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.
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.