Strikingly close to the original show-car design is Kia's new luxury flagship sedan.
Called the K9, the model has gone on sale in Korea, where it sits effectively as Kia's first entry into the luxury rear-wheel-drive executive class, a quantum leap in the few short years since it was known as the maker of cars you HAD to drive rather than WANTED to.
Having been adopted by Hyundai, Kia has turned itself around so much in the past decade, that the two Korean badges now sit side-by-side at the top of US automotive customer satisfaction surveys.
After getting its feet wet in the home market, the K9 is expected to then enter the US market, as well as several other key overseas sales areas in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The K9, which shares its hard points and platform with Hyundai's well-respected Genesis and Equus sedans, measures 5090 mm in overall length has a 3045 mm wheelbase, while width and height are 1900 mm and 1490 mm, respectively.
This makes the new Korean a large car; it's longer overall and in the wheelbase than the BMW 7-series and is only shaded by the Mercedes-Benz S-class in terms of millimetres.
It is expected that the K9 will start off with a normally-aspirated 3.8-litre quad-cam V6 offering 290kW, while a more advanced direct-injection version of the same engine will come through next year, developing 334kW. With its connections to Hyundai, there's no reason why the Kia couldn't take-up that company's V8 power units in time.
All K9s will use the Kia/ Hyundai eight-speed automatic transmission, which features shift- by-wire (SBW) technology and a joystick control for manual gear changes.
In keeping with its Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz chasing intentions, the new K9 will have a raft of luxury features and technologies, including fully adaptive all-LED headlamps, a lane-departure warning system, a radar-based blind-spot detection system, a 17-speaker Harman Lexicon sound system, smart- radar cruise control and an around-view monitor (AVM) with four cameras for parking safety and assistance.
Kia's design chief Peter Schreyer says of his latest design: "K9 is all about elegant simplicity, balanced proportions and simple surfaces. The class-leading long wheelbase, large wheels, sharply upright short overhangs and a long sweeping shoulder line all work together in a harmony to give a sporty, athletic proportion and a confident stance."
Schreyer adds that those values are quintessential to a premium large rear-wheel drive vehicle.
The design chief is quite firm when he says: "K9 is a clear signal of our intention and determination to compete head-to- head with the European luxury brands."
On the future availability of right hand drive versions of the car, Kia cannot be drawn,though it has said that K9 may not be the name used for export markets.
The South Korean automaker posted on its Facebook page that it is interested to hear some naming suggestions for the K9 sedan, which has just been launched in its home market.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Would you use a life coach?Related story: (See story)
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates
Choose an iconic Taranaki photo as wallpaper for your computer
Astronomer Tom Whelan explains what is in the Taranaki heavens for each month.