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May 10, 2012

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Kia launches elegant and luxurious all-new flagship sedan

SEOUL – Kia’s all-new luxury flagship sedan goes on sale in Korea on Wednesday, powering the brand into an entirely new segment of the global automotive market.

The striking new rear-wheel drive sedan will be launched in a number of key overseas markets starting in the fourth quarter of 2012. The new flagship tops Kia’s global model range and is a true landmark vehicle for the company. Kia’s first modern rear-wheel drive vehicle using its own platform combines stylish design with luxurious comfort, engaging driving dynamics and advanced high-tech features.

Known as the ‘K9’ in Korea, the new flagship sedan will have a different name in overseas markets – to be revealed closer to its on sale date.

“K9 is our first rear-wheel drive large sedan for more than a decade and sets new standards for advanced design, new technologies and driving performance, representing the ‘best of the best’ of Kia,” comments Soon-Nam Lee, Kia’s Director of Overseas Marketing Group.

“Demonstrating once again our brand’s power to surprise, K9 will entice an entirely new customer group of progressive, forward-looking consumers to Kia for the first time,” adds Lee.

Designing for a rear-wheel drive platform has provided Kia with an opportunity for proportions that define luxury.

 

 

As a large rear-wheel drive vehicle, K9 boasts a long wheelbase which gives a generous first impression. As the engine sits further back, the A-pillar is also pushed back to create a longer hood and an impressive short front overhang. Consequently, the distance between the center of the wheel and the A-pillar, the so called “prestige distance”, is increased.

Thanks to the long prestige distance and high shoulder line, the glass house sits far back and the sheet metal-to-glass ratio is significantly increased. The pushed-back position and the small size of the glass house give occupants a feeling of privacy and dignity, while the nice distinctive window graphics accentuated by a chrome inlay give the car a premium feel.

“K9 is all about elegant simplicity, balanced proportions and simple surfaces,” says Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. “The class-leading long wheelbase, the prestige distance, large wheels, sharply upright short overhangs and a long sweeping shoulder line all work together in a harmony to give K9 a sporty, athletic proportion and a confident stance quintessential to a premium large rear-wheel drive vehicle.”

 

“While embodying a new generation of Kia design, K9 is a clear signal of our intention and determination to compete head-to-head with the European luxury brands. And for Kia, our customers, and for me – this car is like a dream come true,” concludes Schreyer.

With a 5,090 mm overall length and 3,045 mm wheelbase, K9 offers generous front and rear occupant space. Overall width and height are 1,900 mm and 1,490 mm, respectively, which creates a spacious cabin environment, while efficient aerodynamics and close attention to exterior detailing result in a highly competitive Cd of 0.27.

V6 power and eight-speed transmission

Initially, K9 will be available in overseas markets powered by an upgraded 290 ps Lambda V6 3.8-liter MPI engine, with a 334 ps 3.8 GDI engine joining the global engine line-up next year.

For fitment to K9, Kia’s engineers boosted the Lambda V6’s power output, raised its efficiency and enhanced its refinement – making it well-suited to power the new flagship model. The normally aspirated twin DOHC 3.8-liter engines are equipped with dual continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and a variable intake system (VIS).

Every K9 comes with Kia’s all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The wide spread of gear ratios guarantees brisk acceleration and high-speed refinement, while shift-by-wire (SBW) technology with a joystick control delivers fast, smooth gear changes.

Rear-wheel drive characteristics

“With K9 we have achieved a near-perfect front/rear weight distribution, which has created a strong foundation for excellent balance and steering response, and a sophisticated blend of ride and handling qualities,” comments Chang-Ky Kang, Senior Vice President of Namyang R&D Chassis Technology Center.

Together with the ultra-stiff bodyshell made with 74.3 percent high-strength steel, K9’s electronically controlled air suspension with five-link front and rear suspension geometry has given the new flagship first-class ride and handling characteristics.

Four driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow) enable the driver to choose a preferred set-up of suspension, steering, engine and transmission ideal for various road conditions or driving styles.

“K9’s excellent balance delivers a host of driver benefits – improved traction, greater road holding, enhanced braking stability, and enhanced turn-in. Adopting rear-wheel drive also enabled us to create a purity of steering response and feel,” concludes Kang.

Advanced new features

When it goes on sale in overseas markets, K9 will premiere a range of advanced luxury features and technologies that are second to none. Depending on model, available active safety features will include fully adaptive all-LED headlamps, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), radar-based Blind-Spot Detection (BSD) and an Around-View Monitor (AVM) with four cameras.

Premium comfort features include a 12.3-inch full size Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD cluster, a HUD (head-up display), twin 9.2-inch monitors to entertain rear seat occupants and a remarkable 17-channel, 17-speaker Lexicon (by Harman) sound system and Smart Cruise Control (SCC) which adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain the distance from the vehicle ahead.

A special ‘VIP’ option will offer twin heated and ventilated rear seats with a reclining backrest, sliding cushion and lower leg support for the ‘nearside’ seat, together with a front passenger seat that slides forwards when unoccupied.

Photos: Toyota

(May 2, 2012)


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