First Official Photos of Kia's New K9 RWD Flagship Sedan


Only hours after we shared with you a scoop video showing the Kia K9 without any camouflage whatsoever, the South Korean automaker revealed the first official photographs of its all-new flagship sedan that will be launched in its home market this summer.

Initially referred to by its codename 'KH', Kia confirmed that the Korean market version of the car will be named 'K9' adding that the name for export markets, as well as overseas launch timings, will be announced later this year.

With the new K9, Kia completes its domestic range of "K" sedans, which also include the K5 (Optima in overseas markets) and K7 (Cadenza in overseas markets).

We'll start with the first thing we noticed about the K9 and that has to do with its design. What started out as a hunch when Kia showed us a handful of teaser sketches of its first ever rear-wheel drive saloon has now became more of a certainty. And yes, as many of you also noticed, the K9 appears to borrow one too many styling elements from BMW and especially its 7-Series flagship.

We could go on and on, but some of the things that stand out are the headlamp "eyebrow" accents, the low forward bend in the C-pillar and the rear end design as a whole – notice for example, the reverse lights incorporated into the chrome trim on the boot.

That doesn't mean the K9 isn't a good looking car, in fact, we wouldn't be surprised if some may find it more handsome than the 7-Series.

Soon-Nam Lee, Kia's Director of the Overseas Marketing Group, commented on presentation of the firm's new flagship : "K9 is our first rear-wheel drive large sedan, created without compromise in its design, driving performance and new technologies. K9 sets a whole new level of standards and values in the large sedan segment, and its design will be another Kia demonstration of our brand's power to surprise the world."

Kia did not release any additional information on the K9, but as we previously noted, it most likely shares its platform and engine range with the Hyundai Genesis, meaning it could be offered with the same 3.8-liter V6, and 4.6-liter and 5.0-liter V8 units.




Brandon said... »February 28, 2012

"appears to borrow one too many styling elements from BMW" is a SEVERE understatement... 

Wannabe said... »February 28, 2012

Is there a link to the aftermarket BMW kidney grills and BMW emblems for the K9?

Marshall Boyce said... »February 28, 2012

I see plenty of Maserati Quattroporte as well.

kachuks said... »February 28, 2012

I'll still take a Kia over a beemer, anyday...?????  never thought I would've said that five years ago.

Lucas said... »February 28, 2012

looks like bmw cs

Mralp said... »February 28, 2012

In some ways the lines and the tail lights look better than the BMW's, at least in these photos. I am disappointed with the very blatant rip off of both BMW and Lexus. I still would like to see the car in person to see how my perception might change...

Mike said... »February 28, 2012

Wow...well...Kia sure missed the (styling) boat on this one(!).  Funny, but as good-looking a car the Optima is, it's ironic that the K9 looks so cliche.  Kia should have let their U.S. design department have a crack at the K9, or at least the same group that did the Optima.  Let's just hope that the K9 is destined for the home market exclusively.

TangoUrilla said... »February 28, 2012

Its a shame, Kia were really making a good effort with their designs lately, to just go and copy another vehicles design is just plain lazy. come on Kia, you are better than this.

DuDE said... »February 28, 2012

Looks like a Chinese copy of 5-GT mixed in with a little bit of 7-series

Piotre_k said... »February 28, 2012

BMW 7-series? Hardly. Front end is almost identical to 5-series GT, and side profile is similar to previous Lexus GS, but I see no 7-series in it.

CK001 said... »February 28, 2012

It's absolutely a rip off of a 7 series. Why is Kia resorting to such blatant design theft now? Just because the Chinese manufacturers get away with it doesn't mean Kia should lower themselves.

And do they not know what K9 means? They're building rip off cars and calling them dogs...

Iion said... »February 28, 2012

It doesn`t look like BMW. It is a BMW. A future generation.

Peacemaker ic said... »February 28, 2012

personally i only think the front of the car looks like a BMW. it really has to do with that pinched grille. it suggests that its the kidney grille which is a staple of BMW design. i feel though the shape of the headlights are a more organic take on the cerato (aka forte) and the rear lights are a lot more pleasant than the 7 series. yes the reverse lights are integrated into the chrome accent but i think its more ascetically pleasing and becoming more common. 
overall i think its a conservative but likeable design and the outrage people have voiced on other sites are just another example of people not willing to accept certain aspects of car design as commonplace amongst brands. its a shame though, it really is a nice looking car and will never make it to Oz.......

amac said... »February 28, 2012

Kia does BMW better than BMW.

christopherlwilliamson said... »February 28, 2012

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Guest said... »February 28, 2012

BMW should sue these scum-bags! This is a copyright infringement!

Sol said... »February 28, 2012

They taken the rather messy 7-series and thouroghly improved it. Good on them I'd say.

ANT10J said... »February 28, 2012


Guest said... »February 28, 2012

Hopefully they won't call it "K9" here for obvious dog references!

aoaccd said... »February 28, 2012

I see the C-pillar and roofline somewhat Maserati Quattroporte-ish with the bold polished metal outline, and despite how much cheaper it is, it looks far better than the BMW 7-series which we're still waiting for BMW to redesign.

The Kia K9. WOOF!!!

Ben said... »February 28, 2012

im quite disappointed they have been making great looking cars for sometime, i guess they really ran out of ideas for this...

klowik said... »February 28, 2012

This could be next gen 7 series if you put the BMW kidney on the front. Still, Kia should change to a better looking logo. The current badge looks cheap and spoil the whole design.

Lezet said... »February 28, 2012

Writer must be blind because I don’t see any resemblance to BMW, this car is much more aesthetic looking than the 7 series. Well done KIA!! BMW, Lexus take note.

john1168 said... »February 28, 2012

I'm not crazy about the "H" grill still but I still think the car looks great.  I see some Maserati Quatroporte in the c pillar too... not a bad thing.

SgtBeavis said... »February 28, 2012

I totally agree that it is a 7 series knock off. 

And a damn good looking one at that.  I would pimp it.

Nailocr said... »February 28, 2012

It may have styling similarities to a BMW, but does it drive like a BMW. 

thisguy159 said... »February 28, 2012

I agree the front end looks similar to BMW, however, the rear end and the back 3/4 are lexus.  The side profile rear 3/4s looks like GS and the rear end the one that is comparing kia to bmw looks more like lexus ex than bmd

GUEST said... »February 28, 2012

So this is Kia. A small cheap car manufacturer wanna rise higher so they copy from the best Luxury Brand BMW. Well done Kia. You sure save alot for R&D.

k o v a l said... »February 28, 2012

Hmm, the funniest thing is that K9 looks way better than BMW 7... 

Bimmer Lover said... »February 28, 2012

It's OK, bimmers aren't made for everybody, and somebody has to drive the KIA.  Better you than me! :)

Andrew Popoola said... »February 28, 2012

My assessment exactly.

Bimmer Lover said... »February 28, 2012

You should borrow my glasses.  You need them.

Bimmer Lover said... »February 28, 2012

Right.  And your pee taste better than the soda you drank an hour ago.

Bimmer Lover said... »February 28, 2012

Another pee/glasses candidate. Awesome.

Bimmer Lover said... »February 28, 2012

#4 pee/glasses candidate.  Brotherhood is growing.

Bimmer Lover said... »February 28, 2012

Congratulations! You have won the #5 spot in the pee/glasses brotherhood!

jaloptar said... »February 28, 2012

"Hmm, the funniest thing is that K9 looks way better than BMW 7".

DadzBoyz said... »February 28, 2012

Crap people.  Take a pill.
It has two lights on the front.  What a ripoff of.....
The tail lights are red.  How could they.
Give me a break.
The headlights are larger and longer (front to back) than BMW.
The tail lights have the backup lights in the chrome.  That's where the BMW resemblence stops.  The shape of the tailights more resembles the Lexus ES but better (less busy).
The profile is more last generation Lexus GS with the chucky C-pillars.
They've been using the middle pinch grill for years now.
So it has characteristics of many other cars, yet improved.  You can say that about....  Umm....  Let's see....  EVERY CAR!
The most original (not necassarily good) designs of the last ten years have been the BMW X6 and the Acura ZDX.  Most everything else has played on some success of another car's design.
Look at the current lot of Mercedes.  They even have a look of the last Hyundai Azera with the pronounced rear wheel wells.  The Audi A7, BMW 6 Gran Coupe, VW CC are all take offs of the Mercedes CLS.  They see what's successful and all of them do it.  Even this Kia is an improvement on the influences is has.
Get over it kids.

scooterboost said... »February 28, 2012

i'm not a fan of sloped dolphin noses like bmw likes

Gary Bendrey said... »February 28, 2012

Probably a very good value. Wait and see. The name designation however just does not make it in the USA.  K9, a Dog? I love my dogs, but none of them are cars, and I would not purchase a K9 Dog car. I am being too hard on the Kia, but I do indeed hate the grill. Why make it an ugly K9, the name is bad enough.

SgtBeavis said... »February 28, 2012

It would be shocking if it did, but I'm pretty sure BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine" moniker is still quite safe.  

Still, it's a damn good looking car.

Rodprynne said... »February 28, 2012

An outrageous attempt to clone BMW.  The attempt to give it a slightly different grill results in remarkable ugliness... imagine doing something peculiar with your mouth......

aaronbbrown said... »February 28, 2012

 I think Carscoop is getting these manufacturers to release their official photos early, good work John. :)

I believe I like the look better than the BMW, though these are well touched photos.  Specifically the grill, the headlights, and the taillights have more visual appeal for me.  That said,  in the video posted from the other day the Kia didn't do much for me.

 Whatever your preference in the looks department, I have little doubt that the Kia will prove to be the more reliable lower maintenance vehicle.  Maintenance records don't lie, and if BMW allows a head-to-head comparison in that area, no doubt they will lose.  

Owner satisfaction surveys also show that overall the Koreans auto manufacturers are now making better quality cars than the Germans.   There are various reasons for this, the questionable ethics of their labor practices, superior quality control methods etc., which are worth debating, but there it is.

 In the area of outright performance, driver enjoyment and feel for the road, let's hope the BMW continues to maintain their advantage, otherwise what reason will anyone have for buying a Beamer. 

Chad Mclean said... »February 28, 2012

I see where your going with the comparisons, however KIA are doing what BMW should have done with their design. BMW missed the mark for me and is a bit soft compared to what we were expecting with the Concept CS, but I think KIA has the edge in design here...just sayin'

Hollister said... »February 28, 2012

  Let's just hope that the K9 is destined for the home market exclusively.

Hollister said... »February 28, 2012

 "appears to borrow one too many styling elements from BMW" is a SEVERE understatement...

Michael Scherping said... »February 28, 2012

I agree with you 100% actually.

haveadgootime said... »February 29, 2012

why... why? why?? you were doing really good. 

really it just got killed in action.

exige1 said... »February 29, 2012

the kia looks like a knock off of the BMW, BMW should sue it uses way to many styling elements from the 7 series.....

Ugly said... »February 29, 2012

Nice looking car, but the side profile I see more Porsche Panamera than 7 series.

Godwinslaw said... »February 29, 2012

Hyundai/Kia had so much success ripping off the CL design (Sonata), they made the next logical choice. The Optima has many Jaguar references as well. What they have not been successful at (so far), is having their drive trains/handling dynamics match their styling. As I'm sure that budget-minded poseurs outnumber those with the means and inclination for a better vehicle, the Hyundai group might have another winner on its hands. 

Godwinslaw said... »February 29, 2012

Upon further review-the profile between the two cars is nearly identical-right down to the Hofmeister kink and wheels! Luckily for Hyundai, superficial attractiveness (think bags of jello stuffed into girls' chests) is a big hit in our society. All this vehicle needs now is a nice tramp stamp and some daddy issues and it'll fit right in. 

Pupqy said... »February 29, 2012

This topic clearly shows that BMW is the LEADER, and Kia/Hyundai is a FOLLOWER. Kia took bimmer on to the drawing board and said, this car is perfect , how can we copy it so it dosent look the same, well this is the outcome. Whoever says they would take KIA over BMW obviously never drove a bimmer.

Cdr said... »March 04, 2012

Vile Koreans.  Copy everything and everything, almost as smelly as the Chinese.  Eatings dogs cause this behavior?

SeraniTafari Street Team said... »March 16, 2012

This is a car of such beauty and majesty! I recently did an in-depth blog on it on my website. Check it out!

Dakidakov said... »May 02, 2012

Kia have a cracking designer, and all his cars look stunning including the K9, but it does look a lot like a BMW 7 series, and I do not like that. I brings back memories of the days when KIA did copy everybody else and failed miserably. I am convinced this is going to be a great car! I just wish they did not have so many BMW posters in their design studios.

Carl Warmington said... »May 03, 2012

Yes it looks like a Chinese rip-off BMW on the outside, until one opens the door and has a look inside the cabin. There will be no mistaking the cabin of the Kia as a Kia

Joke R said... »May 04, 2012

A bit stupid using the rear lights as a guide.. .The Toyota Avalon looks very 'similar' to the BMW too. And look at the Mazda cx5 and a '11 Hyundai Tucson rear, and tell me that Mazda didn't copy...

Joke R said... »May 04, 2012

 I would like it if BMW would copy Kia's pricing and reliability.

Alex Saletta said... »August 06, 2012

 What reliability. Kia's have a reputation for NO reliability...

Spamism said... »August 06, 2012

I agree. All we're getting now are Kia's that look appealing. This says nothing of their reliability based soley on their design language. Check back in 10-12 years and we'll see if a Kia can be called 'reliable'.

Case in point, Alfa Romeo. They all look good, but hardly any one of them could ever be called reliable even on the day it left the factory.

guest said... »August 11, 2012

Pathetic how the K9 looks so much like the 7 series. This is exactly why people look down on Korean cars. Same goes for the Hyundai Equus looking like a Benz

Trucknuts said... »August 17, 2012

No, the Kia is clearly using a "Hofmeister kink" which is a very distinctive BMW design element since the 1960s (many brands have started using it). The Quattroporte's c pillar looks more like a Ferrari.

I would feel like a massive poseur driving this want to be.... Plenty of other cars out there with their own style.

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