By Ted Orme
As I pointed out in a recent review of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, the Korean invasion of the luxury segment began with the 2009 Genesis. The company got more ambitious with the launch of a new flagship, the 2011Equus, to directly challenge the likes of the Lexus LS and well established German high rollers. This year we got a significantly improved (according to me and most car writers) second-generation Genesis and a new high zoot challenge from Kia, the 2015 K900.
Why the need for Hyundai’s corporate sister Kia to join the luxury fray with a car that shares the drivetrain and many of the same parts as the Genesis and Equus? Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kia, explains that, “This year marks Kia Motors’ 20th anniversary in the U.S. market, and the all-new K900 is a symbol of how far the brand has come and the next bold example of the challenger spirit that has benefitted Kia over two decades of growth and maturation.” After the Optima, Sorento and Cadenza, “the K900 is the next logical progression for Kia,” he added.
Aside from that corporate blah, blah, one wonders why the K900 jumped into this highly competitive rear-drive luxury segment as basically a restyled Equus; with the same 119.9-inch wheelbase, strong 5.0-liter, 420 horsepower V-8 engine, seamless 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode as well as much of the same chassis design and suspension components. But K900 did not get the Lotus team enthused suspension that made the new Genesis so much better.