Kia still evaluating whether it will market the K9 in the United States

Article by Anita Panait, on March 1, 2012

Kia Motors Corp. has unveiled its latest luxury sedan that will be made available for sale this spring in South Korea. The sporty rear-wheel-drive car, touted to be the carmaker’s biggest and most luxurious car ever produced, is targeted to compete against the vehicles of premium car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG.

In accordance with Kia’s alphanumeric labeling of its car products, the luxury sedan will be dubbed K9 in Korea and will be given another moniker in other markets. Kia will reveal where these markets are sometime this year. Kia previously referred to the K9 under the code name "KH."

The K9 is the latest addition to the company’s K series, which already includes K5, which is being sold as Optima in markets, and the K7, which the company plans to sell in the US as Cadenza in 2013.  Kia has recently released official pictures of the K9, but included only a few details about the Kia's first rear-wheel-drive model.

The K9 will be built using the same platforms as the Hyundai Genesis and Equus sedans. The K9 highlights Kia’s latest evolution of the design direction that features the "tiger-nose" radiator grille, the company said. James Hope, a spokesman for Kia Motors America, said the company is still evaluating whether it will market the K9 in the U.S.

Kia, however, seems to be warming up to the US market for the K9 by attending one motor show at a time. The Kia’s sporty-looking GT concept, the styling cues of which could be seen on the K9, was first seen at the Los Angeles auto show.Its tour in the U.S. will cover the first four months of 2012. It is expected that Kia will make its first K9 delivery to the US market in 2014.

With sales of the new Kia K9 already starting in Korea, the brand hopes that it will bring a new segment to the automotive market. As the newest flagship luxury saloon of the brand, the K9 brings with it a very outstanding rear wheel drive. According to Kia, the K9 will later be released to key markets around the world by the fourth quarter of 2012. Considering that this is the first ever sedan from Kia to sport a rear-wheel drive, it will include the best of the best design the brand is known for.

The K9 will also have advanced capabilities and excellent driving performance. No wonder this model has been branded as one of the most anticipated models for 2012 not only in the Korean market but worldwide as well. The K9 is expected to round out the K series of the brand’s lineup of passenger cars. Other members of this range include the K5 with its front-wheel drive, known as Optima in other markets, and the K7 sedans, also known as the Cadenza.

For units to be sold in some markets outside Korea, the K9 will be fitted with the modified 3.8-liter Lambda MPI V6 engine with output of 290 PS. By 2013 though, the brand revealed that a GDI 3.8-liter engine offering 334 PS will be made available. The power delivered by the engine will be channeled to the wheels through the new automatic 8-speed transmission.

Because of how the gear ratios are spread widely, this allows for faster acceleration while being more refined when running at high speed. The inclusion of the shift-by-wire (SBW) technology that has a joystick controls ensure gear changes in a fast yet smooth manner. In terms of dimension, overall length is at 5,090 mm with wheelbase measuring 3,045 mm.

As such, the K9 is able to deliver excellent space for occupants in the front and the rear. Meanwhile it has a width of 1,900 mm and height of 1,490 mm, ensuring a spacious cabin. Inside this new saloon from Kia, one can see a number of highly advanced technologies and luxury features.

Examples include the Smart Cruiser Control, Lane Departure Warning System, and the Blind-Spot Detection system which makes use of radar. There is also the Around-View Monitor that utilizes a total of 4 cameras. For those who want to listen to music, the Lexicon 17-speaker sound system by Harman is a treat.

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