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Kia unveils K9 Maserati lookalike

Not on the menu: South Korean brand Kia will not bring its K9 luxury sedan to Australia as it will not be produced in right-hand drive.

Maserati Quattroporte-inspired styling means Kia’s K9 sedan is no dog

29 Feb 2012

KIA has issued the first official images of its first rear-drive luxury sedan that will soon be launched on its South Korean home market ahead of export to overseas markets, although there are no plans to sell the car in Australia.

Featuring styling clearly inspired by the Maserati Quattroporte, the big four-door will be called K9 in Korea, though naming for international markets is yet to be determined.

As it will only be built in left-hand drive, the K9 is most likely to be built on the same platform as sister company Hyundai’s Genesis sedan rather than the next-generation underpinnings currently in development.

There is no word yet on what engines will power the K9, but it is likely to use the same 3.8-litre Lambda V6 and 4.6-litre or 5.0-litre versions of the Tau V8 that power the Genesis.

Some variants are also likely to use Hyundai’s eight-speed automatic transmission that was developed in-house.

The K9’s Maserati-style nose and side profile, especially the vents ahead of the front door, are rounded off by a rear that borrows from the Lexus GS.

Kia describes the look as “the latest continuation of Kia’s evolving design DNA”.

However, apart from the front-end featuring a new take on the brand’s ‘tiger nose’ grille, the K9 loses the family look so successfully applied across the rest of Kia’s range since its cars started being designed under the auspices of former Audi design boss Peter Schreyer.

17 center imageFrom top: Kia K9, Hyundai Genesis, Kia GT concept.

According to Kia, the K9’s front end “presents an imposing and characterful image” and features “bold high-tech luxury car style LED headlamps, with classic design echoes in its voluminous hood”.

The “innovative and stable rear” features LED light clusters, “luxurious chrome garnish” and bumper-integrated exhaust tips said to “complete the parameters for a whole new level of luxury car design”.

No interior images have yet been released and nor have its external dimensions, but the Hyundai Genesis sedan is slightly larger than an Audi A6 at 4976mm long, 1890mm wide and 1476mm tall.

As for the naming, the K9 will spearhead the brand’s K-series sedan range, which includes the Optima (called K5 in Korea) and Cadenza (K7).

Kia says the K stands for not only its company name and country of origin but also kinetic and the Greek word katos, which means power, domination and reign.

The K9 and the other K-series sedans are claimed to be a “strong statement of Kia’s determination to offer consumers the broadest product line-up and establish itself as a major presence in the global automotive industry through ceaseless innovation and technological developments”.

“K9 is our first rear-wheel drive sedan, created without compromise in its design, driving performance and new technologies,” said Kia’s overseas marketing group director, Soon-Nam Lee.

“K9 sets a whole new level of standards and values in the large sedan segment, and its design will be another Kia demonstration of our brand’s power to surprise.”

The brand also looks set to introduce its version of Hyundai’s rear-drive Genesis Coupe, which was previewed by the GT concept at last September’s Frankfurt motor show and is tipped for production.

Featuring suicide doors and a futuristic look, the four-seat GT concept pointed to a far more upmarket car than the current Hyundai Genesis Coupe, a second-generation version of which is in the works and has been confirmed for Australia.

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