The all-new, second-generation Kia Cadenza sedan has been designed and engineered to build on the international success of its award-winning predecessor, setting new standards for comfort, dynamics and in-car technologies in the large sedan segment.
Set to go on-sale globally in the second half of 2016, the new Cadenza boasts a precisely crafted cabin, cutting edge technology for connectivity and driver assistance, a stronger body structure, and powertrain enhancements for a more premium driving experience.
‘The simplicity of the straight line’ – Cadenza’s luxurious and refined design
Designed at Kia’s California design studio, birthplace of the 2012 Track’ster and 2014 GT4 Stinger concepts, as well as the iconic Soul, the Cadenza’s precision-sculpted exterior exudes confidence, with clean lines and expressive details. The design is heavily influenced by the design philosophy of Kia’s Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer’s, which focuses on ‘the simplicity of the straight line’.
The Cadenza’s design is defined by a single gestural contour, creating a sleek profile which draws the eye along the length of the car. This line visually links matching Z-shaped light signatures in the headlights and LED tail lights, giving the all-new Cadenza a highly distinctive road presence, day or night. The overall impression is one of modernity, power and refinement, achieved by visually shearing away surface areas to create a more angular form.
Head on, the Cadenza is more expressive thanks to the newly designed ‘face’. While the signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille is still an unmistakable Kia design trait, it has evolved into a new hexagonal shape that emphasizes the Cadenza’s width, with lines extending underneath the headlights. The more substantial change to the grille is its distinct concave form, which curves in toward the engine bay and emphasizes the straight, confident design forms of the Cadenza’s front. The Cadenza’s grille features a concave ‘Diamond Butterfly’ effect, featuring a similar three-dimensional pattern to several other models within the Kia line-up.
LED technology inside the ‘piano key’ taillights helps create visual depth while also complementing the Z-shape light signature. Other details include the chrome trim that extends across the trunk lid to accentuate the wide stance, as well as chrome accents on the side mirrors and rear quarter windows.
While the new Cadenza has the same overall length as the outgoing model (4,970 mm), it’s slightly wider (+20 mm to 1,870 mm), and lower in height (-5 mm to 1,470 mm). The wheelbase has been stretched slightly, growing 10 mm to 2,855 mm, contributing to increased legroom for rear passengers (up to 945 mm). A sportier profile was achieved by extending the roofline rearward more than 50 mm, while maintaining 962 mm of rear headroom.
The all-new Kia Cadenza is available with a choice of seven metallic and pearl paint finishes, and three new aluminum alloy wheel designs, varying from 17- to 19-inches in diameter, with one of the 19-inch wheel designs sporting a chrome sputtering finish.
Exceptional interior comfort and refinement
The interior of the all-new Kia Cadenza is thoughtfully redesigned with even higher quality materials than the preceding model, and higher levels of craftsmanship throughout. Like the exterior, the Cadenza’s soft interior contours are offset by sheared surfaces and bold lines.
Kia designers lifted the sense of interior space with a wraparound dashboard that flows into the door panels and features real stitching. The door panels themselves have been adorned with higher quality soft-touch materials, while soft leather envelopes many surfaces. Nappa leather is available with optional quilted seat bolsters that dress up the Cadenza’s attractive cabin.
For 2017, buyers have greater opportunity to customize the interior of their Cadenza, with a choice of four interior color combinations. As well as a black interior, buyers can also choose from a black and beige two-tone interior, as well as black and white. A new dark brown interior color is also available.
Improvements were made throughout to ensure a more pleasant driving experience. The driver’s seat has been lowered for a sportier and more stable feeling, while engineers extended the seat cushion slightly and developed an innovative cushion extension mechanism that slides and rotates, making it easier to find the perfect driving position. The heating elements used for the seat warmers have been re-engineered to more evenly distribute warmth throughout the cushion, and, as a Kia first, the seat heaters now utilize a smart control system to automatically lower the heater operating mode after a certain period of time.
Another first for Kia, the company used 3D printed components while developing the interior of the Cadenza, to ensure greater quality in the final production version. One of the greatest limitations in using 3D computer modelling to design interior parts is the inability to sense how those parts feel and respond to a human touch. Kia used new 3D printing technology to develop a significant proportion of the 2017 Cadenza’s interior switchgear and other components, ensuring that they ‘felt’ appropriate within the car’s brief as a refined, luxury sedan. Being able to produce and test components quickly and easily meant Kia was able to carry out much of the design and mechanical refinement work on the cabin much earlier on in the development program, helping to achieve the higher quality interior.
Class-leading interior spaciousness with expanded wheelbase
As well as focusing on luxury and comfort, the Cadenza’s development teams sought to endow the latest model with impressive convenience and practicality. With an eye on intelligent packaging, interior designers lowered the front and rear seats by 11 mm, for a more comfortable seating position and liberating additional headroom.
The 10 mm growth in the Cadenza’s wheelbase over the first-generation model means the latest car boasts the highest legroom for rear passengers in its segment, while lowering the seats hasn’t stopped designers from realizing even greater foot space for rear passengers, with 15 mm additional clearance between the base of the seats and rear passengers’ feet.
Generous cargo capacity ensures the trunk is among the biggest in its class with 515 liters (VDA; 452 liters, SAE) of space. The trunk shape has also been re-engineered to offer a more practical, usable space, with a trunk lid opening that is now 81 mm wider – making it easier to load larger, wider items.
High passive safety levels and new DRiVE WISE assistance technologies
The all-new Kia Cadenza is built upon a strong foundation with a body structure composed of more than 50% Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) – more than twice the proportion found in the outgoing model.
Kia engineers are targeting the highest possible safety ratings, including an overall five-star rating from the USA’s National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, a ‘Top Safety Pick+’ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the highest possible scores in the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP).
Up to nine airbags are available throughout the vehicle, including a driver’s knee airbag, and side body panels have been made stronger and feature increased tensile strength steel to improve dent resistance. Thanks to the increased use of structural adhesive and hot-stamped components, structural stiffness has been increased by more than 35 percent, which also aids driving dynamics.
Cutting-edge driver assistance features are also available, with Kia bringing a suite of DRiVE WISE Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to the sedan. DRiVE WISE embodies Kia’s philosophy to realize intelligently safe vehicles and improve safety for all road users. For buyers of the new Cadenza in various markets, Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality will be available from the car’s launch, allowing the car to maintain a safe distance from the vehicles in front at cruising speeds and in traffic.
More responsive chassis and greater stability under cornering
The new Cadenza has been engineered to provide a balance between the ride comfort of a large sedan with responsive and agile steering characteristics. The development teams sought to make improvements in every area of the suspension system and suspension geometry, while lightening the chassis to ensure agile, inertia-free responses to driver inputs. Compared to the first-generation Cadenza, the 2017 model is able to withstand a significantly higher lateral force, maintaining maximum stability under hard cornering, while a range of new suspension features ensure the highest possible ride comfort.
The overall chassis is lighter, thanks to the use of aluminum instead of steel in areas such as the front steering knuckles, and engineers have retuned the front and rear subframes with larger bushings to improve lateral stiffness and the suppression of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics.
The adoption of a new dual lower arm, incorporated into the rear multi-link suspension, and stiffer front and rear axles, further enhances ride comfort and allows greater stability under cornering.
Further improving the ride are Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers that maximize ride comfort without sacrificing stability. An extra valve in the damper provides damping force appropriate to the road surface, while the new shock absorber now includes a Hydraulic Rebound Stopper (HRS), which works to provide a smoother ride over harsh or broken surfaces. The retuned suspension has improved the Cadenza’s lift coefficient (the up-and-down forces exerted on a moving vehicle), and the end result is better high-speed stability and handling.
The Cadenza’s motor-driven power steering system is more responsive than before, with better on-center feel thanks to a new 32-bit Electronic Control Unit (ECU), replacing the 16-bit processor in the outgoing model. The steering column shaft has been stiffened and column friction reduced, resulting in more engaging, smoother responses.
Confident ride and handling characteristics are complemented by improvements in NVH. Additional sound-absorbing laminate in the front windows and windshield reduces wind noise, while a full floorpan undercover quells road noise. Together with increased insulation around the A-pillars, NVH levels have been substantially reduced, resulting in a library-quiet interior. The floorpan undercover also helps improve the Cadenza’s aerodynamic performance, along with front-wheel ‘air curtains’ that reduce drag around the wheels. Overall, the Cadenza’s coefficient of drag has improved from 0.29 to 0.28 Cd.
Behind the wheels, larger brake rotors improve overall braking performance and feel. The ventilated front brake discs have been increased from 300 mm to 320 mm, while the solid rear discs have grown marginally from 284 mm to 300 mm, helping to reduce stopping distances.
Modern cabin with Kia’s latest comfort, convenience and infotainment technologies
Brimming with technology, the cockpit is designed to provide a more harmonious human-machine interface with ergonomically intelligent design, intuitive controls, and a suite of enhanced convenience features available in various markets, each engineered to make the driving experience enjoyable and effortless.
Kia’s latest audio and infotainment technologies make the cabin a more enjoyable place in which to spend time. Depending on individual markets, the Cadenza is fitted as standard with a 6.0-inch LCD audio system at the heart of the dashboard, and buyers can also specify a crystal-clear 8.0-inch touchscreen navigation and infotainment system. A 12-speaker Harman/Kardon system, featuring Clari-Fi™ music restoration technology, is an option, able to transform the refined cabin into a driver’s very own concert hall on wheels.
The optional Head Up Display, which displays key driver information on the windshield glass directly in the driver’s line of sight, including vehicle speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions, has been revised to be more visible in the daylight thanks to a brighter presentation.
In addition, the Cadenza’s Around View Monitor, available in a number of markets, has been updated to offer greater clarity during low-speed parking maneuvers. The system’s improved software and resolution has been designed to give a clearer birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle, with newly added reversing guidelines giving the driver greater confidence when backing into confined spaces.
The Cadenza offers buyers an optional Power Tailgate, which opens and closes automatically at the touch of a button, as well as a Smart Tailgate, which conveniently opens the trunk lid if the sensor detects the key fob nearby for more than three seconds.
All Cadenza models are fitted as standard with dual-zone automatic air conditioning, front cabin power supply, rear passenger heating and an automatic windscreen defog system. An optional wireless smartphone charger, located at the base of the center console, allows customers to charge the latest smartphones on the move.
Efficient and powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine
There are two powerful and efficient 3.3-liter ‘Lambda’ V6 gasoline engines available to Cadenza drivers, depending on market – either offering multi-point injection (MPI), or gasoline direct injection (GDI). Both engines offer strong, willing, ‘everyday’ performance and high levels of mechanical efficiency.
The advanced 3.3-liter V6 GDI engine produces 284 ps and 337 Nm torque, and has been retuned for improved fuel efficiency and instant, dynamic performance, powering the Cadenza from 0-to-100 kph in 7.2 seconds. The MPI engine produces 270 ps and sends 318 Nm torque through the front wheels, enabling the Cadenza to accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 7.5 seconds.
Both engines send power to the front wheels via automatic transmission – a six-speed automatic for the MPI unit, and – for the GDI engine – Kia’s first front-wheel drive-based eight-speed automatic transmission (see below).
143 new patents: Kia’s new eight-speed automatic FWD transmission
Under development since 2012 and making its global debut in the 2017 Cadenza, Kia’s efficient new transverse-mounted eight-speed automatic transmission (8AT) for front-wheel drive models is the first of its kind ever developed in-house by a car manufacturer.
This new transmission enables the 2017 Cadenza to accelerate smoothly and effortlessly from a standstill, while enabling greater fuel efficiency, improved NVH characteristics, and more decisive acceleration at high speeds, for a more enjoyable driving experience that will set the car apart from its rivals. The efficient new 8AT is equipped as standard on all Cadenza models powered by the 3.3-liter V6 GDI engine.
Kia’s engineers already had experience of developing an 8AT for rear-wheel drive vehicles, mounting the transmission longitudinally. However, it is incredibly challenging to incorporate the same number of gears into a front-wheel drive car, due to packaging constraints and the need to mount the transmission transversely. Competing with the engine, suspension and auxiliary components for space under the bonnet, Kia’s new 8AT, which makes its debut in the Cadenza, occupies the same space as the company’s 6AT, and weighs no more.
During the development of the new transmission, Kia patented 143 new technologies to ensure a high level of performance and efficiency. For the 8AT, Kia developed a separate chamber multi-plate clutch torque converter, with its own independent control mechanisms, to increase the responsiveness of the damper clutch. The result is an increased direct mechanical link between the engine and 8AT, ensuring improved transmission efficiency.
To improve the 8AT’s packaging, Kia engineers significantly reduced the size of the oil pump (the main source of power loss in an automatic transmission) and simplified the structure of the valve body. Boasting the smallest oil pump of any production transmission in the world, the 8AT is able use hydraulic oil more efficiently, distributing it evenly throughout the unit at all times. Incorporation of a direct control valve body allows solenoid control of the clutch directly, rather than via several control valves. This enabled Kia to reduce the number of control valves from 20 to 12, resulting in quicker gear shifts and a more direct mechanical link to the engine.
Incorporating an additional clutch and gear over Kia’s existing 6AT, the ratio between the top gear and the lowest gear in the new transmission has been increased by 34% over the 6AT.
In future, Kia’s new eight-speed automatic transmission will be applied to a number of Kia’s mid-sized and larger front-wheel drive models, and further inform the development of future Kia transmissions.
27 times around the world – Cadenza undergoes Kia’s global durability test
As with every new model from the company, Kia engineers were focused on durability and reliability throughout the development of the all-new Cadenza. The Cadenza is the latest model from Kia to undergo testing and verification by the brand’s newly-launched Global Quality Center, established to ensure all Kia vehicles are engineered, tested and manufactured to exceed customer quality expectations.
The development program for the new Cadenza has been carried out on a global scale, with over 1.1 million kilometers of durability testing carried out around the world – equivalent to approximately 27 circulations of the Earth around the Equator.
To ensure complete powertrain reliability, engineers ran the 3.3-liter V6 engine at full power and under full-load conditions for 41 consecutive days, equating to more than 100,000 miles of real-world use. This high-pressure powertrain test provides owners with the confidence that the 2017 Cadenza is built for the long haul.
The car’s development took place across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America, for extreme climate testing and quality verification for all components used. Tested for a global audience, the car has been subjected to extreme cold and heat, high altitude, and faced the unique demands of the desert, congested city centers, mountain passes and permafrost regions.
The final stage of development involved advanced component quality assessment and evaluation, and final vehicle testing in controlled conditions designed to emulate extreme high and low temperatures, humidity and wind speeds, as well as intense vibrations.
Due to enter production later this year at Kia’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Hwasung, Korea, the all-new Kia Cadenza will go on sale across Kia’s general markets during the second half of 2016.