Biermann: the suspension changed
SEOUL – For its K900 luxury sedan of the second generation, Kia is banking on a Biermann effect.
Albert Biermann, former head of BMW's M-performance department, was hired in 2015 to inject a German automotive position in the Hyundai Motor Group.
Kia now hopes that the influence of the master tuner can lead the sales of the K900 to an urgent sales spark.
With its floating ride and stiff appearance, the K900 is an anomaly for the youthful, sporty, affordable appearance of the South Korean brand.
But Kia says that the redesign that takes place in the US dealers next month involves some driving dynamics adjustments, thanks to the German engineering guru who has introduced the enormous improvements in the latest line of Genesis products and the breakthrough of Kia Stinger.
That will help the K900 stand out in the luxury market and win more supporters, said Kia spokesman James Bell during a product briefing and a test drive.
"We call it the Biermann effect," Bell said. "He has translated that DNA into many of our cars.
"The current K900 had some problems from a dynamic perspective," Bell said. "We will not have any of these problems with this car, there will be more than one value story here."
The K900 turnover in the United States up to and including August is 28% lower than a year earlier to only 230 units.
Among Biermann's first projects was tuning the Stinger and the Genesis G80 and G90.
The K900 pulls everything. The new K900 is longer and wider than the Stinger and the outgoing K900 and runs on a new platform that is derived from the setup of the rear wheel drive of Genesis.
And the powertrain is needed from the Stinger. The American version only gets the Stinger 3.3-liter V-6 twin-turbo engine, combined with an all-wheel-drive layout.
In other markets, the K900 is offered with a 3.8-liter V-6 engine with natural aspiration and a top-class 5.0-liter V-8, the most powerful engine ever.
Biermann helped tweak the suspension to give it better treatment and response, Bell said.
"If you put on some nice summer tires, you can discover some nice riding talent," Biermann said about the K900. "As a car of a driver, customers will be satisfied."
Kia also strengthens the luxury factor with the new design.
It starts with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, an optional 9.7-inch head-up display and a larger cab. Drivers can also adjust the interior lighting to their mood, from a choice of 64 shades with names like Dreamy Purple and Orange Delight.
The company also taps into the brand power of Swiss luxury watchmaker Maurice Lacroix, who spent more than a year creating an analog clock in the dashboard of the Kia.
Affected customers in Korea, where the car was offered for sale in April, can even buy a pair of exclusive K900 edition Maurice Lacroix timepieces for their wrists.
The standard watch costs about $ 3,550. The premium model – complete with visible gears – puts the owner back at $ 10,660.
Each is engraved on the back with the letters "RJ," the r & d code name of the K900.