KIA MOTORS EUROPE is believed to be developing a production version of the GT Concept four-door coupe-sedan first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011.
Expected to be launched within the next two years, the rear-drive fastback is slated to be Kia’s most overtly premium sports offering, with performance to match its low-slung styling.
If rumours ring true, the productionised version of the GT Concept will ride on a highly modified version of the Hyundai DH Genesis’s platform, but with turbocharged four-cylinder and V6 engine choices – as well as Kia’s highly advanced and efficient T-Hybrid system, which combines a small-capacity diesel with a 48-volt electric booster.
A downside of producing such a European luxury performance fastback flagship is that it would sideline the well-received GT4 Stinger Concept, which was one of the big stars of last year’s Detroit Motor Show.
Speaking to Australian journalists at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week, Kia Motors Europe chief of design Gregory Guillaume dropped tantalising hints as to what might be in store for fans of the GT Concept.
“Working at Kia, you’re never out of projects… there so many projects,” he started.
“We did show a concept car four years ago at the Frankfurt motor show, which was a four-door rear-wheel drive coupe-sedan called the GT. We did always mention that we were very serious about this type of car, and this particular vehicle.
“We do believe that this car is a very important milestone in the development of the brand as a whole. Because we had developed the original concept car, that is a project that has been very important to myself and the team here in Europe, and we’re keeping a very, very close eye on that project.”
While the GT4 Stinger – the work of Kia’s US-based exterior design team led by Chris Coutts – could end up as a companion piece to the GT Concept (created at the company’s research and development centre near Frankfurt), Mr Guillaume believes the latter is more in line with Kia’s stated Power to Surprise mentality.
“The Stinger is almost the more expected way to do things,” he said. “It’s having a front-engine rear-wheel-drive affordable type of car, which is great. But for us, it is almost more interesting for Kia to focus on the GT first. It’s something that nobody really expected us to do when we showed that.
“To go in the league of the four-door, fastback coupe rear-wheel drive with a lot of power, that’s something that surprised a lot of people, but Kia was already thinking of going in that direction.
“I wouldn’t say that (the GT4 Stinger is dead), but it’s not something that’s been a priority here… but a lot of people are car guys at Kia’s design department, and if you’re a car person, a GT4 Stinger is the kind of thing you’d want to be driving as well. It is an interesting project.”
Whichever way Kia decides to go, things are hotting up, with performance and dynamics seemingly finally catching up with the striking vehicles that have symbolised the company’s offerings since ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer took over the reins in 2006.