Kia revealed its new Ceed last week
The GT version will be revealed next year
The Proceed concept of 2017 previews the look of a shooting brake GT model
Speaking at the reveal of the new Ceed (pictured above and below), Kia European marketing boss Artur Martins told Autocar that the GT model will be tested by a team led by Albert Biermann, the high performance guru who headed development of the i30N. The car will be part-developed at the Nürburgring, where Kia parent company the Hyundai Motor Group has a permanent test centre.
"With Albert's involvement you will see similar handling and balance, although not at that level [of performance],” he said. “It will be more fun than the old car, but it will not be as focused as the i30N.”
Although the rest of the Ceed range shares its engines with the i30 line-up, using petrol engines of between 1.0 and 1.4 litres and a 1.6 diesel, Kia’s hottest Ceed model isn't guaranteed to use the N-division-tuned 2.0-litre petrol engine, which produces up to 271bhp in the i30N.
Group powertrain boss Michael Winkler told Autocar that while he can’t confirm what capacity the GT’s engine will be at this stage, the GT will not be “as extreme” as the i30N. This suggests it could use a detuned version of the 2.0-litre four-pot, or even feature a performance-oriented version of the Ceed's upcoming 48v mild-hybrid powertrain. As such, output is likely to remain close to 200bhp.
While that would leave it trailing in the wake of hardcore hot hatches such as the 276bhp Renault Sport Mégane RS and soon to arrive Ford Focus ST, which will have about the same output, it suggests the top Ceed will be engineered with a more forgiving personality than its harder-edged Hyundai cousin. As such, it will have its sights set on the highly talented Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Expect the trend to continue into the car's design, ensuring a more restrained look than the i30N. Expect 18in wheels, a roof spoiler and new front grille to form the bulk of the GT's exterior parts.
The Ceed five-door hatch will be the first to gain a GT model, but the shooting brake, which was previewed by last year's Proceed shooting brake concept (pictured above) and is due later this year, is also expected to come in GT form. This car would indirectly fill the void left by the previous three-door Ceed GT.
Kia has remained tight-lipped as to whether the Ceed estate that's due at the Geneva motor show will get a GT model. Given its more practical focus, the brand may choose to offer it with sporty-looking GT-Line trim but leave the chassis and powertrain unchanged. The following Ceed SUV may also follow the same path; this is the route taken by its larger SUV sibling, the Sportage, which has a GT-Line variant as its top model.