Kia builds a driver’s car! GT concept destined for production in 2017

Published: 13 June 2016

► 2011 GT Concept becomes real
► Four-door coupe on sale in 2017
► Global car, will come to the UK

Remember the Kia GT concept from the 2011 Frankfurt motor show? Quite a looker, but blue-sky concept fodder only, surely? Kia’s far too sensible a company to build it for real…

Well, what was reported to be a production version was spotted on the back of a truck in South Korea earlier in 2016, and now CAR’s spies have photographed a prototype of the new four-door fastback testing in Europe for the first time.

What’s going on behind the disguise?

It’s less petite and more generic than the original concept, appearing more along the lines of a large luxury coupe than a 2+2 sports car. Kia’s latest headlight and grille treatment, a la the new Sportage, is visible at the front, and the concept’s Mazda RX-8-style pillarless doors have changed to more conventional portals. The original GT concept’s styling was very much driven by Kia’s design director, and ex-Audi man, Peter Schreyer, who will also have been closely involved with the production car.

Don’t pay too much attention to the tow bar at the rear, that’s most likely present for durability testing. It’s common practice to hitch prototypes to weighty trailers to stress-test transmission components.

Won’t Kia need to do some kind of platform share to build a rwd performance car?

Kia’s partner company Hyundai has a rear-wheel-drive platform that underpins models in its Genesis sub-brand’s range. A shortened version of the floorpan from the Genesis G80 and G90 is rumoured to have been developed for the new car.

Four-wheel-drive models may also feature. Albert Biermann, the ex-BMW M division engineer responsible for chassis development of Hyundai’s new ‘N’ performance models, is tipped to be playing a major role in the development of the new Kia’s suspension and handling.  

Does that mean it’ll get Genesis running gear?

Genesis models feature a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, with more than 360bhp. And a V6 turbo was the engine mooted for a future sports car project when CAR chatted to senior engineers at Kia’s Namyang test facility in 2011. The original GT Concept featured a Genesis-derived 3.3-litre turbo V6 and eight-speed auto gearbox, developing a chesty 390bhp.

A V6 will reputedly feature in the new model, as will a diesel option. A V8 petrol and smaller four-cylinder petrol are mooted, too. The new model will be a global car, and while the USA and the Middle East are likely to be the new model’s biggest markets, it will also come to the UK – with both petrol and diesel power.

We’ll know more when the GT, rumoured to use the ‘Stinger’ name when it enters production, is revealed in full in 2017. Expect it to arrive in showrooms towards the end of the same year.

Kia GT

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer