Kia is set to launch a new four-door coupe in 2017, based loosely on the 2011 Kia GT concept vehicle.
Described by some as a ‘cut-price Porsche Panamera’, the design for the new GT four-door coupe has already been signed off by design chief Peter Schreyer, according to sources within Kia. A lot of design cues from the GT concept car are expected to make it through to the final design, but already we can see a few that probably won’t – such as the camera ‘side mirrors’, suicide doors and the rather outlandish interior. The slashes hanging in front of the headlights will probably also go, as they’d most likely obstruct light output and prove dangerous to pedestrian safety in the event of an accident. I’m personally hoping the garish gold trim around the side windows is also given the flick, switching to chrome as per the Kia Optima would look far more slick.
The GT isn’t all show and no go, however, with a range of 4 and 6 cylinder petrol engines expected – perhaps even a V8 as per Kia’s K9 luxury sedan and Hyundai’s Genesis – architecture on which the GT is probably going to be based.
Speaking about the GT and GT Stinger concept cars, Spencer Cho, Kia’s head of overseas marketing said: “We have very high intentions to put these models into production – we’re working on it.”
Kia’s vehicle line up has massively improved in recent years, but they’ve always lacked one thing – a proper performance model. I know, there’s the strangely named Pro_cee’d GT, the only vehicle on the planet which has a name I need to Google first every time I want to use it, but at best it is a “warm hatchback” rather than something properly hot. The GT has the potential to change this, perhaps even going up against vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG – albeit as a cut-price alternative which would most likely not quite match up performance wise either.
Kia Australia’s public relations chief, Kevin Hepworth, told automotive website CarAdvice back in July that although the GT had yet to be signed off, work was progressing. “It’s still a four-door coupe, but it’s not identical to the concept”, he said. “Like all concept cars that look sensational, you lose a little to practicality when you’ve got to build a car that meets all the crash regulations around the world.”
Personally, when Kia unveiled the GT concept car back in 2011 I was instantly a fan. I loved the simple, futuristic nature of the styling and the clean lines of the bodywork. There were details in the GT which also made it through to the production model Kia Optima, too, which features similarly clean lines along the side of the car, those same pumped up wheel arches and chrome detailing which ran from the A-pillar right across the top of the side windows and down to the boot. The Optima ended up being a runaway success for Kia in the USA, China and also their native South Korean market, but not so much in Australia, where the existing brand bias has been significantly more difficult to overcome.
The GT has the potential to do something about this, as Kia fights for legitimacy in the Australian automotive market, often being overlooked by buyers as offering sub-par, cheaply built and poorly manufactured vehicles. This is of course no longer true, but I’m sure Kia Australia are really hanging out to get their hands on a vehicle like the GT.
Me? I’ve been waiting 4 years already, what’s 2 more?