Holy blasphemous basketballs, Bron-Bron! Yes, it’s true: NBA superstar LeBron James is officially selling Kias. Or designing them, anyway. That might seem like a bit of an odd combination, but fundamentally, Kia and new-money ballers like LeBron have a lot in common. From humble roots and reputations (both good and bad) mad on the mean streets, both have had their ups and downs. Both have made success almost overnight by taking their games to new levels, challenging the old guard and making a name for the new. Granted, only LeBron’s actually reached Hennessey Chalice status at this point — but Korea’s working hard to hitch their wagons to his platinum star.

Bling bling.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Kia K900 King James Edition.

  • 2015 Kia K900 King James Edition
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    65000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

The K900

2015 - 2016 Kia K900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 533415

It’s no secret that Kia and Hyundai have had a bit of a tough time moving upmarket, but it’s not for lack of aggressively trying. The K900, while it might sound like a 1950s Soviet tractor designation, is sibling to the Hyundai Equus, and Kia’s Hail Mary play to break into the luxo-cruiser market now dominated by Mercedes’ S-Class. Car and Driver compared it to the modern incarnation of a Lincoln Town Car — which isn’t entirely stellar praise for a $70,000 car, but it isn’t a slight, either. And at least Kia had the sense to change the car’s name from it’s original Korean designation, "K9." Nobody wants to drive "The Dog."

LeBron James, though, has been doggedly hinting away at his own special "King James Edition" K900 on his Facebook page. The KJE is likely to be one serious holy roller, at least if you’re into luxo-barges with big wheels and snazzy paint. If this project is anything like the special-edition shoes LeBron developed with Nike, it’s a sure bet he’s had a hand in every aspect of the interior and exterior design. When King James says "let there be diamonds in the wheels," there will be diamonds in the wheels.

Without a doubt, this partnership is going to be Biblical for Kia. But given some of the details with LeBron’s KJE, you have to wonder if that will end in a biblical success or failure.

Exterior

According to LeBron’s Facebook post "THEY AIN’T READY!!!! ‪#‎ThatCandyPaintMean‬ ‪#‎K900‬ ‪#‎FitForAKing‬ ‪#‎StriveForGreatness." That could be referring to some kind of special kandy paint color, but the photos and pure conjecture suggest it will be Kia’s existing Remington Red. Not technically a "kandy" in the truest sense, but a pretty decent approximation of one for a single-stage paint.

Body-wise, it’s hard to say right now. However, if you look at the unintentional reflection of the car in the door just next to LeBron’s right ear, those front fender flares look decidedly more pronounced than the stock K900’s. Maybe it’s just an optical illusion, but some kind of body kit isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Rumor has it the car will have a two-tone paint job,

The exclusive wheels look to be in the 22- to 24-inch range, notably two-tone with the spokes painted to match the car. It’s probably safe to say there will be gold accents on or throughout the car; partly because gold and Kandy Apple are a classic pairing, but mostly because you can see the gold-painted brake caliper behind the wheel. Speaking of the wheels, take a close look at that ground clearance.

Again, this might be a matter of illusion or camera perspective, but the door sills on the KJE seem to be a good two inches higher than stock. If that’s the case, then Kia has gone full hood, {}lifting the car in order to fit those big wheels beneath. Here’s hoping that isn’t the case, for several reasons. There are already too many perfectly good cars on the road today ruined by idiotic lifts to fit oversized wheels. Or, with larger-diameter wheels that raise the ride height, but don’t leave room to lower the car over them. That kind of "engineering" might be fine on a 1988 Caprice, because...well, who cares? But a brand-new, $70,000-plus luxury car?

Interior

No telling. But whatever it is, it’s probably laden with every gadget and option Kia could think of, has television screens built into the cupholders and custom-stitched leather everything.

It’s also probably safe to assume that some considerable heft will go into the sound system. Expect some reasonably sized subwoofers and an amp capable of powering a nuclear submarine.

Drivetrain

Best guess, the optional 5.0-liter Tau V-8 engine. It makes 420 horsepower stock, but odds are pretty good it will at least get an exhaust, intake and more aggressive computer tune. Expect 440 horses or so, posting a theoretical improvement on the stock 5.5 seconds to 60 mph and 14.1 seconds through the quarter. "Theoretical" is a key word in that sentence, since the KJE’s lower profile tires will have a harder time putting the power down on acceleration. In the real world, whatever extra power the KJE has could go up in a cloud of tire smoke.

Prices

Expect a $5,000 to $10,000 premium over a similarly equipped K900.

Conclusion

If you’re expecting a paragon of subtle taste and refinement, it’s probably best that you avoid purchasing (or even looking directly at) the King James K900. LeBron undoubtedly had a heavy hand in the design — which is a good thing if you like Hummers on chrome 30-inch wheels, Camaros on color-matched 28-inchers or Lamborghini Aventadors wrapped in giant, lime-green vinyl stickers. All of those you can find in LeBron’s personal garage.

Most people in this market, though, would probably rather own a $70,000 car that looks like a $70,000 car — not a $20,000 car that they put $80,000 into customizing, just to wind up with a car worth half that.

But then again, who understands ballers anyway?

Kia, maybe. New money is new money. However, it remains to be seen if this particular King James Edition will end in genuflection...or crucifixion.

Source: LeBron James

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