First Drive: 2015 Kia K900
Currently the market is flooded with full-size luxury flagship sedans. You have your Audi’s, Beamer’s, and Benz’s… So when Kia announced that they were releasing their version of a luxury flagship sedan, the K900 – business executives around the world were practically laughing in their face. Perhaps they shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
There are rules to follow when it comes to a proper luxury sedan – and we like rules! Rule #1, when it comes to styling, a luxury sedan must never be flashy or flamboyant; it must be cultured and exclusive – allow the details to express themselves. The K900 fits perfectly into this role, the architecture is subtle and discreet – it blends into the crowd, while still catching wondering motorist attention. The art is truly behind those details – the urbane chrome wrapped tiger shark grille, those extravagant adaptive quad-beam LED headlights, and the elegant LED taillights look absolutely marvelous. In addition, the 19” chrome wheels give the K900 a gorgeous stance, the chrome side molding add a chic touch of class and the unique LED indicated side mirrors are very swanky. There is nothing about this sedan that speaks Kia. They went to great lengths with the design and style that overall is very substantial.
Several spectators try to compare the K900 to the Germans, and the truth is you just can’t. It’s not the quality, nor the amenities, but the lack of talent behind the performance. The K900 is more aimed to take on the Lincoln MKS and the Lexus LS460. Which brings us to Rule #2, a luxury sedan should never compromise its power. While the K900 is powered by a big 5.0-liter V8, it’s no performance driven sedan. Now that’s not to say that it’s no slouch, the rear wheel drive platform mixed with 420 horsepower, 376 lb-ft of torque and a very good 8-speed transmission, the K900 will whisk you from 0-60 mph in a notable 5.5 seconds and all the way to a comfortable cruising top speed of 149 mph.
Weighing in at nearly 4,550lbs, it is a few pounds short of being a land yacht. And this is where we start to recognize those performance disadvantages. The K900 lumbers around; it drives and feels like a large sedan. The suspension system is wholly smooth no matter what the road surface; however, the moment a turn is made, the body roll is immediately noticed. The handling and steering come off very creamy and light; it takes very little effort to turn the wheel – which we actually like. Most consumers won’t be racing their K900 up a mountain pass, so the need for a snug sport steering system is unnecessary. Now, if you’re in the mood, the K900 does have a “Sport” mode that will adjust the transmission mapping, hold its gear longer and tightens up the steering just a touch, but more importantly it will transform the digital gauges into something radical and enticing – adds a bit of a cool factor to something that is designed for the retiree.
Aimed toward the retiring consumer is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes it’s not the most eccentric sedan on the market – but it will keep your pacemaker from being overworked. The K900 responds to your every need. Acceleration is quick, the transmission is excellent with direct downshifting, and when pushing pass 4,000 rpms the engine makes quite a good note. Just be warned, the brakes will make you seasick when attempting to stop at 70 mph. Plus, with receiving 15 mpg city, you’ll be tempted to remain in “Eco” mode to squeeze every last mpg out. We barely averaged 16 mpg combine during our week with 340 miles of range on Unleaded Plus fuel.
The real magic is what’s inside… and that’s where the finale Rule #3 comes in; a luxury sedan should always exceed its driver and passengers expectations and desires. With an optional $6,000 VIP Package, our prospects were blown clear out of the water. Our sampled K900 arrived in the usual business attire; wrapped in an attractive Platinum Graphite Grey shell the ‘corporate’ Nappa Black Leather interior made for an exceptional transition. Upon opening the driver door, the red illuminated K900 stainless steel threshold is just the beginning of what Kia has in store.
Every moment inside the K900 is an occasion. As soon as the start engine is pressed, the large TFT digital display puts on a show and the memory driver seat will glide you into your upright position. Kia took notes from the Germans; the K900’s interior craftsmanship is very exquisite. Kia used a lot of its inspiration from BMW using a similar “joy stick” like gear lever and “i-drive” platform for the infotainment and navigation system. The dashboard configuration uses beautifully constructed lines and curves that decorate the dark wood and piano black accents that are then trimmed out with chrome – Kia truly thought out the details. The color, Heads-Up Display is quite the site to see – its high resolution output is beautifully lite displaying your speed, navigation, and even your blind spot detection and lane departure.
Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The front driver and passenger seats are loaded with multi-way power adjustments and heated and cooled features which are all controlled by the unique door mounted controls and are outlined with red ambient lighting. The place to really be however is in the back. With over 12 inches of rear leg room, the rear seats are power adjustable, reclining for the ultimate comfort. They are also heated and cooled, there’s a power rear sunshade and manual side shades, and everything is controlled through the rear center console. The glass is even double pain for extra peace and quiet.
Now, there is a fine print… or cost to that luxurious experience. With the $6,000 VIP Package we mentioned earlier you’ll get Advanced Smart Radar Cruise Control, Power Closing Door Latches, 12.3” TFT Digital Display, Heads-Up Display, All-Around View Monitoring, Driver’s Seat Cushion Extension, Front Seat Power Headrests, Power Reclining Rear Seats, Ventilated Rear Outboard Seats, Lateral Adjusting Rear Headrest, and Rear Seat lumbar Support. Whew, quite the list…
But now that’s not to say Kia has skimped on the standard features. The K900 is completely fully loaded, that most of the standard equipment should be options. Just as some examples there is the 3-Zone Climate Control, 9.2” Navigation System with UVO eServices, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Front and Rear Camera Displays with Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Ventilated Front seats, LED Adaptive Headlights, Hydrophobic Front Windows and a whimsical Panoramic Sunroof.
At $66,400, the Kia K900 is the bargain of the century. Kia has developed the K900 appropriately; it’s a proper flagship to the uprising manufacturer. With this new generation of Kia, it’s a statement that should be taken seriously. They are no more the cheap Korean boxes of the 80’s – and we say well done Kia!
|2015 Kia K900:||$59,500|