Last Updated on August 6, 2023 by Victor A
When we talk about luxury SUVs the first ones that come to mind are the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the Bentley Bentayga, or the all-new Ferrari Purosangue. But, did you know that there is an SUV that’s way more pricey, and way more exclusive? Meet the Karlmann King (Kalman King SUV).
The Karlmann King was designed by Chinese company IAT, it was presented in 2017, and it instantly became the most expensive SUV in the world with a price tag that very few could afford.
It was available in two main trims, with or without the armor, depending on which one you choose the price changed considerably.
Why the Karlmann King is a mystery?
Well, first of all, there was initially planned a 9 units production run, and until this day we don’t know how many were produced in total, nor sold.
Initially, the company claimed that the vehicles would be produced in Italy and the United States, while some claimed that 9 were produced, others say that up to 12 units were produced.
And here lies the second part of the problem, there is a huge amount of misinformation about this car.
If you check reputable car news websites and compare what they say about this car you will find an important disparity in the figures of the pricing, units produced, or even the horsepower.
It doesn’t help that IAT, the automaker, doesn’t mention this car on their website, and there is not any official channel from them to showcase the features or to find out about it.
Due to this, we had made an effort to find as much information as possible from verifiable sources, and compare them so we can give you the most up-to-date information. However, there is a possibility that we may be wrong in a few figures.
Features of the Karlmann King
The exterior design is different, this is a huge SUV that commands presence. It looks like a modern tank, with rough edges that make you think that it could tackle most off-roading challenges, like snow driving.
The hand-made interior exudes uniqueness, with high-quality materials and so many features that you would never imagine a car could have.
To name a few you could option your Karlmann King with a retractable TV, a fridge, a safe, a PlayStation 4, Wi-Fi, a laptop, ambient lighting, a coffee machine, electronically controlled pop-out tables, an air purification system, and even a bar.
An interesting piece of information is that all the electronic features can be operated through an app or a built-in control panel.
Karlmann King (Kalman King SUV) engine and specifications
The Karlmann King packs the 6.8-liter V10 engine that the Ford F-550 used, however, they tuned it to produce 398 hp, while its torque figures remain a mystery.
Its top speed without the armor option was rated at 136 mph (220 km/h), however, when choosing the armor option the top speed was reduced to 87 mph (140 km/h).
Its poor specifications are caused by the fact that this is an extremely heavy car. Without the armor, it weighs 10,580 lbs (4,799 kg), and if you add the bulletproof option it raises to 13,227 lbs (6,000 kg).
This SUV is also huge, with dimensions that make it a full-size SUV: 236 inches (6 meters) long, 98 inches (2,5 meters) in width, and 945 inches (2,4 meters) tall.
Acceleration times are unknown, but we can assure you that they are certainly impressive, with the lack of proper power while having a huge size, and a considerable weight, it is clear that this car is slow.
How much does the Karlmann King (Kalman King SUV) cost, price in the USA and Europe
Here lies the biggest problem with this SUV, it was ridiculously expensive. For the non-armor version, they expected customers to pay $1.85 million (€1.85 million), while those who decided to fully-spec it were greeted with a price tag of $3.8 million (€3.8 million).
Now, to put it into perspective, for the basic price of the Karlmann King you could buy four Ferrari Purosangue, the hottest SUV on the market right now.
Or for the fully-specced Karlmann King, you could get eight Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the most luxurious SUV at the moment.
So, why did we forget the Karlmann King?
The reason why the Karlmann King (Kalman King SUV) was forgotten was that it’s irrelevant. They took a Ford F-550, gave it an extravagant interior and a luxurious interior with a bunch of random features, and an outrageous price tag that didn’t justify it.
Add to it the fact that the manufacturer is not known in Europe and the US, since it’s Chinese and it focuses on the local production of its country. And not many people are willing to spend over a million dollars on a manufacturer that they’ve never heard about.
They released an expensive SUV out of nowhere that probably didn’t reach more than 12 units produced.
Another issue with the car is its engine, while having a V10 in an SUV is unique, having it produce 400 hp with this amount of weight was a horrible decision.
It’s important to understand that luxury vehicles are more than just a nice interior, part of the appeal is the horsepower, the acceleration numbers, or the top speed. They are also status symbols.
In our opinion, this SUV shouldn’t be officially considered the most expensive SUV, since it looks like an experiment from a company that didn’t have experience in the Western market.
We don’t even know if they even managed to produce 9 units, as far as we all know, they could’ve produced one unit and used it to showcase it in different motor shows around the world.
If you want a unique luxurious SUV you can always go to established tuners like Brabus, which took the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 and gave it a new life as the Brabus 800.