Oh, it's the new Kia Bits-of-BMW-3-5-7-series..

I actually thought the Korean car makers had moved past copying others and were starting to develop their own identities and unique designs, then Kia comes along to prove me wrong by launching the Kia K9… to my eyes a blatant rip-off of BMW design language.

I think it’s a sharp looking car. I really like the Optima, and this looks like a proper evolution from that model.

I see some BMW elements, but I see more Lexus LS and Infiniti M series. Also, a bit of company brother Hyundai Genesis/Equus.

I’d drive it.

It looks sharp. I agree that it resembles other cars, but if it looked like nothing else out there people wouldn’t go for it.

I just don’t understand how the Schreyer team went from this sharp RWD concept:

to the now to launch K9:

It is understandable that someone asked “Could you blend a 7-series and a Quattroporte, please.”
But the result is a rather unwated answer, which mixes mediteranian cuisine with too much pizza
and weißwurst.

Kevin James may have italian roots, too:


Sharp? It’s a hot mess. And just when I thought KIA was doing some pretty nice stuff like the Optima and Koup that were both relatively original and had a solid brand DNA.

This must be for non-NA market, right? They do all kinds of crazy stuff overseas…


Are you saying that new(er) brands need to copy to be taken seriously, or that all the brands do this? I agree that contemporary designs will have something in common, but there is a limit to this and you should still develop your own identity. I also think new brands will benefit from standing out from the crowd rather than trying to just blend in.

I second Richard. The BMW 5 is boring, but great in the details. This is boring and just misses somehow. The grille doesn’t help with the copycat aspect.

Then again, it might be perfect for Kia owners. Remember this Sorento?

@Mr-914 Nice one. And silly me for underestimating Kia’s market research :wink: Clearly there is a market for a shabby looking bimmer!

It’s not just Kia owners…

(that’s a Honda Civic…)

what do the little ankle-biters on the Civic do … ?

Let’s be honest- one of the best things Hyundai did for it’s “premium car” lineup was make the Genesis look like bits and pieces of Lexus, BMW, etc.

Kia doing the same thing isn’t necessarily bad. Either way it’s a handsome car, and the 60 year olds who actually buy automobiles like that (which lets face - NONE of us are in that target demographic) are totally fine with their friends at the Florida golf course thinking they just got a new Benzxus.

They’ve already brought up the bottom end of their lineup (with a car that looks like it could easily rip off a SEAT) and differentiated nicely in the middle of the range.

Cars all look the same if you stare long enough, which is why one if these threads pops up every other week.

By the way, the new Ferrari F12 looks like a Corvette. Which looks like a Ferrari. Which looks like a…ahh!

+1 Cyberdemon.

It’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not a marvel of design, it’s not a Pontiac Aztek. They’ll sell plenty of them.

-1 for each of you. Just because it’s not for you doesn’t mean we should accept bad design. It’s this kind of “good enough” thinking that populates our world with tons of crap.

FWIW, I also don’t think the KIA are strictly for the older set. If anything I think it is the younger population that has less allegiance to the old luxury brands (esp. the middle US “luxury” brands like lincoln, buick, etc.) and is looking for good design and value. While the KIA certainly isn’t for me personally, I can say everytime I see one on the highway (Optima) it catches my eyes. Far more than any US car, and more than some benzes and bimmers.

Lazy, off-brand design should be criticized or we all lose as designers. Next thing you know your boss will pull up a pic of this thing and say “See, they copied a bunch of stuff here and there from different brands, I want you to do that on your next product”…


I may not be the biggest fan of KIA (though they have made amazing strides and I’d bet both KIA and Hyandui will be surpassing beige Toyota and Honda in 20 years), but I am a fan of good design. It matters.


same topic, different brand,

who can guess what car that is?

Have to say, I didn´t expect KIA to do that, i was seeing them as a serious brand with good cars and quality, not the best but nonetheless consistently rising in my list of brands i would gladly own. And now they lost it again. Wonder what markets it will be distributed to…

I agree with you at a moral level, but none of this car design stuff is new. I commend Kia for pushing up the value in their entry level and mid level segments - but the luxobarge is hardly aimed at a young demographic. That’s the same demographic that goes for 7 series’, a Lexus 460, an S-class, etc. There’s a risk/reward ratio for radical design and I think Kia pushed it on the Optima which is aiming for younger, new car buyers.

You also said we shouldn’t accept “bad” design - I don’t think that design is bad at all, in fact I think the car is quite handsome. Just because some people says it looks like another car (which I can say about 99.9% of car design in the past 60 years) doesn’t mean anything.

The same way Hyundai has their big fishmouth grille on the Veloster and Genesis coupe, they take the more subdued chrome grille for the Sonata/Genesis sedan. They might not win an IDEA award but the bottom line is selling products is a designers job. I can point out half a dozen products at my own job that were award winning design success stories and sold miserably.

Luckily my boss is a designer, which goes back to my “Why not to be a car designer” post made elsewhere. When you report to marketing those are the decisions that probably get handed down.

Ahhh, I lost an Internet Point!!

We’re in complete agreement, Richard. Designers do need to stand up for the good and point out the bad design otherwise the terrorists win. I just don’t think that this example is the abomination the group here seems to think it is. But, I’m also in the minority of liking the Hyundai Equus and the BMW X6. I also hated the new 5-series (until I saw it in person and loved it). Maybe this Kia will be gorgeous in person? It’s happened before.

ginrod: That thing looks like the fenders of a Range Rover Evoque with the roof of a Skoda. Another bad mash up.

Richard is right purely from a design stand point. It’s a successful business strategy to start by imitating the leading brands, but Kia has been doing that for 12 years in the US and 66 years globally. Now, they need to start differentiating themselves if they want to keep growing. They did a great job with the Optima, Sportage, Sorrento, Rio, Forte and Soul. So, this K9 is just a huge step back.

I think this Kia model is most definately NOT the for same demographic who buys Lexus/Bmw/MB.
Also the price difference will be remarkable with the Kia costing much less than those established premium brands.
The target market are the ones who buy larger Toyota/Honda/Nissan sedans.

I personally don`t like this one. It copies too obviously from others and mixes it together unsuccessfuly (design wise).
But it will probably earn them profit regardless.

Nurb and Cyberdemon are on the same wave length as I am.

I’m saying that if you designed a car, that was elegant and well made, but didn’t look like a car I would not get built or be a flop. You don’t sell cars to designers, you sell them to tasteless morons in the suburbs.