2015 Kia K900 Revealed in RWD V6 and V8 Options, But Looks Dreadful Inside and Out



Kia has been signalling its upmarket intentions for years now, and is really acting on that ambition in a pretty remarkable way.

K900 Animated GIF

The upcoming flagship Kia K900 is not priced yet, but is set to arrive in spring 2014 across the U.S. with rear-drive and the choice between a 310-horsepower V6 engine or the 5.0-liter V8 from the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec.

But what is Kia's real ambition in the executive limo market? The company is realistic about the challenges in luring conquest sales from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. The K900 is a long-term vision for the company, asserted with a 120-inch wheelbase and swanky tech.

Developing a luxury flagship can have numerous benefits outside of direct profits and revenue. As VW showed with the Phaeton project, luxury standards are able to be passed from top products downward into even the lowly Golf and Polo.

2015 K900 Kia New RWD Flagship 4

Would VW have known as much about NVH isolation without Phaeton? Or realized the limits of its U.S. sales network - dingy, old-Kmart-looking "import" dealerships?

No, Phaeton taught these lessons and they are still being learned across the VW Group.

2015 K900 Kia New RWD Flagship 2

Kia wants a share of luxury knowledge and innovation, as well as a bit of an edge versus the goody-goody Hyundai brand that enjoyed the RWD Genesis launch all to itself until now.

Will the K900 be any good? That is not immediately clear.

What is clear is that the K900 is very homely. It looks sad and grumpy from all angles. This is the second version of the international Kia Quoris/K9 - and both are equally unappealing.

2013-Kia-Quoris-Photo

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The double quad LED low and high-beams (standard on the K900 V8) are the best part of a dull design.

K900 V8 LED lighting

Overall, the K900's design is a mash-up of tired old Lexus and BMW themes, but tweaked to avoid it looking like a copy.

2015 K900 Kia New RWD Flagship 14

Like a fake "Rucci" or "Pardo" handbag - this thing still looks as fake as the Daewoo Leganza when sitting next to its S550 4Matic, 740iL and LS460 peers. Tacky chrome treatments on the V8 model are especially garish, including the chromed wheels that look repulsive.

2015 K900 Kia New RWD Flagship 17

Performance promises to be lackluster, with an estimated 8.0-seconds to 60 mph for the V6, and barely an estimated 6.3 seconds for the V8.

The back seat - ever a prestige area for limo buyers - of the K900 looks huge, but the numbers tell a very different story. With only 38.2 inches of rear legroom, the K900 has about a half-inch less than the Hyundai Genesis - and a whopping three inches of missing legroom versus the Toyota Avalon.

2013-kia-quoris-rearseat

A K900L could solve this problem easily, but will likely worsen performance and handling to unknown depths. (And bump prices far beyond Kia clientelle.)

Shoddy steering feel in $25,000 cars is not a big deal: most buyers care more about colors and tech and style.

But bad handling dynamics in a $50,000-plus limo? Buyers will know how a real luxury car should drive.

2015 K900 Kia New RWD Flagship 26

That takes us to the last, and largest, question mark.

Kia has been very ambitious with its pricing lately, losing focus on its value market positioning. The K900 cannot afford to be priced anywhere near established players like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

2015 K900 Kia New RWD Flagship 1

Worth recalling is that the 1990 Lexus LS400 - originally - cost barely half the price of the equivalent 740i or Mercedes 500SEL. That made buyers overlook certain deficiencies.

With Cadenza styling virtually identical, that FWD large car tops out at about $47,000. THis points to a $50,000 base for the K900 V6, and a projected $60,000 base for the K900 V8.

Will it sell or achieve success at those prices? No, it will not.

So Kia has many elements to sort out with this big K900 if it is to be popular anywhere outside of the home South Korean market.

This is a very ambitious and tactical company, however, that is very nimble and responsive to market demands. As even Cadillac tries for a piece of the $70,000-plus market, Kia has a lot of work do to on this K900 to even be vaguely competitive with the best.

One thing is for sure: K900 is better than the original name: The Kia K9.

Canine!?

Exterior Gallery

 

 

Interior Gallery

 

 

 

2015 Kia K900 - Features and Equipment

2015 Kia K900 Features & Options
 
S = Standard-- = Not AvailableO = Optional
 
MechanicalV6V8
3.8L Gasoline Direct Injection V6 engineS--
5.0L Gasoline Direct Injection V8 engine--S
8-speed automatic transmissionSS
Rear-wheel driveSS
Shift-by-cableS--
Shift-by-wire gear selectorOS
Drive mode select (Sport, Normal, Comfort & Snow)SS
 
ExteriorV6V8
18" tires with alloy wheelsS--
19" tires with chrome wheels--S
HID headlights with adaptive front lighting system (AFLS)S--
LED headlights--S
LED fog lightsSS
Smart Key remote keyless entrySS
Auto rain sensing wipersSS
Power-folding side mirrorsSS
Illuminated door scuff platesSS
Panoramic sunroof with power shadeOS
Chrome tail-pipe finishSS
LED taillampsSS
Soft-close power door latchesOO
Hydrophobic front side glassSS
Power trunk open/closeSS
 
Interior & ConvenienceV6V8
USB/auxiliary input jacksSS
Bluetooth® wireless technologySS
Steering wheel-mounted audio/Bluetooth® wireless technology/cruise-control buttonsSS
Leather-wrapped steering wheelS--
Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with genuine woodOS
Power tilt & telescopic steering columnSS
12.3-inch full TFT LCD instrument clusterSO
Leather-wrapped upper dash, center console, door panel insertSS
AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM audio systemSS
Lexicon® 2 Discrete Logic7 900-watt surround-sound audio with 17 speakersSS
9.2-inch Navigation system with rear-camera displaySS
UVO eServicesSS
Driver information system (DIS)SS
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror with HomeLink® and compassSS
Push-button start with Smart keySS
Back-up warning systemSS
Around view monitor (AVM)--O
Power windows with one-touch auto up & downSS
Power door locks with remote keyless entrySS
Three-zone temperature control with ionized air filtration (Dual, front & rear)SS
Rear seat center controlsSS
Trip computerSS
EcoMinder® fuel-efficiency indicatorSS
Blind spot detection system (BSD)OS
Rear cross traffic alert (RCTA)OS
Panoramic sunroofOS
Cruise controlSS
Advanced smart cruise control (ASCC)OO
Lane departure warning system (LDWS)OS
Advanced vehicle safety management (AVSM)OO
Electronic parking brakeSS
Power rear sunshadeSS
Front and rear parking sensors with Park Guide System (PGS)SS
Credit card-sized smart keySS
 
Seating & TrimV6V8
Leather seat trimSS
Premium Nappa leather seat trimOS
12-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar supportSS
16-way power adjustable driver's seat including adjustable headrestOO
8-way power front passenger seatSS
Driver seat memorySS
Ventilated front seatsSS
Heated front seatsSS
Rear heated outboard seatsSS
Rear ventilated outboard seats--O
Power 60:40 reclining 2nd row seats--O
Leather-wrapped steering wheel/gearshift knobSS
Genuine wood interior trim, center consoleOS
Aluminum trim accentsS--
Heated steering wheel with genuine wood trimOS
Rear seat ski pass through openingSS
 
Restraint & Safety SystemsV6V8
Dual front advanced airbagsSS
Dual front seat-mounted side airbagsSS
Dual rear seat-mounted side airbagsSS
Side curtain airbags (front and rear)SS
Front and rear 3-point seat beltsSS
Front seat-belt pretensionersSS
Height-adjustable front seat-belt anchorsSS
4-wheel disc brakesSS
4-wheel Antilock Brakes System (ABS)SS
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)SS
Traction Control System (TCS)SS
Brake-Assist System (BAS)SS
Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)SS
Side-impact door beamsSS
Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)SS

2015 Kia K900 - Official Specifications

2015 Kia K900 Specifications
 
EngineV6V8
Type/layout3.8L V6 DOHC Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)5.0L V8, DOHC Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)
Displacement3,778 cc5,038 cc
Bore x stroke (mm)96.0 x 87.0 mm96.0 x 87.0 mm
Compression ratio11.5:110.5:1
Horsepower311 hp @ 6,000 rpm420 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque293 lb. ft. @ 5,000 rpm376 lb. ft. @ 5,000 rpm
 
DrivetrainV6V8
Transmission Gear Ratios: 8-speed automatic transmission--
First3.665:13.795:1
Second2.396:12.473:1
Third1.610:11.613:1
Fourth1.19:11.177:1
Fifth1.00:11.00:1
Sixth0.826:10.831:1
Seventh0.643:10.652:1
Eighth0.556:10.571:1
Reverse2.273:12.467:1
Final drive ratio3.909:13.538:1
Layout/driveFront engine/RWDFront engine/RWD
 
Exterior DimensionsV6V8
Wheelbase (in.)119.9 in.119.9 in.
Length (in.)200.6 in.200.6 in.
Width (in.)74.8 in.74.8 in.
Height (in.)58.7 in.58.7 in.
Track (in.), front/rear63.6 in. / 64.3 in.63.8 in. / 64.1 in.
Curb weight (lbs.)4,277 lbs.4,555 lbs.
Fuel capacity (gal.)19.8 gal.19.8 gal.
 
Interior DimensionsV6V8
Seating capacity5 passenger5 passenger
Head room, front/rear (in.)40.2 in. / 37.6 in.40.2 in. / 37.6 in.
Leg room, front/rear (in.)45.9 in. / 38.2 in.45.9 in. / 38.2 in.
Shoulder room, front/rear (in.)59.1 in. / 57.2 in.59.1 in. / 57.2 in.
Passenger volume (cu. ft.)110.8 cu. ft.110.8 cu. ft.
Cargo volume (cu. ft.)15.9 cu. ft15.9 cu. ft
Total volume (cu. ft.)126.7 cu. ft.126.7 cu. ft.
 
Chassis/SuspensionV6V8
FrontMulti-link typeMulti-link type
RearMulti-link typeMulti-link type
 
SteeringV6V8
AssistElectricElectric
Turns lock-to-lock2.982.98
Steering ratio15.8:115.8:1
 
Wheels/TiresV6V8
Wheel size (in.)18 x 7.519 x 9.0
Tire size (front; rear)245/50R18; 245/50R18245/45R19; 275/40R19
 
Estimated Fuel EconomyV6V8
City/Highway (mpg)TBDTBD