Kia is hoping its new $30K ProCeed GT will lure tuners and modifiers to help lift its image up from the bargain basement to builders of desirable drivers cars.
While rumours circulate that Kia Motors Europe is working on a high-performance Ceed and ProCeed small car flagships with considerably more power and torque than the new GT’s 150kW and 265Nm, the existing 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo direct-injection engine can be tweaked considerably above the current outputs.
A Kia spokesman said the twin-scroll turbocharger’s standard 1.5-bar boost pressure can be safely raised to well beyond the 2.2-bar mark, raising performance to 180kW and 320Nm.
The company believes such an “A-Spec” development could be achieved with minimum changes to suspension and steering systems because the ProCeed GT has already undergone a series of revisions to suit Australian driver tastes.
These include firmer springs, revised dampers and unique mapping for the motor-driven electric rack-and-pinion steering system, while the standard braking system – consisting of 300mm x 28mm discs up front and 262mm x 10mm discs out back – has already been subjected to 480 laps of the Nurburgring Nordschleife in Germany.
Kia says it is going down the driver-oriented path after years of dull econoboxes to move the company’s image on from cheap and cheerful to something that will someday engender passion and desirability.
“The ProCeed GT is a window to our future,” said Kia Australia marketing manager Steve Watt.
“While incrementally it will only contribute to a limited number of sales, its potential as an attention grabber and a brand builder is much more important.
“The GT is all about emotionally desirable cars that are fun to drive, and this won’t be the only one.”