2019 Kia K900 Debuts, Does Its Damndest to Get Noticed
“Hey, what are you doing with my car?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was my Kia K900.”
That’s the scene Kia Motors wants to see play out in parking lots across America, now that the second generation of the brand’s flagship has seen the spotlight at the New York International Auto Show.
On sale later this year, the 2019 K900 — which sounds like the name of a Soviet submarine — aims to attract the buyers its predecessor lacked through understated style, piles of luxury features, attractive interior fittings, and improved driving dynamics. Kia’s an eternal optimist, we’ll give it that.
Despite a full-size sedan segment that looks to be well on its way to oblivion, Kia isn’t about to abandon it just yet. The automaker wants to be remembered for building an all-around good luxury car, not just a decent luxury car with a mushy suspension. Top-down change was in order.
For 2019, the K900 adopts the brand’s “Gravity of Prestige” design ethos, a term that makes this author think of Charles de Gaulle.
Now sporting “duplex” headlamps flanking a “Quadric pattern” grille and a smoother, tauter-looking profile, the K900 is slightly longer and wider than the first-generation model. Formerly a rear-drive car, Kia decided the K900 should go all-wheel drive permanently. So, it has. Sending power to all four wheels is the same 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 found under the hood of the Kia Stinger GT and vehicles sold by the Genesis brand. Gone is the optional 5.0-liter V8, but few will mind. Output of the smooth V6 is a robust 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, managed by an eight-speed automatic.
Those looking to get the most out of the car’s rear-biased AWD and stiffer architecture can select from four drive modes (Comfort, Eco, Sport or Custom), but we’ve got a hunch most drivers will choose what’s behind door number one.
Inside, Nappa leather fills the cabin, with buyers choosing from one of four open pore wood trims. Some trees were harmed in the making of this sedan. Sound comes by way of a 17-speaker Harman Kardon/Lexicon audio system that Kia claims is its most powerful to date.
The touchscreen can’t be missed — it’s a 12.3-inch unit spanning the top of the center stack. A customizable digital instrument panel of the same width awaits drivers who check that option box, and there’s an available 9.7 inch head up display (HUD) if you’re really looking for information overload. Smack dab between the front seat occupants is a Maurice Lacroix-designed analog clock with Roman numerals, perfect for creating a timeless ambiance.
Driver assist features span the gamut, with forward and rear emergency braking among the many safety aids. Suffice it to say, this rig comes off the line fairly loaded. We won’t know the pricing until closer to its on-sale date.
Kia wants to appeal to buyers who appreciate road manners and bargain appointments, not just the latter. The brand plays up the new K900’s roadholding prowess and its efforts to banish NHV issues. Having driven the second-gen K900’s Genesis G90 platform mate, this author can attest to that model’s quality and ride — it’s a damn good car. Whether buyers take notice remains to be seen.
[Images: Kia Motors]
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