Flagship sedans still sell in South Korea.
As evidence that the sedan is a dying breed in the United States, Kia discontinued its Cadenza and K900 models following the 2020 model year. The Cadenza only sold 1,265 units in the US last year, and the K900 was an even rarer beast with just 305 units finding new homes. Although the K900 is an extremely niche model, even in markets outside of the US, Kia was planning a refresh for the 2022 model year. The Cadenza lives on in South Korea as the K8 sedan, while the 2022 Kia K900 is offered as the K9.
This looks like a styling preview rather than the K9's official debut since Kia only showed off two photos. The Korean automaker used the same product cadence for the smaller K8, revealing the stunning exterior design before showing off the posh interior. The exterior changes to the 2022 K9 are similar to what we expected and look significantly different from last year's model.
At the front, Kia has thinned the headlights, which now feature a much different LED signature. Keeping in line with German automakers like Audi and BMW, the grille is now larger than the previous model in both height and width. Within the enlarged grille, the K9 has a chrome "V" pattern. Moving around to the back, the K9 keeps a similar taillight shape, but the lighting signature is new and the lamps no longer have a chrome wraparound. Along with the revised taillamps, the K9 features a connected taillight bar, which forced the license plate to relocate to the bumper rather than the trunk.
With so few sales here, there's no chance the facelifted K9 will arrive stateside. Kia has changed many of its model names lately, including the Optima becoming the K5, so it's unclear if the K9 will still use the "Quoris" moniker in select markets. Kia should reveal more details soon, including the drivetrain. We expect a carryover 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, sending power to all-wheel-drive as evidenced by the "4X" badge on the trunk.