Korean marque’s hot hatch is likely to be based on the next-generation Cee’d 3dr

Kia is preparing the next phase in its assault on mainstream European brands: a hot hatchback in the classic mould of the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Management at the Korean firm have confirmed to Autocar that a high-performance model is in the pipeline. “We are preparing turbocharged engines,” said Soon-Nam Lee, Kia’s overseas marketing director. “We are tuning suspension and we are preparing a Golf GTI rival.”

Autocar understands that the basis for the hot hatch is likely to be the next generation of Kia’s three-door Cee’d, whose styling could be influenced by the Koup concept, a two-door fastback coupé first revealed at the New York show in 2008.

Read the full story on the new Kia Picanto

The five-door Cee’d is four years old next spring and due for replacement then, although it may be the autumn before the three-door Cee’d variant appears.

Power for the Cee’d GTI is almost certain to come from Kia’s latest 2.0-litre turbocharged Theta II engine, as fitted to the latest Optima saloon in the US.

The unit produces a hefty 274bhp and 269lb ft in the large saloon, although Kia is likely to retune it to around 220-230bhp for the smaller hatchback.

Read Autocar's first drive of the new Kia Rio

Kia sees 2012 as the year when it begins to deliver driving dynamics and sportier models to assist its design department in differentiating its brands from those of sister firm Hyundai.

However, Kia COO and senior vice-president Thomas Oh insisted the firm would not build a loss-leading ‘halo’ car to help its cause. “It must be economically viable in terms of volumes,” he said.

Soon-Nam also confirmed Kia will definitely make a convertible; a soft-top concept, the Excee’d, was seen in 2008. “In Europe — particularly Germany and the UK — convertibles are very popular, especially in the spring,” he said. “We have a plan to introduce a Soul-based convertible; this is intended for 2014.”

John McIlroy

See all the latest Kia reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 May 2016
    There's lots of work yet to be done, but the Aston Martin DB11's hardware has been signed-off. To experience it, we've driven a prototype
  • First Drive
    1 May 2016
    If you like Minis, going quickly and basking in the sun, then you're in luck; we've driven Mini's new John Cooper Works Convertible on foreign roads
  • Lotus Elise Cup 250
    First Drive
    29 April 2016
    The fastest, most track-focused and most expensive Elise ever made. It's simple, raw and immersive
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
    First Drive
    27 April 2016
    Slick looks, open-top fun and 911 handling sound brilliant, but the Targa has historically trailed the Coupé. How does the new model fare on UK roads?
  • Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d
    First Drive
    26 April 2016
    Jaguar's debut SUV wowed us abroad, but does it still impress as much here on the UK's roads?