The stunning new Kia GT concept will reach production in 2013, and the Korean brand is also planning a high-performance version of the Kia cee’d.
The V6-powered Kia GT, shown as a concept car at the Frankfurt motor show today, will be built after the manufacturer’s current range of six mass-market models have all been overhauled.
Speaking at Frankfurt, Paul Philpott, chief operating officer of Kia Europe, said, “A halo car like a Kia GT gives the while brand greater sporting credentials. It would position the whole range as sporting, not just one model.”
On the cee’d GTi, Philpott said, “We will develop sporting variants of more models starting with the new c’eed. We want Kia to be known for sport and design and these cars are critical.”
Philpott hinted that other sporting models could be possible: “There’s a lot of space between a hot hatch and rear drive coupe, and clearly we will look at those niches”.
Powering the concept version of the Kia GT is a 3.3-litre turbocharged petrol V6 engine - not a V8 unit as previously thought - which produces 390bhp and 394lb ft of torque. Drive is transferred through the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The concept, designed in Kia’s Frankfurt design studio, provides a striking message about Kia’s future expansion plans and will provide the blueprint for the firm’s new design direction under chief designer Peter Schreyer.
“I believe this car is a strong statement from Kia,” says Schreyer, formerly of Audi. “We are ready to fast forward to an all new chapter.”
The muscular concept features a bold, purposeful front-end with Kia’s new familiar ‘Schreyer grille’. It gets a gently sloping roofline, heavily sculpted sides and a sleek design for the rear lights.
The Kia GT's copper signature line that runs from the base of the A-pillar and along the roofline to end ahead of the base of the rear windscreen was used to balance the car's "coolness of the pale grey paintwork, with its mica flakes, that subtly captures nuances of light."
Schreyer believes his concept is “roaring with energy and ready for take-off” from all perspectives. The interior, which is barely visible in the pictures, is said by Kia to be “a sophisticated and elegant four-seat cockpit”.
The saloon concept will be followed up by a drop-top version of the Soul aimed at the US market and a small front-drive roadster, based on Cee’d mechanicals. These concepts are expected to be launched at the Detroit and Geneva 2012 motor shows respectively.
“We have made good progress recently,” Kia’s vice chairman and CEO, Hank Lee, told Autocar last month. “But it is now important for us to improve our brand power. Concepts like these will help a lot with that. But we are prepared to take our time. We will test plenty of ideas before we make any decisions about production.”