Unfortunately the most-luxurious Kia won't make an appearance on this side of the Atlantic.
Earlier this year we learned that the Kia Cadenza was canceled in the US after selling just over 1,200 units in 2020. Kia decided that maybe a full-size sedan wasn't for us, at least not in Kia trim (we still dig the Genesis equivalent). The rest of the world will get a redesigned Cadenza, under the new alphanumeric name Kia K8 - formerly the K7 globally. But after being drip-fed details in recent weeks, one has now been spotted testing in the wild, and Kia has let slip the production powertrain details.
Kia said the new car is "the first model for the rebirth of (the) Kia brand to exemplify its new purpose and ambitions for the future."
The K8 is about an inch longer than the outgoing Cadenza/K7 and is positioned as a more premium offering. As for the powertrain, the K8 will lead with a 3.5-liter V6 making 296 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Global customers will also be able to get their hands on a liquid propane injection (LPI) version of the same engine making 237 hp and 232 lb-ft. Moving downward we have a 2.5-liter four producing 195 hp and 183 lb-ft and finally, a 1.6-liter four is expected to arrive later this year.
In the spy shots, we can see Kia's new, and best-looking version of the tiger-nose grille, though we've always been fans. There are two diamond patterns on the flanks of the grille, all of which sits above large frontal air intakes. Like the new K5 sedan, the K8 features a sloping roofline and a ducktail-style spoiler. The taillights also echo the new rear ends from the company.
Inside, we're looking at top notch materials as this will probably be the most expensive Kia on the market. Woodgrain adorns the middle dash and center console while double-stitched, diamond pattern leather covers the seats and doors. It seems to be getting dangerously close Genesis territory. That's also one of the reasons the K8 will most likely be front-wheel drive.
As we discussed, the K8 sedan won't be making an appearance stateside, at least for now. But we do still have the Genesis sedan twins, and if you're looking for something sporty from Korea, the 2022 Stinger will do the trick.