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Kia’s K900 pushes into the $60,000 luxury car club


Kia’s K900 pushes into the $60,000 luxury car club

Even though it made its reputation on quirky budget vehicles, Kia has, in recent years, been trying to establish itself as an upscale brand, like a middle-class kid trying to sit at the table with the popular rich kids at lunch. The Cadenza sedan, introduced last year, didn’t exactly blow the roof off the market.

But Kia isn’t giving up. They think they can, they think they can. In fact, they’ve doubled down on luxury, today launching the K900, which, despite a name that comes very close to that of Dr. Who’s robot dog, K9, aims to be a world-class luxury sedan.

After we endured an extended violin concert of “Hotel California” played by members of Celine Dion’s Las Vegas house band, Kia told us that the K900 will generate “a new buying habit from self-defined technophiles with a new appreciation for luxury.” At last, someone is making a car for those people. Kia had better hope self-defined technophiles like Lexuses, because that’s essentially what they’ve made here.

Inside and out, the K900 bears a startling resemblance to the Lexus GS, from the soft white Napa leather to the wood-veener and leather-wrapped steering wheel, to the long, aquiline hood. The seats have evolved to meet current luxury standards. They’re heated and have power recline functions in the front and rear, assuming you spring for the premium package, because if you’re already buying a luxury Kia, why wouldn’t you?

The K900 — which again, we must remind you, isn’t a Lexus, despite all appearances — comes with two engine packages, a 3.8-liter V-6, generating 311hp, that will cost in the neighborhood of $50,000, and a 420-hp V-8 that will run somewhere in the $60,000 range. There are “intelligent cruise control” and “advanced vehicle safety managment” and noise reduction systems. In other words, it’s a high-end luxury car. From Kia. “While its volume will be limited,” a Kia spokesman said, “its impact will be huge.” Well see. It would be even bigger if they’d officially change the name to the Kia Robot Dog.