Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
Sleeper cars are defined as vehicles with high performance but a humble and unassuming exterior. These four-wheeled clandestine agents have always been the car of choice for CEOs and businessmen who want luxury and power, but prefer not to stand out from the crowd. They want the ability to merge right into traffic and camouflage themselves. Take for example the Lexus LS, the Audi S8, and the Hyundai Equus. These limo-sized sedans offer large V8 engines and deliver a hefty wallop without resorting to a shark-eating front grill or a spoiler the size of a riced up Acura RSX. They have all the amenities of a Rolls-Royce, but decide to keep them hidden inside the car, rather than show the world. If you want to hide from tax evasion or you're just afraid of being kidnapped, these are your types of cars, and Kia's new flagship, the K900 fits right into this stealthy category. But one quality that Kia has over the rest - value.
The 2015 Kia K900 is offered in three trims, V6, V6 Premium, and V8 Elite. The V6 offers a decent 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque, but the real gem is the V8 that delivers a whopping 420 hp and 376 lb-ft straight to the rear wheels. The K900 is fast, real fast. Unhindered by turbos, the V8 engine allowed us to rev right up to the limits. The naturally aspirated engine delivers nearly the same amount of horsepower as a BMW M4, but it sure doesn't look the part. Almost like a stale looking piece of candy that's hiding a sweet gummy in the center. And that's the beauty of the K900.
Thanks to the 8-speed automatic transmission and shift-by-wire technology, the drive is also effortless, almost like operating a cloud. The suspension is extremely soft, and makes speedbumps feel like running over a littered Timmies cup. Feedback through the steering is lacking, but that's not an issue with a large sedan like this. It actually makes the K900 easier to drive and navigate through crowded parking lots. There are four driving modes to choose from, Sport, Normal, Eco, and Snow. Sport mode was our favourite. We got more response from the throttle, the gears were held longer, and more noise came out from the exhausts.
And though the K900 might not look like a big sedan, it sure feels like one. I'm not surprised when the tail swings out through a quick corner at 70km/h. Luckily there are four cameras around the K900's belt to create a full 360 degree view on the center display. There's even a camera situated in the front grill. A front view camera? That's a first. With side views and a bird's eye view display also available, the K900 is one tough beast to scratch. Ironic enough, the previous journalist that test drove this vehicle left a large scrape on the left rear bumper - this is where Photoshop comes in handy.
There is beauty is subtlety, and the K900 is a perfect example. Though the over-usage of chrome doesn't tickle my fancy, the overall styling of the K900 is clean-cut and professional, the way you want your hair to be cut the day before your big interview. LEDs follow the headlights to the taillights, and blending in is your only option because the K900 is only offered in three colours - black, white, and silver - go figure. Following the chrome bling bling fashion, the K900 is also fitted with large 19-inch wheels that seem to be the flashiest part of the car. Fancy shoes.
The golden prize is found behind those massive doors and sunshades. The K900's cabin is flooded with leather and wood veneer fit for the CEO of Facebook, no wait Mark likes to drive hatchbacks, let's go with Elon Musk and PayPal. The front seats are sublime - leather, heated and cooled. The gear shifter seems to be ripped straight out of a sci-fi novel and the seat adjustment controls are located on the door panel, reminiscent of a Jaguar interior. The center click knob is a welcome sight, it worked for the Germans and it undoubtedly works here as well. The 12.3-inch TFT LCD gauge display is my favourite part of the interior. Shift the K900 into sport mode, and all the digital dials are displayed in numbers. In all my years of test driving vehicles, I have never seen a tachometer read out in numbers. It's odd seeing it read 500rpm when at stand still. We are also treated to an adjustable heads-up display that showcases a digital speedometer and blind-spot warnings.
The rear seats exhibit a similar quality to a limousine. Side and rear curtains, heated and cooled seats, enough legroom to fit Yao Ming, and a center control console to adjust the above features. The seats are also adjustable, and a wide two-panel panoramic roof floods the cabin with fresh sunlight. The cabin is well insulated from noise, something we keep an ear out for in executive sedans of this category. Outside noise is non-existent, and all you will hear are your favourite tunes coming from the 17-speaker Lexicon speaker system that is also used in Rolls Royces, oh and Hyundais too.
The Kia K900 is priced competitively against its German rivals of the upper echelon. With the V8 option starting at $69,995, and the V6 starting at a mere $49,995, Kia has no competition when it comes to value. To put it into perspective, a BMW 7-series starts at $99,800, and an Audi A8 starts at $83,900, and these are prices without added options. The K900 has picked a fight with the big dogs, but so has the Hyundai Equus. Strategically priced neck to neck, and offering similar options, features, and performance, these two Korean manufacturers have a tough market ahead of them. But if you can get over the three-letter brand, and are on a budget to avoid the E.T. paparazzi, the K900 will provide you with one of the most satisfying and sumptuous sleeper cars of the year.
型号 Model: 2015 Kia K900 V8 Elite
顏色 Paint Type: Sterling Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $69,995
試車售價 Price as Tested: $71,614 (after tax, delivery, destination)
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3045
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5095 / 1900 / 1490
車重 Curbweight (kg): 2106
引擎 Engine: DOHC, 5.0L GDI V8
最大馬力 Horsepower-HP: 420 / 6400rpm
最高扭力 Torque-LB-FT: 376 / 5000rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
前後懸 Suspension-Front: Multi-link and gas shock absorber with dynamic dampers
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented discs
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Solid discs
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 15.7 / 10.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Front - 245/45R19, Rear - 275/40R19