For those of you who have never experienced it first hand, let me tell you that there are few things in this world that make you feel like a Maserati. My last direct experience with the brand was behind the wheel of a client’s Quattroporte back in 2010, and it made the Mercedes S sedans I’d grown accustomed to- even the really powerful ones– seem a bit overthought in comparison. That is, until you realized that the interior pieces of the Quattroporte didn’t quite line up, the carpeting in the footwells was a bit loose, and that the maintenance bills alone would be enough to put you in the poorhouse. God forbid you ever needed to do any actual repairs on the Ferrari-sourced, 400 HP all-aluminum V8 engine! You’re probably reading this now and thinking to yourself, “Self, that’s why we never swung the bat on a Maserati. They’re fast and they’re beautiful, sure, but they’re a bit crap, aren’t they?” If you’re a real enthusiast, you might even tell yourself that you’ll buy one, someday. “When they get their act together.”
Well, let me be the first to tell you that “they” have gotten their act together … and “they” are Korean, not Italian.
Meet the 2015 Kia K900. To casual observers, it looks very much like a Maserati Quattroporte (enough so, in fact, that my Mercedes ML-driving realtor asked me if it was “the new Maserati”), and is probably little more than a badge-job away from convincing a few “car guys”, such is the grace of the K900’s swooping bodywork, the sporty aggressiveness of its stance, and the tire-shredding howl of its 420 HP all-aluminum V8 engine.
2015 Kia K900 | Objectively Superior
As you may have noticed, that’s not the Kia K900. Instead, it’s the 400 HP Maserati Quattroporte, which starts at $106,000 and gets a mere 11/17 MPG while generating maintenance and repair bills that can only be described as “merciless”.
Visually, the Kia is very similar to the Maserati- so much so that the similarities are probably intentional. By the seat-of-the-pants, the Kia feels just as quick as I remember the Maserati to be, and manages to cover almost as much of its interior in high-quality materials. Unlike the Maserati, however, the body panels all fit, nothing shakes loose or falls off when you hit a pothole, and all the carpeting stays glued where it’s supposed to be. In fact, everything in the Kia just sort of works- and it works very, very well. Even the Kia’s fuel economy is better than the Maserati’s. Nearly 30% better, in fact at 15/23 MPG.
Even more than its MPG rating, the Kia K900’s GDI V8 builds green cred by meeting the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) incredibly strict SULEV emissions standards. And the Kia, remember, offers a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty on its flagship K900, all while making 20 HP MORE than the “high performance” Maserati.
So, yeah. I guess you could say I liked the Kia.
2015 Kia K900 | a Game Changing Drive
Driving the Kia K900 for a little over a week totally changed my opinion of the world’s automotive landscape. It shuffled Maserati from its perch just below Mercedes to way near the bottom of the barrel- somewhere just above Fiat, but below Mini. Kia, meanwhile, went from a place of mild disdain (despite the fact that I liked the Optima Hybrid quite a bit) to “I must have one,” in a way that I haven’t felt about a car in years.
In response to that “I must have one,” vibe, I’ve actively begun taking steps towards acquiring a big, dark, and powerful sedan. And, if the desire to possess such a thing stays strong for another, say, six months, I’ll probably have one. It may not be a Kia, but for a guy who was perfectly happing driving around in his high-mileage (but utterly sound) Honda CR-V a few weeks ago, it’s a massive shift in thinking- especially when you consider how jaded driving around in ultra high-horsepower Porsches, Nissan GTRs, and McLarens has made me over the years.
The 2015 Kia K900 is that kind of car. If only it didn’t have that Kia badge on the hood … and, as for the tractors:
Tractors Are Cool
While contemplating the awesome power of the Kia’s 420 HP V8, we left the confines of Chicago and Oak Park, and drove way out to Lake Zurich, IL, where the good people of Beelow’s Steakhouse let us take pictures with their sikk tractor collection while absolutely not doing donuts, drifting, or abusing the K900 loaner in any way whatsoever in their parking lot. Thanks, guys!
Original content from Gas 2, with special thanks to Kia and Beelow’s Steakhouse.