Prepare to be excited and disappointed at the same time.
The Kia Cadenza bowed out of the US market after just 1,265 units were sold last year. Kia is retiring the Cadenza in the US completely and, as expected, changing its name from K7 to K8 for the rest of the world. Kia announced the new car as "the first model for the rebirth of (the) Kia brand to exemplify its new purpose and ambitions for the future." It brings another alphanumerical name, new design language, and the K8 is the first model to wear Kia's new badge.
We assume that, as it's a replacement for the K7 and not the K900, it will remain front-wheel-drive, but the only real detail Kia is giving away now is that the K8 will be around an inch longer than the outgoing model. This reveal is all about new design language and styling.
The bold new aesthetic is sure to split opinions until people get used to the new design language. Most prevalent is the intricate frameless diamond design of the "tiger nose" grille. It's distinctive, to say the least, and integrated into the bumper along with the patterned LED turn signals below the headlights.
The front is bold and expressive, but the car gets sleeker and sportier as you move back, particularly when you get to the sloping coupe-style fastback roof that is becoming a standard design feature in sedans. The subtly integrated but effective duck-tail style spoiler overhanging the light bar that breaks off into jagged and heavily stylized taillights is not so standard, though.
The K8 model signals Kia's desire to move into the more premium sports sedan market but we doubt that it will be rear-wheel-drive as that would be encroaching on the Genesis G70's territory. Kia suggests the inside of the K8 is heading into Genesis territory, however, describing it as an ergonomic 'first-class' interior. Unfortunately, all we have for now are the three images of the K8's slick and edgy new design. We just hope that this continuing shift to alphanumerical model names doesn't mean Kia will lose its Soul.