundai/Kia DOHC 3.8-liter Lambda V6 engine, with boosted power output, better efficiency and enhanced refinement for the new vehicle. One is rated at 286 horsepower and the other, boasting direct-injection, at 329 horsepower. Both mills have dual continuously variable valve timing and a variable intake system, and both will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Kia also says the direct-injection 329-horsepower engine will "join the global engine lineup next year." In other words, we can expect the more powerful V6, and likely a V8 powerplant, as well, to make the overseas journey for the U.S. launch.
Despite Kia's reputation as the younger sibling in the corporate Hyundai/Kia family, the K9 will slot above the Hyundai Genesis and below the Equus. The K9's chassis purportedly is pretty much the same one that underpins both Hyundai models. The wheelbase, at 120 inches, matches that of the Genesis, though the K9, at 200 inches long, will be several inches longer than the Genesis and a few shorter than the Equus. Like the Equus, the Kia flagship will offer a reclining rear seat with a leg rest. Safety and technology features include a heads-up display, 12.3-inch Thin Film Transistor LCD Cluster, rear-seat displays, four driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow), smart cruise control, premium sound system, lane-departure warning and blind spot detection, and around-view monitoring.
Kia launches elegant and luxurious all-new flagship sedan
- Elegant simplicity and balanced proportions create a premium feeling
- First modern rear-wheel drive Kia has V6 power plus 8-speed transmission
- Introduces a host of advanced features and technologies new to Kia
- Striking sedan on sale in Korea from today with export sales later in 2012
(SEOUL) May 2, 2012 – 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 center 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-liter 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-liter 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 percent 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.
I agree, the Koreans are making some nice looking vehicles right now and are surpassing the Americans in quality, joining the ranks of the Japanese and Europeans and and still leaving the US lagging behind. Don't sweat it Detroit, you're still ahead of the Chinese ( for a little while anyway) and have millions of sheep that will continue buy your products even though they know the truth about your standings in quality, thus the reason they lash out at imports whenever they can.
Don't they eat dogs in Korea?
Haven't you heard? It's Obama that eats dogs. I wonder what he has planned for the family dog, Bo? Poor dog doesn't know what's in store for him. First it was neutering, next is a space on the White House menu for the next state dinner for the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao.
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