Reimagined 2019 Kia K900 Makes Global Debut at New York Auto Show
- Classically drawn exterior inspired by ‘Gravity of Prestige’ design concept
- Wrap-around cabin touts sophisticated materials and wide array of high-tech features and upscale amenities
- K900 offers superb ride quality and ‘confident comfort’
- Standard UVO luxe embedded telematics allow remote start and HVAC control feature
Sophisticated and stately, the entirely redesigned K900 brings a new definition of premium luxury to the Kia portfolio. Although it’s slightly longer and wider than the outgoing model, this K900 actually looks tighter thanks to its reimagined proportions, especially with respect to its profile. Combining a beautifully balanced design with flowing lines, tensioned surfaces and geometric details, the K900 introduces a modern air of elegance to the large sedan segment. Kia’s designers were inspired by a design ethic they call ‘The Gravity of Prestige,’ and this all-encompassing philosophy translates to a feeling of solidity and volume in the upscale space.
Influenced by the trajectory of light, the design of the duplex headlamps provides the K900 with a visually progressive image that establishes presence and character. Above the light housings, a floating hood design emphasizes the length, volume and balanced proportions of the car.
The rear of the K900 shows off a wide stance decorated with eye-catching details. The duplex rear combi lights echo the design language of the headlights and the integrated exhaust housings are finished off with chrome.
Overall, the K900 is equal parts prestige, power and presence, embodying an appearance reminiscent of a finely tailored suit over an athlete’s well-proportioned physique.
Elegant by design but with a minimalist layout, the interior of the new K900 provides drivers and passengers with a peaceful retreat that is simple, modern and comfortable. The cabin wraps around the driver, enhancing the sense of being cocooned from the outside world. A tight and virtually uninterrupted line between the doors and the instrument panel creates a deliberate sense of continuity. Flowing from the center of the dash and outward to the doors, surfaces are trimmed in a sophisticated combination of materials, with metal veneers and a choice of four open pore matte wood selections – Walnut, Brown Olive Ash, Beige Olive Ash and Engineered Wood. Soft leather balances the cabin’s harder natural surfaces in Black, Beige, Espresso Brown or two-tone Sienna Brown.
Kia’s definition of luxury is not limited to the privileged, but there is a distinct feeling of exclusivity achieved by tasteful accents throughout this space. The handsome dash is uncluttered and ergonomic, featuring a tech-savvy instrument panel and integrated air vents. The driver helms the car with a heated leather steering wheel and a matching center console-mounted gear shift knob.
As expected, the all-new K900 comes equipped with a wide array of advanced technology, connectivity and infotainment features. The center console features a tactile port dial that is both convenient and intuitive for driver operation of the 12.3-inch Human Machine Interface (HMI) touchscreen that displays maps, trip information, audio sources, climate controls and more. A newly designed, modem-based Premium Navigation system comes equipped with enhanced user-friendly features accessible via Kia’s UVO luxe1 sub-brand, dedicated exclusively to K900 owners. UVO luxe1 offers a full suite of remote features through an embedded modem in the vehicle and accessible once the UVO account is created on the myUVO.com website and the vehicle is enrolled. UVO luxe1 telematics features can be used from the desktop, tablet, or dedicated UVO luxe1 app, and all three access points allow remote start, setting of preferred cabin temperature, or easy to use features, such as Find My Car. K900 owners are also provided with a dedicated service representative reachable through a VIP phone line.There’s also full connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and additional convenience comes from a wireless cell phone charger.
The K900 has evolved into a truly sophisticated driving machine powered by a 3.3-liter twin turbo V6, the same engine found in the automaker’s highly acclaimed Stinger fastback sport sedan. This world-class engine outputs 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque and was recently named to Ward’s 10 Best Engines list for its exceptional responsiveness and refinement. The twin fast-spooling single scroll turbos are integrated into the exhaust manifold for enhanced durability. Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) works seamlessly in tandem, resulting in optimal and instant power delivery.
Since turbo engines typically generate more heat than non-turbo engines, a robust cooling system was required. To meet the challenge of extreme environments, Kia’s development team exceeded internal targets and over-engineered a system that utilizes a wider radiator for more efficient cooling and airflow, and adopted a high-capacity 600-watt brushless electric fan motor. Aiming to provide the highest level of quality and durability, Kia conducted testing and validation in extreme environments all over the world.
The engine pairs with a second-generation in-house built 8-speed automatic transmission to manage its power in a smooth and seamless manner. The Shift-by-Wire gear selector is standard and with no required scheduled maintenance under normal conditions, the transmission is excellent for everyday driving. At the same time, this gearbox allows quick and confident shifts during more spirited driving.
A longer wheelbase and a wider stance provide greater control and stability, as well as an ultra-smooth ride. The chassis was strengthened over the previous K900, achieving a more rigid body with increased front and rear lateral stiffness thanks to a greater use of structural adhesives – 676 feet for the new model versus 279 feet for the outgoing K900. And with 25 hot stamped parts, the most of any Kia vehicle, the all-new K900 has four times more hot stamping than before. Torsional stiffness increased by 33 percent over the outgoing K900, helping to give the vehicle a more solid and premium on-road feel. The K900 is targeting a TSP+ rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and a five-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Aerodynamically, the K900 utilizes a wheel air curtain to minimize vortices inside the wheel arches by introducing air from the bumper. In addition, full underbody panels reduce air drag by “straightening” airflow below the vehicle. And an active air flap further reduces drag depending on driving speed. The end result is a drag coefficient of .27 Cd.
For a large car to enjoy precise handling and a sense of nimbleness is no easy task. To that effort, the K900’s four-wheel independent suspension geometry, including a new front multilink design, is aimed at delivering tighter, quicker turn-in for a more athletic and spirited driving experience. The system is designed to improve driving stability and steering agility by increasing stiffness of the front and rear axle assembly. An available Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) is tuned to maximize driving pleasure and increase performance. ECS helps to reduce variations in wheel load, complimenting traction and reducing chassis motions. An internal damper system utilizes wheel acceleration sensors to detect rough roads and responds by modulating the suspension setting accordingly.
The K900 utilizes an electromechanical, rack-mounted power steering assembly designed to increase agility and comfort. Equipped with standard variable ratio steering, the system delivers a “slower” off-center feel, which provides a better sense of stability, especially during high-speed driving.
Smooth and linear stopping force with definitive confidence is the result of a front four-piston brake caliper design in combination with a rear two-piston brake caliper setup. Underbody cooling ducts guide air to cool the brakes and enhance performance. The system features standard Corner Brake Control and Brake Fade Compensation, which are designed to automatically increase hydraulic pressure in the braking system as the rotor temperatures rise to maintain a more consistent brake pedal feel in certain circumstances. This results in a more linear stopping feel. There’s also a brake drying feature that can periodically apply the brakes (undetectable to the driver) to sweep water build-up and maintain consistent performance in certain conditions.
The cumulative effect of these various efforts is a more confident and refined driving experience sought out by discerning buyers in the luxury sedan segment.
The all-new K900 will be built in South Korea at Kia’s Sohari premium manufacturing facility, shared with the Stinger.