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Car and Driver: Details on 2018 Kia GT: Expect Four Doors and a High-Performance Version


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Kia-GT-artists-rendering NEWSWe’ve been looking forward to the Kia GT for some time; this illustration was featured among our 25 Cars Worth Waiting For this year and a compact rear-drive sports sedan is exactly the sort of brand-building that we like most.


We showed spy shots of the car testing back in May, and now some of Kia’s senior executives in Korea have revealed a few more details. The production car will stick closely to the formula suggested by the original concept seen at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, with a rear-drive chassis and low, coupe-like styling. “There’s no point producing a rear-wheel drive car unless you are going to take advantage of the benefits the layout brings,” Albert Biermann, Hyundai-Kia’s head of performance development told us when we cornered him at the recent opening of a new test track at the company’s proving ground in Korea.


The base engine will be a turbocharged four-cylinder, confirming a hint dropped by the GT4 Stinger shown at the Detroit auto show back in 2014 (photo below), although we don’t know if it will get anywhere close to the 315-hp output claimed for that concept car. Biermann confirmed that there will be a European-focused diesel variant, saying he has recently driven this around the Nurburgring Nordschlieffe. He made it sound as if this won’t be the 48V electrically boosted hybrid that was under development, which Biermann now suggests is unlikely to make production. Instead, expect  a conventional turbodiesel, most likely the 197-hp 2.2-liter four offered in Euro versions of the Santa Fe. The diesel is unlikely to make it to the U.S. market.


kia-gt4-stinger-Greg Pajo


Beyond that, Biermann confirmed the development of a high-performance version, which we expect will use Hyundai-Kia’s 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6. That engine will also feature in future Genesis models, including the G70 being developed alongside the GT (both cars sit on Hyundai-Kia’s “CK” architecture.) In basic form, the turbo V-6 produces 380 horsepower, and it’s not hard to see that being tweaked to get close to the 427-hp BMW M4, which Biermann led development on while working at BMW M. “There will be a sporty version available with the level of performance … not far away from a real sports car,” Biermann told us in Korea. From his comments, we conclude that a V-8 option is unlikely: “We can get almost as much from a six-cylinder engine as we can from an eight-cylinder [and] of course there are other advantages in terms of weight, packaging and emissions.”


We’ve also got tacit confirmation that the GT’s body shape is indeed that of a four-door coupe, like our artist’s rendering, rather than a conventional sedan or a coupe like the GT4 Stinger. Peter Schreyer, Hyundai Group’s Chief Design Officer, said that, “I think it is more towards four-door coupes or sedans, or coupe-ish sedans if that’s what you want to call them. Two-door coupes are a little bit on the decline. It would be nice to make a new coupe, but if there is no demand, what’s the point?”


One remaining piece of the puzzle is what the finished car will be named. Kia has turned “GT” into a trim level designation for the angrier versions of cars in its existing range, so it seems unlikely that it will use the same title for a whole model line. We’ll find out before seeing the production car; we believe that it will be debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, though by the time it reaches dealers it would be a 2018  model.


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