Kia Plans to Tighten up Its Product Line, Offer 'GT' Versions

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
kia plans to tighten up its product line offer gt versions

Kia plans to let its sister division handle the sensible grocery getters and track-ready racers (assuming Hyundai’s N-Division bears fruit), while it churns out hotter “normal” cars.

According to the automaker’s performance development chief, Kia plans to offer a global GT line of its most popular vehicles, boosting the models’ performance and appearance, Autocar reports.

Albert Biermann made the comments at the opening of the automaker’s new Korean test track. The company’s horribly named ProCeed GT hot hatch has been on sale in Europe for several years, so Kia’s global lineup is due for some excitement, Biermann said.

Expect GT-badged models to appear alongside their vanilla siblings, starting with the Optima GT. Sporting the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the Optima SX, the GT version adds suspension, steering and tire upgrades. Also on tap: a Rio GT, designed to take on the Ford Fiesta ST. We don’t know yet whether the Rio gets a power boost.

“Kia is meant to be more emotional than Hyundai and we have to make cars that reflect that when you drive them,” Biermann told Autocar. “Hyundai is the quieter brand, that’s why the N-Division was created, because the brand cannot stretch as far. Kia can stretch much further, and I think we will be able to do more aggressive cars.”

Admitting that “GT is not right for all Kia models,” Biermann said he wants a Sportage GT, but hasn’t received approval for a hotter version of the brand’s stalwart crossover.

Improvements to the Optima GT prototype began last summer, after Biermann complained to engineers about its performance.

The report doesn’t say when we can expect GT-branded models on these shores, but it’s clear that Kia’s upcoming premium sedan (which rides on the Genesis G70 platform) will not carry the GT name.

[Image: Kia Motors America]

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  • ToolGuy Last picture: Labeling the accelerator as "play" and the brake pedal as "pause" might be cute, but it feels wrong. It feels wrong because it is wrong, and it is wrong because Calculus.Sidebar: I have some in-laws who engage the accelerator and brake on a binary on/off all-in basis. So annoying as a passenger.Drive smoothly out there. 🙂
  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.
  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.