The new Kia EV6 GT is the brand’s most powerful model yet – but it will be a true grand tourer with a high degree of versatility, according to the firm’s development guru.
Taking to the hillclimb as it makes its UK debut at next week's Goodwood Festival of Speed, the new range-topping version of the Korean firm’s Kia EV6 crossover features a twin motor electric powertrain with a combined output of 577bhp and 546lb ft of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 161mph.
But Albert Biermann, the Hyundai Motor Group’s retired head of research and development, who now serves as an advisor to the firm, promised that the EV6 GT “will be a true GT”.
“We started GT on the Stinger, and the GT is always the top of the line model. It's not a car for the racetrack, it's a different story. This is designed for long distance touring, and it offers good speed, while being enjoyable to drive.”
Biermann insisted that a GT performance version wasn’t in the original product plan for the EV6, and development had been done entirely in-house by the firm’s engineers once the firm began to realise the possibilities of E-GMP.
The EV6 GT uses the same electric motors as top-spec versions of the regular EV6. While the front unit produces the regular 214bhp, the output of the rear motor has been raised to 362bhp through the use of a second inverter feeding power to it. The machine also features the latest version of the Hyundai Motor Group’s e-LSD limited slip differential, which balanced power between the four wheels.
The GT retains the EV6’s 77.6kWh battery, and with an efficiency of 2.7mpkWh it has an official range of 263 miles. As with other E-GMP models, the EV6 GT is capable of ultra-fast charging, with a 10-80% fill taking 18 minutes.
Biermann noted that the Hyundai Motor Group’s bespoke electric E-GMP platform “is a fantastic base to start with” for a performance car, adding: “It didn't need fundamental changes because it can handle this level of power.” Kia’s engineers added extra control arms to the front axle to give the system more freedom, and also did a special tune on the steering and adaptive dampers. The focus was on balancing performance with comfort at high-speeds.
There’s also a dedicated GT Drive Mode, activated via a button on the steering wheel that optimises the motors, braking, steering, suspension, e-LSD and electronics stability control for performance.
The upgraded motors and performance tweaks will also be used on the forthcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, but Biermann insisted that the freedom the E-GMP chassis offers means the cars will have very different characteristics. “The EV6 GT still gives us good room to have very different fun cars from other brands,” he said. The Ioniq 5 N is set to take a more hardcore approach.
While the powertrain and vehicle setting have been heavily reworked, the design makeover for the EV6 GT is relatively limited. There’s a unique clamshell bonnet, front and rear bumpers, a small rear aero spoiler, near brake calipers and special 21in alloy wheels. Inside the machine gains suede-trimmed bucket seats and special GT design elements.
The EV6 GT is now available to order ahead of UK deliveries starting towards the end of the year, priced from £59,995. Biermann joked “if you want to have something comparable with the GT spirit like this car, you’d have to spend more than twice the money. So you can have one EV6 GT for the week in grey, and then one in a bright colour for the weekend.”
Kia EV6 GT passenger ride
Autocar’s first taste of the EV6 GT came from the passenger seat, with Kia’s development guru Albert Biermann behind the wheel. Even though Biermann is likely over-qualified for the task, on a short test route that largely consisted of German autobahn, we predictably can’t offer many dramatic insights.
What we can tell you: the EV6 GT is impressively quick to accelerate and effortlessly cruises at high speeds. Biermann insists this car isn’t finished, describing it as “a mix of prototype and pre-production”. Even so, it feels settled and composed, and Biermann also demonstrates how he’s learnt to use the I-pedal energy recuperation system to aid in spirited high-speed driving. You can feel the difference in the car’s poise as he switches drive modes, but even in GT mode the ride doesn’t feel overly stiff, helped by the enveloping bucket seats.
We’ll have to drive it to know for sure, but it certainly feels like the new performance car has embraced the ‘grand tourer’ ethos.