By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The new luxury performance Kia K900 is unabashed about mimicking the traditional values that have made European luxury sport sedans legendary sellers.

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The South Korean automaker, which has established itself as a serious value and economy player with a much improved line-up in the last 10 years, has ventured into the luxury sedan market with the new K900, a beautifully appointed, well designed and solidly built rear wheel drive model priced well-equipped at $60,000.

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And while imitation is the fondest form of flattery, for Kia it offers an opportunity to make its value pitch to an upscale audience. The K900 luxury sedan comes in as much as $20,000 less than its leading competitors.

Though the on-road performance of the K900 falls short of pulse-pounding, the sumptuous leather swathed coachworks fit for royalty and a dazzling array of tech features combine to endorse the Kia as a luxury car maker.

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Interestingly based on comparative test drives and the consensus of other critics, the K900, which draws heavily from cousin carmaker Hyundai’s earlier Equus luxury sedan, does a more credible job in this rarified market space.