Not long after Kia first introduced the K900 to the U.S. market (sold as the K9 and Quoris elsewhere) they realized they had to spend a lot of money on marketing in order to get the word out regarding what an amazing value proposition their car was for the luxury saloon segment.
After all, this was the South Korean automaker’s first ever RWD saloon offered in the States, one that aspired to compete against some of the very best four-door luxury saloons the world had to offer, cars that wore Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus badges.
So they got Laurence Fishburne to star as Morpheus from the Matrix in a Super Bowl ad for the car, followed by signing NBA superstar LeBron James as the K900’s luxury ambassador – King James even went on to design his own spec.
However, as the years went by, it became evident that the K900 wasn’t going to break the stereotypes any time soon, which is something the upcoming all-new model hopes to achieve this year.
It may not be as sleek as we thought
You only have one chance to make a first impression, so the 2019 K900 better look good if it wants to succeed. Compared to its predecessor, Kia’s new flagship was supposed to look much more elegant – or at least that’s what the official sketches Kia released recently had us believe. The actual car, though, might be a different story.
A couple of Bobaedream forum members captured the new car on camera in South Korea, and while the quality of the pictures isn’t that great, we do spot a significant number of changes compared to the sketches, especially in the front and rear ends that look nowhere near as sharp in the metal as they did on paper.
We’ll reserve judgement for when Kia actually unveils the car, or at least until we see either a prototype, a production model without any camouflage or obstruction, or a much clearer set of images.
A luxurious and hi-tech interior will be the key to redemption
According to Kia, the interior of the all-new K900 is like “a peaceful retreat”. Based on the sketch they released, it seems to have premium materials (mostly leather), wood and metal inserts and an overall minimalist design.
Customers who appreciate technology should enjoy the digital instrument cluster and the 12-inch infotainment screen. The new K900’s HMI system will also illuminate certain areas where the drivers’s hand might reach, via proximity sensors, while the ambient lighting system is said to offer 64 colors and 7 different themes.
Regardless of its exterior appearance, the interior of the new K900 will represent a significant improvement compared to the outgoing model. Apart from the aforementioned equipment, it will probably feature improved semi-autonomous technology, better connectivity and more ‘clever’ driver assist systems designed to keep you safe.
You might want to get the V6, not the V8
This is a bit awkward, but if rumors are true and the new K900 will indeed come with the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 and naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engines from Genesis, future buyers might actually be happier with the entry-level unit since it’s down on power by just 55 horses and should prove more fuel efficient. In the future, maybe Kia will add some type of electrified powertrain; after all, it already offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology in both the Optima as well as the Niro crossover.
The platform on which the new K900 will ride on hasn’t been revealed yet, although our best guess is it will be the one used in the Stinger GT and Genesis models. Judging by the Stinger, it should be very good indeed, though it will be tuned towards comfort rather than outright agility.
What are my options in this segment?
Kia’s new-generation K900 saloon won’t be the only financially accessible luxury car in its class. Its half-sibling, the Genesis G90, also costs less than your usual suspects such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Audi A8. Then again, so do the new Lexus LS and the 2018 Jaguar XJ. And if you don’t care much about the establishment but want all the perks of a full-blown executive saloon, you might want to consider the Lincoln Continental and Cadillac CT6: the former is priced from just $45,160, whereas the latter from $54,095.
So, to do battle with the big boys, the new K900 should first dispatch the Americans with ease, and then we’ll start talking about the Japanese and the Europeans that own this class.
It’s hard to draw customers in this particular segment unless you offer an excellent product loaded to the gills with equipment at a significantly lower price. This will not do wonders for your profit margins, but it might just be the ticket for planting your flag in this territory and reap the benefits with future generations. If Genesis is already 90 percent there with their new G90, the K900 should at least be equal in order to have a fighting chance.
Okay, I’m interested. When can I get it?
The good news for future K900 / K9 buyers is that they won’t have to wait much longer for it to arrive. Kia has stated that their new flagship model will go on sale in select markets in Q2 of 2018, which means that we will probably see it in all its glory at the New York Auto Show at the end of this month.
Given the fact that the current K900 is priced from $49,900 and the Genesis G90 costs upwards of $68,350, the all-new K900 should be priced somewhere in-between. So, it looks like it’ll have the competitive pricing base covered; now, we’ll have to wait and see how good the finished item really is.