Mike Stevens | Jul 20, 2012

Kia's new K9 large sedan will be sold as the Quoris when it hits Western markets, the Korean carmaker has confirmed this week.

The move away from the home-market K9 moniker will surprise few, but the re-branding exercise has proven common across the company's sedan range.

In Korea, the Optima is known as the K5, and the US-market Cadenza wears a K7 badge at home.

As the newest model in Kia's growing line-up, the K9/Quoris also marks a unique engineering change: Hyundai-Kia's thumping big V6 petrol engine is matched to a rear-wheel-drive layout.

The K9 is powered by the newly upgraded 213kW 3.8 litre 'Lambda' V6 petrol engine, while a 245kW 3.8 litre GDI V6 will follow the car's North American and European debut later this year.

The big V6 is matched to the carmaker's new eight-speed automatic transmission, featuring a BMW-like 'shift by wire' gear lever in the cabin.

Four driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow) are available, offering enhanced management of of suspension, steering, engine and transmission response.

The K9's construction includes 74.3 percent high-strength steel, with its long-wheelbase platform riding on electronically-controlled air suspension that includes a five-link arrangement at the front and rear.

The K9 boasts an overall length of 5090mm with a 3045mm wheelbase, making it a rival for the short-wheelbase versions of Mercedes' large S-Class and the BMW 7 Series.

In designing the K9, Kia design boss Peter Schreyer focused on creating a prestigious image, with the rear-wheel-drive configuration and long-wheelbase layout allowing for a longer bonnet, a stretched A-pillar and a muscular profile.

"K9 is all about elegant simplicity, balanced proportions and simple surfaces," Schreyer says.

"The class-leading long wheelbase, the prestige distance, large wheels, sharply upright short overhangs and a long sweeping shoulder line all work together in a harmony to give K9 a sporty, athletic proportion and a confident stance quintessential to a premium large rear-wheel drive vehicle."

2012 kia k9 korea 03c
Features in the cabin include a large 12.3-inch centre display, 9.2-inch monitors in the back of the front seats, and a 17-speaker audio system developed by Harman.

There's also a VIP package in the Korean market, offering twin heated and ventilated rear seats with a reclining backrest, sliding cushion and lower leg support for the 'nearside' seat, together with a front passenger seat that slides forwards when unoccupied.

All-in-all, a feature-rich limo and another step away from the brand's old 'cheap and cheerful' image.

But don't expect it here.



While the carmaker's local arm is keen to get its hands on the best its home office can offer, the Quoris is one of many models in the Hyundai-Kia empire not yet available in a right-hand-drive configuration.

Still, with the next-generation Genesis cars confirmed for an Australian launch, it's odds-on that a large right-hand-drive and RWD premium model will be on Kia Australia's long-term agenda.

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