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Kia opens K9 order books

Out of the doghouse: The new Kia luxury sedan will shed its K9 badges when it hits selected overseas markets.

K9 luxury sedan launched in Korea, but still ruled out by Kia for Australia

3 May 2012

KIA has opened the order books for its K9 flagship in its home market of Korea, edging the car-maker towards the luxury-car segment for the first time.

Featuring styling clearly inspired by the Maserati Quattroporte, the K9 is the fast-growing Korean company’s first rear-wheel-drive sedan.

The K9 will spearhead Kia’s K-series sedan range, which includes the Optima (called K5 in Korea) and Cadenza (K7).

The car will be introduced with a different name in “a number of key overseas markets” during the final quarter of this year, but its left-hand-drive-only configuration leaves it out of the running for Australia.

Kia has not identified which LHD markets it will specifically target, but it is expected to hit Asian markets such as China first, before heading to Europe.

Kia chief design officer – and former Audi designer – Peter Schreyer said the K9 is “a clear signal of our intention and determination to compete head-to-head with the European luxury brands”.

At 5090mm long, 1900mm wide and 1490mm high, the K9 is about the same size as both the Mercedes-Benz S-class and BMW 7 Series.

Kia claims the K9 is based on its own platform, although its 3045mm wheelbase is identical to that of the rear-drive architecture that underpins parent company Hyundai’s Equus large sedan.

17 center imagePower comes from a 213kW version of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group’s 3.8-litre Lambda V6 petrol engine, while a more powerful 245kW 3.8-litre direct-injection version will join the line-up next year.

Both engines will be paired exclusively with a new-to-Kia eight-speed automatic transmission, already used on high-end Hyundai Genesis and Equus models.

Claimed to feature a near 50:50 weight distribution, the K9 is claimed to feature nimble dynamics, with the rear-drive set-up providing “a purity of steering response and feel”.

All K9s will come with four driving modes – Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow – each offering different settings for the suspension, steering, engine and transmission.

The bodyshell contains a high percentage of high-strength steel, while the electronically controlled air suspension system is designed to further improve NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels.

Advanced technologies such as lane-departure warning, radar-based blind-spot detection and 360-degree monitor with four cameras will be available.

Comfort features include a 12.3-inch ‘Thin Film Transistor’ LCD screen, head-up display, twin 9.2-inch rear monitors, radar-guided cruise control and a 17-speaker sound system.

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