It takes superb style, impressive content and plenty of chutzpah (subbing in for brand cachet) to take on Lexus, BMW, Audi, Jaguar and other upscale types.

It takes superb style, impressive content and plenty of chutzpah (subbing in for brand cachet) to take on Lexus, BMW, Audi, Jaguar and other upscale types.

Hyundai fearlessly jumped into the premium pool when it launched the Equus sedan back in 2012 and now the Kia division follows suit with the 2015 K900.

Kia is using pretty much the same recipe as Hyundai in baking its first batch of high-end K900s.

Both cars are architectural and mechanical derivatives of the rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis, however where the Equus follows a similar shape that was laid down by the first-generation Genesis (a brand new 2015 model arrives later this year), the K900 shows off a sleeker silhouette with design language similar to that of the midsize Kia Optima and the larger new-for-2014 Cadenza.

A good baseline comparision for the K900 would be the Lexus LS460. The cars are relatively close in most key dimensions (except of course that the LS can be had in an extended-length model), although the K900 holds a 3-inch edge in distance between the front and rear wheels and a has a few additional cubic feet in interior space.

Peeling back the K900ís skin reveals one of the better-looking shortcut-free interiors out there, and one thatís totally in sync with its premium-car image. Thereís leather covering nearly every surface, both front and rear seats are heated, and the standard Lexicon-brand audio systemís 900 watts of power is pumped through 17 speakers.

Other standard cockpit stuff includes trizone climate control (driver, passenger and rear seat), a navigation system with a 9.2-inch display, power rear sunshade and a foldable rear center armrest with redundant ventilation controls.

Where the $73,000 Lexus has a standard V-8, the base K900 (estimated at about $53,000), comes with a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6.

When the $60,400, 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 K900 is specified, however, the standard feature list expands with a heated steering wheel, premium Nappa leather seat covers for the heated and cooled front and rear seats, a panoramic sunroof with power-retractable sunshade, 16-way (up from eight-way) power-adjustable driverís seat and a host of additional safety systems.

These warn the driver of vehicles approaching from surrounding lanes and when theyíre crossing from behind while reversing.

As well, the Smart cruise control maintains a safe distance from the vehicle directly in front on the highway and can bring the 4,300-pound K900 to a complete stop, if necessary, to avoid a collision.

Most of the V-8ís extra features can be added to V-6-powered K900s when the extra-cost Technology and VIP packages are ordered.

Standard wheels are 18 inches in diameter with the V-8 models getting 19-inchers fitted with rear rubber thatís 11 inches wide.

Fuel economy for the V-6 is estimated at 18 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway, while the V-8 is rated at 15/23.

Both power plants come with eight-speed automatic transmissions. Eco, Sport and Normal settings control shift points and the electric-power-steering settings.

Kia hasnít announced the base V-6 K900 price (it arrives shortly after the V-8ís spring launch) but against the prcier Lexus LS or the BMW 7-series or Jaguar XJ that start at $75,000 each, it looks pretty tempting.

Without the necessary luxury-car street cred, however, the competing automakers wonít likely lose much sleep.

On the other hand, value shoppers who know a loaded-up bargain when they spot one should put this fanciest of Kias on their must-see list.

Base price: $53,000 (EST.)