I’m going to list out some auto manufacturers and I want you to tell me which one doesn’t belong. Ready?
Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Kia, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. If you said Kia, then you'd be correct.
Why is Kia on this list? For a very good reason. Like its sister car company Hyundai, Kia has introduced a luxury flagship. Called the K900, this is the automaker’s attempt to take on the old guard in the luxury flagship class. It may seem like a joke; Kia taking on the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But after spending a week in one, I think Kia has a very legitimate chance in this market.
Before we fully dive into the vehicle itself, let’s talk about the K900 name. As someone pointed out, the name sounds like it should be on adventure with Doctor Who. In other markets, the K900 is called K9 or Quoris. Either one of those names would be much better than the one we got.
The K900’s look reminds me of the Cadenza full-size sedan. Park the models next to each other and aside from a few design items, it is hard to tell them apart. Both models have a rounded front end with the tiger-mouth grille and large headlights - the K900 boasts active LED headlights. Other similarities include similar side profiles - multi-spoke 19-inch wheels and faux air vents on the fenders give away the K900 - and rear ends. Usually I like Kia’s designs, but I kind of wished they went a little bit further to make the K900 stand out. That said, if you were to ask me if I would go for the K900 or its sister car, the Hyundai Equus, I would pick the K900 every time.
On the technology front, the K900 gets a 12.3-inch TFT screen which acts as the gauge cluster. The screen is very vibrant and allows you to customize the layout to fit your needs. A 9.2-inch screen in the center stack displays navigation, infotainment, climate, and Kia’s UVO e-services. At first, I thought the touchscreen was broken as it wasn’t responding to anything I touched. A moment later, I realized that the system was controlled by a BMW-like controller in the center console. Cue self-inflicted dope slap. It takes a few moments to figure how to work the controller and buttons that surround it, but once you figure it out, it becomes second nature.
For thoughts on power and ride, see page 2
Power comes from a 5.0L V8 engine with 420 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic. The engine is a smooth operator providing adequate power from idle to redline. More importantly is how quiet and refined the engine goes about its business. You only notice a slight murmur coming from under the hood when accelerating, meaning it's quite easy to go well above the posted speed limit without noticing. The eight-speed automatic provides silky-smooth shifts. Fuel economy is slightly disappointing with the EPA rating the K900 at 15 City/23 Highway/18 Combined. My week saw an average of 17 MPG.
It may seem bit crazy and very daring that Kia is selling a luxury flagship twenty years after their first vehicle arrived in the U.S. But if the recent trend of Kia’s product lineup and Hyundai Equus is anything to go by, the K900 has a real shot. Kia did their homework when working on this flagship and it shows. The K900 has many attributes that a lot luxury buyers want, for a price that will shock a lot of people. Yes, the K900 does have a Kia badge which may cause some to turn their nose up at, and there are a few items I think Kia needs to fix. But if you’re willing to take a chance on the Kia K900, what you’ll end up with is an excellent luxury flagship, and a bit of leftover change.
Disclaimer: Kia Provided the K900 V8, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Engine: 5.0L Direct-Injected V8
Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 6,400
Torque @ RPM: 376 @ 5,000
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/23/18
Curb Weight: 4,555 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Gwangmyeong, South Korea
Base Price: $59,500
As Tested Price: $66,400 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
VIP Package - $6,000