Expanded Kia GT range targets new levels of performance and fun

2 Mar, 2016 11:00am Roger Stansfield

Kia plans to hit new levels of driver enjoyment with a range of hot GT models planned

Faster, more fun Kias are on the way, according to Albert Biermann, ex-BMW M boss and new head of vehicle testing at Hyundai Motor Group. He told Auto Express the new models will build on the current GT range and be even more entertaining to drive. 

"There are no limits to what we can do with Kia," insists Biermann. "At some point we may be ready to say that the market is ready for more."

Kia currently has two GT models on sale, based on the three-door Pro_Cee'd and five-door Cee'd hatchback. Two more will join the range this autumn – the Optima GT and Optima Sportswagon GT.

Geneva Motor Show 2016

The new additions will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbo engine delivering around 250bhp, making them the most potent Kias ever sold in the UK.

But Biermann is already thinking about the next step, although even higher-performance cars would probably have to be named something different to GT, he told us.

"In the US they have SX which is for now the equivalent to the European GT. If we go further the US will probably call it the SXR, so you can imagine that we will do something to give a clearer message to our customers in Europe." 

A further complication is that Kia will launch a four-door, rear-drive coupe based on 2011's GT concept within the next 18 months. While Biermann is remaining tight-lipped on what this will be, the GT name will probably be changed to avoid confusing potential buyers. "That is for the marketing people," Biermann told Auto Express. 

Biermann has been with Kia little more than six months, but already has clear ideas on what the company's GTs should be, likening them to BMW's M Performance or Audi's S models. 

"They have to get you to smile," he said. “When you push the GT button the smile should become stronger. The key word is 'response'.” 

But Kia will not follow partner company Hyundai in launching a performance sub-brand. Hyundai N will launch in 2017 with a super-quick i30 hatchback, before expanding into further, even more powerful models.

"We could not easily stretch Hyundai into high-performance or luxury cars, which is why we created the N sub-brand and Genesis," Biermann argues. "But Kia is a young brand with a freshness which allows us to do anything we want. Kia is good for anything."

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