2012 Kia K9 – Official Photos and Info

2012 Kia K9

On the heels of sketches published earlier this month, Kia now has revealed the first official images of its new full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan. Set to launch in Korea during the first half of this year, the large sedan carried the codename “KH” during development but will be called K9 in its home market. The vehicle’s availability, name, and launch dates for export markets will be announced later this year.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

Kia says it currently has no plans to release the K9 in Europe, but the decision on whether to bring it to the U.S. apparently is still under internal debate: “All we can say is we are looking at bringing [the K9] to the U.S. very closely,” says a Kia U.S. official. “We haven’t made a decision yet, but you’ll know as soon as we do.” That’s a carefully worded statement that leaves the door of ambiguity wide open, although we’ve heard that the car will arrive here within two years. In any event, one can bet Kia is keeping an eye on the U.S. sales numbers of the Hyundai Genesis, the rear-drive sedan whose platform provides the basis for the K9.

The press release does include a couple of telling and encouraging hints that the K9 will soon be appearing at a dealer near you: “The ‘K’-series trio of sedans is a strong statement of Kia’s determination to offer consumers the broadest product lineup and establish itself as a major presence in the global automotive industry through ceaseless innovation and technological developments.” According to the automaker, the K9 is one of the “most eagerly anticipated all-new models in Korea and overseas markets.”

For a company supposedly still undecided about which countries will get its new flagship sedan, Kia sure is making some definite claims of international intent.

By the Letter: K-Cars

The K9 will top the Korean-market “K” series of passenger vehicles that includes the K5 (Optima in the U.S.) and K7 (which is to be sold here as the Cadenza). The “K” is said to not only represent Kia and its home country of Korea, but also references the Greek word kratos—“powerful”—and the English word “kinetic.”

Kia says the K9 combines its “best of the best” design and presents a “high-tech luxury sedan image, with futuristic, sophisticated, and distinctive charisma.” The familial tiger nose grille is flanked by LED headlamps, and chrome garnishes abound. The rear features LED taillamps and bumper-integrated exhaust finishers. The car looks good, but also reminds a lot of the BMW 5-series.

Other than its rear-wheel-drive configuration, no drivetrain details have yet been confirmed. The powertrains shouldn’t be much of a surprise: Given the K9’s Hyundai ancestry, we expect to see the Genesis sedan’s V-6 and perhaps V-8 on offer, hooked to eight-speed automatics. Don’t rule out something new like the 390-horse turbocharged V-6 showcased in the Kia GT concept that pointed to this car’s arrival. View Photo Gallery

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