Kia has taken the wraps of the K9, its new flagship sedan. The K9 is not only the first rear-wheel-drive Kia sedan, it also is said to be the company's most luxurious car to date.
Kia had previously teased the new sedan as the KH, but picked the K9 name to fit in with the company's other Korean-market offerings. The letter K stands for Korea, Kinetic, and Kratos, the Greek work for domination. The number nine shows how the car fits in the company's lineup, above the K5 (aka. Optima sedan) and K7 (the Cadenza).
The elegant sedan seems to blend design cues from many existing luxury sedans -- the curved nose and swooping headlights remind us of the BMW 6 Series, the profile line suggests the Lexus GS, and the stubby tail with twin parallelogram exhaust tips apes the Lexus LS. Nonetheless, the Kia K9 looks sophisticated and classy. Plenty of chrome trim adorns the outside, include twin portholes on each front fender, and the rear window slopes gently toward the trunklid. Out front, the so-called "Tiger Nose" chrome grille defines the car as a Kia.
Little else has so far been revealed about the K9, but as it is based mostly on the Hyundai Genesis, we can expect some of that car's engines and technologies to carry over. Kia says its new sedan offers the company's "best of the best" handling, technology, and design. We also wonder whether features from the Kia GT concept, first shown at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, will reach production in the K9. The show car had a turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 with 390 hp and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The K9 will go on sale in Korea within the next few months, but it's unknown where else the new car might land. Kia has confirmed the luxury sedan won't be sold in Europe, but says that it will announce on-sale dates outside Korea at a later time. Also, Kia says the car will be renamed when it is sold elsewhere around the world.
With Europe off the map and Kia working to improve its image in our market, we'd say chances are strong that the new Kia K9 flagship will be sold in the U.S. It remains to be seen, however, whether the car can stand out from both its mechanical sibling the Hyundai Genesis, and the array of similar luxury cars already on sale here.