Kia K9 luxury sedan prepares for its U.S. arrival and a new name

Justin Hyde

Kia K9
No, Kia will not sell a full-size, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan aimed at BMW 7-Series shoppers with a name like "K9." But in most other respects, this car that went on sale in South Korea today will come to America, as Kia's attempt to raise its status as the value brand of new-car buying.

Powered in Korea by two varieties of V-6 engines, one with 286 hp and one with 389 hp, both mated to an eight-speed automatic, the K9 aims for German-like levels of luxury, with gadgetry such as adaptive cruise control and four-camera monitoring system. It also shares pieces of its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Equus sedan -- including its exact wheelbase.

The $60,000 Equus hasn't been a huge seller for Hyundai, with just 1,279 copies moved through April, but it hasn't been laughed out of showdowns with the BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS or Mercedes S-Class. For its first luxury car, Kia wouldn't have to aim so high; its natural competition would be slightly less exalted cars like the Chrysler 300C and the Infiniti M. Only the sticker price will tell whether this dog will hunt.

View Comments