The high-tech Kia K8 reimagines and transforms the sedan class

The high-tech Kia K8 reimagines and transforms the sedan class

08.04.2021: Exterior design fuses innovation with elegance to create a sleek and futuristic profile Interior brings together high-end luxury and sumptuous comfort in a detail-oriented lounge

   Exterior design fuses innovation with elegance to create a sleek and futuristic profile


    Interior brings together high-end luxury and sumptuous comfort in a detail-oriented lounge

    Kia’s bold new design language – ‘Opposites United’ – forms the visual, physical and emotional nucleus of the K8’s identity

    State-of-the-art tech ensures a progressive, modern and light cabin

    Dynamic driving and handling performance thanks to a sophisticated AWD system and engineered chassis

    K8 represents a new model name for Kia and epitomizes a bold new direction for the brand

Kia Corporation has announced that the all-new K8 went on-sale in the Korean market today. Following its debut market launch in Korea, the K8 will also be made available in selected global markets later this year. The Kia K8 combines cutting-edge innovation, dynamic performance and contemporary design to establish new benchmarks for premium quality in the sedan class.

Further demonstrating the recent rejuvenation of the brand, the K8 is a car of many firsts for Kia. It represents a new model name – replacing the hugely successful K7 (known as Cadenza in some markets) – and proudly wears the new contemporary company logo that sits just above the reimagined ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, a signature Kia design. It is also the first Kia K-Series model to be designed and developed under the company’s daring all-new design philosophy, ‘Opposites United’.

The exterior runs with a bold new design that embodies the premium qualities of the K8 and takes inspiration from high-end luxury yachts. A progressive but graceful front-end featuring the frameless Tiger Nose Grille is complemented by a muscular ‘fastback’ rear with strong, dropping shoulders.

The interior of the K8 also demonstrates several new design innovations for Kia. Showcasing a first-class lounge that blends premium luxury with effortless style, state-of-the-art tech and unrivalled comfort, the inside of the K8 debuts a curved display that brings together the car’s advanced connectivity and infotainment technologies in one slim, open facia design. The K8 is also the first-ever Kia to feature industry-leading audio technology from Meridian – a state-of-the-art 14-speaker premium surround sound system – and an all-new steering wheel design.

The front-wheel-based AWD K8 will be available with the 3.5 GDI Smartstream powertrain that helps to deliver tailored power and performance driving characteristics while achieving improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.

“The K8 is a car of many ‘firsts’ for Kia. As well as debuting a brand-new model name for the company, it also showcases important next-generation technologies and a bold and daring new design direction. The K8 also represents the next step in Kia’s journey as we strive to set new highs in automotive quality,” said Artur Martins, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Brand and Customer Experience Division at Kia Corporation.

 “The K8 is a gamechanger in the sedan class. With its sleek, muscular exterior design, and an interior lounge where luxury and comfort meet state-of-the-art tech, the K8 is the complete package, engineered to be a true driver’s car.”

Design that has depth

Bold new design embodies the premium qualities of the K8

The K8 has been designed with the future in mind and under the new ‘Opposites United’ form language.

At the front sits a new signature frameless Tiger Nose Grille that gives the K8 presence and authority. The frameless grille, which is integrated within the front bumper to give a clean yet expansive look, features an intricate diamond lattice designed to express the movement of light. The front lamps include a turn signal that resembles a row of shining diamonds.

Symbolically pointing the way forward – and sitting proudly at the very front of the K8, just above the reimagined Tiger Nose Grille – is Kia’s contemporary new logo that expresses ‘symmetry’, ‘rhythm’ and ‘rising’ elements, embodying Kia’s confidence and renewed commitment to customers.

The elongated K8 (5,015mm in length) features a sporty side profile with a dynamic character line that runs the length of the sedan and takes inspiration from high-end luxury yachts sailing across calm waters. Carrying across the diamond lattice design from the face of the K8, a diamond chrome finish runs along the DLO (Daylight Opening) line and the bottom of the doors and finishes its journey at the rear lamp – adding confidence and gracefulness to the side of the sedan.

Completing the progressive yet elegant front and side profile is a dynamic and muscular rear-end that re-interprets the sedan of today as a ‘fastback’ luxury passenger car. Strong, dropping shoulders add to the drama of the K8 at the rear, while a clean tailored spoiler beautifully finishes the sporty, low roofline.

Running exquisitely below the spoiler lip is a futuristic-looking horizontal taillight that carries across the jewel patterned arrangements from the front and side and connects the K8’s next-generation LED rear light clusters.

The 3D vertical clusters hug the corners of the K8, emphasizing clean, angular lines at the rear and further adding depth to the ‘high-tech innovation meets high-end luxury’ appeal of the car. The first-ever K8 badge sits centrally at the rear, just below the horizontal light dash.

Six different chic and luxurious exterior colors are available for the K8 from launch, including Snow White Pearl, Steel Gray, Interstellar Gray, Aurora Black Pearl, Gravity Blue and Deep Forest Green.

There are five different bold designs to choose from for the alloy-wheels, varying in size from 17-inch through to 19-inch for the top spec. Colors include Fine Silver, Dark Metal Machined and Sputter.

“Following our recent company rebrand, we continue to move forward with our new brand values and the all-new Kia K8 embodies this exciting progress. This modern sedan has been designed with innovation and elegance at its very core,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center.

“While paying homage to the K7, the K8 looks to the future. Its progressive exterior takes on character and emotion, and combines those qualities with an expressive looking front and a dynamic swooping rear, giving the K8 a high-quality, premium presence that takes direct inspiration from some of the world’s most technically advanced yachts.”

Progressive and modern space

An automotive lounge that fuses nature with technology and luxury with comfort

Every element of the K8 interior has been designed with high-end luxury in mind, serving to elevate the senses of the driver and passengers. A sleek, contemporary and minimalist style that is informed by the ‘Opposites United’ ethos creates a wide cabin effect that is light in both touch and look.


A contemporary panoramic curved display links a 12-inch digital cluster and a 12-inch infotainment system, bringing together the K8’s advanced connectivity and infotainment technology. This curved display – a first for Kia – is clean, ultra-modern and easy-to-use, giving the K8 an effective ‘minimalist-meets-simplicity’ tech style.

The three-zone climate control system features an in-built active air cleaning sub-system that monitors in real-time the air quality inside the K8. If the air is deemed to be of poor or very poor quality, an automatic air cleaning operation is activated via a high-performance combi filter, ensuring that the driver and passengers are not exposed to dust and other microscopic particles.

Optimally positioned for the driver and front passenger is an ergonomic center console that features wood-based cupholders and glossy soft-touch switches, the latter sitting on a raised profile alongside the shift-by-wire transmission dial.

While state-of-the-art tech connects the car to the modern world, beautifully detailed wood materials help create a feeling of calm and natural well-being within the K8.

Diverse in character and content, the materials used on the inside of the K8 have been carefully selected to create a complete high-class and high-tech cocoon. Beautifully intricate and detailed finishing on the wood surfaces – stylistic elements directly inspired by modern yachts – add depth and sophistication to the cabin. The luxurious use of wood is complemented by exposed high-quality metals that create the feeling of youth and industrial chic, successfully marrying traditional with contemporary.

The intricate diamond lattice design that expresses the movement of light on the exterior of the K8 flows into the interior of the luxury sedan, creating elegantly stitched patterns on Napa leather. Kia’s innovative ‘Star Cloud’ lighting graces the K8 interior, projecting glittering and interactive ambient lighting – of which there are 64 different custom options – on the door trim and dashboard areas.

The K8 features an ergonomically-advanced driver’s seat that uses no fewer than seven air pockets – including in the backrest, sides and hip areas – to achieve the perfect seating position and feeling when driving.

Named the Ergo Motion Seat, the leading-edge driver’s seat has a ‘comfort stretching’ mode that individually controls the air pockets of the hip and backrest areas of the seat, creating the effect of stretching while sitting down. There is also a ‘smart support’ function that tenses the seat against the body of the driver, creating a unison and helping to inspire total driving confidence.

The ‘smart support’ function of the seat is activated when the K8 engages sports driving mode or when the car exceeds 130 km/h. It lowers the height of the hip area of the seat and strengthens the support to the side bolsters. A third innovative mode – ‘posture assistance’ – adjusts the air pouches located around the hip and back areas of the seat when driving for more than one hour to provide a sumptuous seating position.

The same care and attention to detail has also been given to the wellbeing of the passengers in the K8. Just like the driver's seat, for the front passenger there is a high-tech eight-way adjustable comfort electric seat that offers the optimal seating position and resting space.

For passengers in the second row of the K8, there is a multi-functional fully-connected center armrest featuring a USB charging port, sliding cup holders and a media control device.

In addition to Napa leather, an artificial leather option is also available on the Kia K8, as is traditional leather and a lightweight fabric.

The K8 interior also debuts a new steering wheel design from Kia and the company’s contemporary new logo that expresses ‘symmetry’, ‘rhythm’ and ‘rising’ elements, embodying Kia’s confidence and renewed commitment to customers.

“The interior of the K8 is a canvas for our ambition to define the future, where nature meets modern technology, and refinement meets uncompromised comfort. It is a first-class travel space that fulfills the needs of the driver and passengers,” commented Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design Center.

 “The K8 is a modern sedan with a dynamic exterior that is matched by its progressive and elegant interior. This car puts us on the path forward as we look to realize our future goals.”

Opposites United

A design vision that evokes positive forces and natural energy

K8 design has been influenced by Kia’s bold new form language, ‘Opposites United’, which takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity. At the core of the philosophy is a new visual identity that evokes positive forces and natural energy, with contrasting combinations of sharp stylistic elements and sculptural shapes.

Development of the new design philosophy has been led by the Kia Design Center in Namyang, Korea, drawing on the respective talents and strengths of Kia’s European and North American design centers in Frankfurt, Germany and Irvine, California in the U.S. It is based on five key design pillars: ‘Bold for Nature’, ‘Joy for Reason’, ‘Power to Progress’, ‘Technology for Life’, and ‘Tension for Serenity’.

Bold for Nature is based on interactions with nature, informed by the details, shapes, and proportions found both in the natural and human worlds. This design pillar creates organic yet technical structures and finishes for vehicle interiors; exterior designs are characterized by a combination of clear and simple lines with bold, ever-changing surfaces.

Joy for Reason focuses on the feel and ambience of Kia’s future vehicles. Design will fuse the emotional with the rational, creating vehicles that influence the mood of passengers by both relaxing and inspiring stylistic elements. It will also influence the adoption of new organic materials and more daring colors, expressing a sense of youth and playfulness.

Power to Progress builds on the brand’s current design strengths. By drawing on and developing the skills and expertise learned throughout Kia’s recent era of design-led transformation, the designs and layouts of the brand’s future products will continue to evolve. Future designs will draw on experience and creativity to invent and innovate new designs.

Technology for Life embraces new technologies and innovations to foster positive interactions between humans and machines. The brand’s future vehicles will adopt a next-generation in-car user experience (UX) through design, innovation and advancements in lighting, feel and in-car connectivity – to help customers engage with their cars.

Tension for Serenity evokes the tension between opposing forces and creative contrasts, and recognizes the design equilibrium that comes from two opposing forces. It delivers striking design concepts that use sharp, highly technical details to create surface tension – and realize a harmonized, future-oriented design vision.

Engineering at the core

K8’s sleek style is matched with engineering substance and refined powertrains

Based on the company’s mid-large architecture, every aspect of the K8 has been designed and developed to realize the highest possible quality levels.

Compared to many of its competitors, the K8 offers class-leading interior space, superb versatility and intelligent practicality thanks to its extended length (5,015mm), optimal height (1,455mm) and width (1,875mm) and a generous wheelbase (2,895mm).

Clever vehicle packaging has also resulted in the K8 setting a new benchmark in its class for visibility, as well as offering superior headroom, legroom and shoulder room compared with many of its current competitors. Weighing just 1,640kg (the 3.5 GDI model), the K8 is also one of the lightest sedans on the market.

The four powertrains available from launch have all been developed to offer refined, smooth power delivery while improving fuel economy and reducing emissions.

A state-of-the-art 3.5-liter Smartstream powertrain is offered in two power and fuel guises: a GDI (gasoline direct injection) derivative with 300PS and 36.6kgf.m (359Nm) torque, and a LPI (liquid propane injection) stablemate with 240PS with 32.0kgf.m (314Nm) torque.

Both Smartstream powertrains offer enhanced fuel efficiency through combustion optimization, breakthrough cooling technologies and key friction reduction measures, such as an integrated thermal management system and the use of a roller rocker (swing) arm. Further enhancing the GDI Smartstream engine is a dual injection GDI and MPI (multi-point injection) system and a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system.

As the performance-orientated model, the front-wheel-based AWD K8 will be available with the 3.5 GDI Smartstream powertrain that delivers tailored power and performance driving characteristics while achieving improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. It allows the K8 to always perform optimally, facilitating power and performance by actively distributing torque between the front and rear wheels depending on road conditions and driving situations.

A 2.5-liter GDI engine is also available, delivering 198PS and 25.3kgf.m (248Nm) torque. Like the Smartstream powertrain, the 2.5 four-cylinder features GDI and MPI dual injection technology to realize optimized fuel injection across all operating conditions.

The entry level powertrain in the new K8 is a refreshed version of Kia’s award-winning 1.6-liter T-GDI engine which will be available from the first half of this year.

A smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, designed and developed in-house, accompanies the 2.5 GDI engine and the 3.5 GDI and LPI Smartstream derivatives.

Adding to the sense of refinement, the K8 has been developed to offer minimal NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), employing reinforced sound packaging materials, including a triple sealing solution to the doors that dramatically reduces unwanted noises coming from the outside. Vibration levels are kept to a minimum thanks in part to a new vibration damper.

A MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension create the perfect balance between driving dynamics and ride comfort.

Adding to the K8’s aerodynamic agility and dynamism is its drag coefficient of 0.28.

Safety first

K8 combines leading Advanced Driver Assistance System technologies

The K8 has been developed to offer a leading combination of passive and active safety, thanks to the addition of breakthrough technologies and critical next-generation systems.

Kia’s renowned Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) reduces hazards, fully protecting occupants and other road users on every journey. As part of its ADAS package, the K8 features Kia’s highly acclaimed Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which helps avoid collisions with objects in front of the vehicle while driving. If the preceding vehicle suddenly slows down, or if a forward collision risk is detected, such as a stopped vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist in front of the K8, FCA provides a warning. After the warning, if the risk of collision increases, FCA automatically assists with emergency braking of the vehicle.

FCA’s emergency braking capabilities also assist in many other driving scenarios for the K8. This includes if there is a risk of collision with an oncoming vehicle while turning left at an intersection or while driving through an intersection and there is a risk of collision with oncoming traffic from either the left or right.

 When changing lanes while driving, if there is a risk of collision with an oncoming or preceding vehicle in the next lane, FCA automatically assists with avoidance steering capability. Finally, if there is a risk of collision with a pedestrian – especially if the person is within the vehicle's intended path – FCA technology automatically assists with avoidance steering.

The K8 also features Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA) technology that provides warning if the car is exceeding the speed limit by using data from the front view camera or navigation system.

Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC) helps drive the K8 at a safe speed on the highway using real-time navigation data. For example, if the driver sets the speed to the current speed limit on the highway during NSCC operation, the set speed is then changed automatically when the speed limit changes. Further extending the scope of NSCC, for parts of the highway where there are corners and curves, the technology automatically reduces the speed of travel of the K8 before encountering the corner or curve. Upon getting back to the ‘straight’ of the highway, NSCC resets the speed limit to the original level.

Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2) technology helps maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead when driving on a highway and helps center the vehicle in the lane while driving, even through a curved section. In scenarios where the vehicle to the side of the Kia sedan is driving too close, HDA 2 assists to adjust the K8’s path, so as to minimize danger and maximize safety.

Surround View Monitor (SVM) technology displays real-time video footage of the environment around the K8, further increasing safety especially during parking maneuvers.

Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA) helps avoid collisions with rear objects while reversing. If there is a risk of collision with a rear object while reversing, PCA provides a warning. After the warning, if the risk of collision increases, PCA automatically assists with emergency braking.

Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) helps the driver to remotely park or exit a parking spot from outside the vehicle.

The K8’s Dynamic Voice Recognition technology is an advanced voice recognition system that utilizes simple voice commands to conveniently perform specific controls, in the process increasing safety levels and boosting comfort and convenience in the K8 lounge.

Tasks that the Dynamic Voice Recognition system can undertake include temperature adjustment, radio functionality, heating the steering wheel and heating and cooling the luxury seats. The system can also assist with various points of interest for the navigation, report on weather status and provide up to date stock market developments.

The K8 is constructed from high-strength but lightweight steels that boost occupant safety, and features nine different safety restraint and structure system applications, including driver airbag, driver knee airbag, passenger airbag, two front-side airbags, two rear-side airbags and two side-curtain airbags.

Production and sales

Built in Korea – on sale from April 2021

The K8 will be produced at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea. It went on-sale in the Korean market today and selected global markets will follow.




- KIA also photos


08.04.2021 / MaP

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