The K9 is now on sale in South Korea and will be launched globally later this year.
Shift-by-wire technology activates the automatic transmission, instead of a mechanical shift. This is similar to fly-by-wire systems used by aircraft makers on their latest passenger planes.
Kia says the K9’s gear shifting is “much smoother and we could see it used on other models in the near future”.
Other aviation technology on the K9 is a high-tech ‘heads-up display’ (HUD). Used on advanced fighter jets, this projects vital data on to the windscreen of a vehicle, telling the driver the vehicle’s speed, navigational data, danger signals, and rear and side obstacles. And it warns when the vehicle veers off track.
Also new, Flex Steer enables the driver to select driving mode (normal, eco, snow and sport), each regulating the engine, transmission, steering and suspension to balance between driving comfort, performance and fuel economy. This gear is likely on other Kia vehicles, especially the SUV and Crossover, making them safer on dangerous surfaces, the company says.
Adaptive cruise control automatically adjusts the car’s distance from other vehicles.
The K9 will be one of the first cars outside Europe to offer this.
The K9 has Kia’s first-ever telematics system that enables drivers to
turn on the engine and air conditioning by smartphone.
The K9 has all-LED headlamps that automatically shift the angle and breadth of the units according to the direction and speed of the car, reducing blind spots.
Power comes from a normally aspirated V6 petrol engine with direct injection, giving the power of a V8 with the fuel efficiency of a mid-size sedan, the company says.
The top version of the 3.8 litre engine delivers 334hp.