2015 Kia K900 V-8 Arrival
Kia Flagship: Not an Oxymoron
"You bought WHAT for $66,000?" That's the question some 2015 Kia K900 V-8 drivers will get regularly -- and they'll enjoy every minute of answering it. The K900 full-size luxury sedan does what we've come to expect from Kia and Hyundai for years: It offers a package similar to those of more established brands at a better price. Only this time, Kia is attacking the top of the automotive food chain, from the BMW 7 Series to the Lexus LS. The K900 is an ambitious brand-building car from Kia, which has increasingly captured consumers' attention with the attractive Optima midsizer and comparison-test-winning Cadenza. In the U.S., will Kia's luxurious halo car end up more like Volkswagen's discontinued Phaeton or the industry-rocking Lexus LS? Over the next year, we're going to find out.
The K900 is aimed at early adopters who aren't afraid of being at the beginning of what could be a trend: decent and socially accepted Kia-branded luxury cars. Many will simply be confused, only seeing a $66,000 car that, for some reason, wears a Kia badge. Not only does the K900 not have the emotional appeal of a well-respected badge, it's saddled with an alphanumeric name that reminds us of dogs instead of cars. (It's called the Quoris in other markets). Nevertheless, this is not your neighbor's S-Class, and it's not yet another BMW or Lexus. This is a low-volume conversation-starter for people who want the space of a large luxury sedan with an added dash of exclusivity.
Kia has focused on the V-8 models at launch; entry-level V-6 cars will debut later this year in the low $50,000 range, helping to bridge the price gap from a nearly $40,000 Cadenza to the base K900. Our 2015 K900 retails for $66,400, which includes the VIP Package. All K900 V-8s come standard with 19-inch chrome wheels, adaptive LEDs, LED foglights, hands-free keyless access, power-folding sideview mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, a power-operated trunk, a 900-watt 17-speaker sound system, a navigation system on a 9.2-inch screen, front and rear cameras, an electronic parking brake, upgraded Nappa leather seat trim with contrasting piping, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, genuine wood trim, and complimentary maintenance for three years/37,500 miles with a loaner Cadenza or K900 while your K900 is being serviced.
Got all that? Well, we're not done. We skipped the white leather seat option but checked the $6000 VIP Package. Why not? The most loaded K900 V-8 still carries an MSRP below that of the base Jaguar XJ, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Lexus LS. The VIP package adds a head-up display, a full surround-view system of cameras, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 16-way power seats with a power-adjustable headrest, soft-close door latches (playing with them never gets old), and cooled rear seats that also have a power reclining feature. Put all of this together, and, along with the smooth suede-like trim on the pillars and headliner, and you've got a really luxurious package.
Already, my passengers have been impressed by all the content, but, over the next year, I'm going to find out whether the K900 V-8 is more than just a large collection of features. How well does it drive? Do all the interior features function as they should? How does it perform at the track? Stay tuned -- it's going to be a very quiet, 420-horsepower kind of year.
|2015 Kia K900 V8|
|SERVICE LIFE||2 mo/2975 mi|
|DRIVETRAIN||Front engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||5.0L/420-hp/376-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT (DIST F/R)||4624 lb (52/48%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||200.6 x 74.8 x 58.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.8 sec @ 103.2 mph|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||15/23|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||225/147 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|AVERAGE FUEL ECON||18.4 mpg|