Currently reading: Kia GT sports car to be joined by Fiesta ST rival
Kia will expand its GT-badged range to include a Fiesta ST rival based on the Rio hatchback, as well as the firm's long-awaited sports car

The Kia GT sports car is set to reach production in 2017, heralding the launch of more performance cars from the Korean maker that will include a Ford Fiesta ST rival.

Read more here: Kia GT spotted testing ahead of its 2017 debut

Read more here: Kia Rio to be five-door only

Although details remain scarce, the GT is mooted for a Paris motor show reveal this year. Its styling is said to be a combination of the four-door GT coupé concept and the Stinger compact coupé concept. It is intended to be a halo model for a wider range of GT-branded vehicles being developed by Kia.

These include the Procee’d GT and Optima GT, which have been revealed, but Autocar understands a Rio GT will also be launched around 2018 to challenge the Fiesta ST.

Developed under the leadership of ex-BMW M boss Albert Biermann, the Rio GT is seen as crucial to establishing the reputation of the GT brand as a credible hot hatch maker. No technical details have been revealed, but the car is expected to get around 180bhp from a tuned 1.6-litre engine.

The Rio GT will sit on a fresh platform that will underpin the all-new standard car when it is launched in 2017. The new architecture is said to save weight and offer improved dynamic possibilities, and the interior and infotainment take what one insider described as “a quantum leap”. A range of new engines will also be used, including Kia’s ultra-frugal 1.0-litre petrol triple.

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A new Picanto is also expected in 2017, but advances over today’s model are said to be more modest.

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Bullfinch 25 January 2016

Grade inflation

Gran turismo used to mean something other than a Rio-based shopping trolley.