There’s not much entirely new news about the 2013 Kia K9 full-size luxury sedan. It shares its platform with the Hyundai Genesis sedan, will sport a 3.3-liter V-6 with 290 horsepower as its standard engine, and will likely be the most expensive Kia this side of an Optima race car you’ll see this year.
But here’s the nitty gritty Kia dropped today in its press release: It’ll have an upgraded version of the 3.8-liter V-6, bumped to 334 horsepower as an option. And Kia says it’ll be sold in a a “number of key overseas markets” starting in the fourth quarter of this year. Since the U.S. is Kia’s second-largest sales territory outside its home market South Korea, we think you can see where this is going.
“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,” said lead designer Peter Schreyer in a statement.
Once you get past its Maserati/BMW/Lexus derivative styling (not bad automakers to copy borrow from, we might add), there’s another noteworthy piece of kit hanging around the interior: Kia’s UVO voice-activated infotainment system, now with a much larger screen. Why this is important is that UVO was wholly developed by Kia’s North American telematics staff in California, and the K9 will likely be the first application of the technology outside this continent.
Kia appears to be taking the K9 seriously, equipping it with adaptive LED headlights, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, adaptive cruise control, and around view monitoring with four cameras.
Kia does not intend for the K9 to go on sale in the U.K., and Europe is still playing catch up with the U.S. on its perception of the brand. We’re eager to see the automaker with a new luxury car soon, but with important launches on the horizon like the new Forte, Sedona minivan, and Cadenza, we’re wondering just when the automaker plans on that happening.
UPDATE: Speaking with a representative from Kia, we were told the K9 was not confirmed for the U.S., but that the automaker was “studying the idea very closely.” There you have it. We’ll see.