Ask Kia personnel what’s the greatest compliment someone can possibly give their extremely quick flagship electric vehicle, the EV6 GT, and they’ll tell you it’s that it doesn’t feel like a Kia at all. Whether or not you feel that description’s fair will depend on your perception of the South Korean car maker, which has undergone a rather accelerated evolution over the last few years, introducing better performance and updated styling across its range, with a fancy new logo to boot. However, we’d wager that even those who’ve kept up to speed with all the changes Kia’s made of late will still find themselves extremely impressed with how polished, fast and, well, fun the Kia EV6 GT really is.
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While it’s easily the most powerful production car Kia’s ever made, that title doesn’t come close to describing just how much grunt this handsome beastie really has. Capable of besting some of the fastest and most astronomically expensive supercars in the world – the Kia EV6 GT comes in at a comparatively modest AUD$99,590 – it’ll go from 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 260 km/h. And as we can happily confirm, having climbed behind the wheel of one on a recent visit to Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway, adrenaline is the name of the GT’s game.
To start with, its straight line acceleration has to be experienced to be believed. It’s eye-wateringly quick and we’re not being hyperbolic. All of this comes courtesy of a front-axle-mounted motor that delivers 160kW and a rear-mounted motor producing 270kW, resulting in a combined power output of 430kW and 740 Nm of torque.
While we certainly had a fantastic time throwing the GT around the track at Sandown, it was as we rode in the front passenger seat for a professionally driven hot lap that the car’s astonishing acceleration and speed was completely laid bare. It’s incredibly easy to forget that this is a two-tonne car given how remarkably bloody nimble it is.
Our regrettably brief encounter with the GT isn’t our first engagement with Kia’s EV6 range. We had some time with the Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD last year and found it to be, among other things, an outstanding daily driver and one of the cars most capable of eliciting approving head turns from passers by. But the GT kicks things up a rather large notch, in terms of performance, technology and styling.
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Along with the aforementioned boost in power, the GT boasts Electronic Controlled Suspension, which controls the vehicle dampers for optimum comfort and handling; Intelligent Front Lighting System LED headlights that manipulate individual LEDs so as to not blind oncoming cars; sequential indicators; front and rear sports bumpers; and schmick 21-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. While the fluro-green brake callipers won’t be to everyone’s taste, we think they look smashing, particularly as the colour’s echoed in the interior via stitching in the GT’s artificial leather and suede bucket seats.
Speaking with Roland Rivero, Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning, it becomes clear that the GT is the culmination of years of conscious transformation for the brand. “For the longest time, you bought a Kia because it was a rational decision. Because you got a good warranty and it was good value for money,” he says. “But the EV6 GT proves we can develop a product that’s highly emotive, highly engaging, and fun to drive.”
It’s certainly all those things, but it’s comfortable as well. The interior is far roomier than you’d expect when looking from the outside. It’s like the TARDIS of EVs and putting this to Rivero, he laughs, “It’s technically classed by the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries) as a large SUV!” Well, it certainly doesn’t handle like one.
As is the case any time an impressive new EV lands in Australia, we have to ask the age-old question: is this country ready to make a wider transition to electric vehicles? Because looking at our charging infrastructure, it’s pretty clear that we’re very much lagging behind other developed nations. “I think there’s definitely work that needs to be done,” says Rivero.
“We’re all hoping the federal government achieves what they promised in terms of working on charging infrastructure,” he says. “So that keeping your car topped up is a lot easier for those who do choose to go down the electric path. If that comes to fruition then it’ll be beneficial for the whole country.”
It’s hard for us to argue, and as long as Kia keeps introducing exciting vehicles like the EV6 GT into the market there’ll almost certainly be increased public pressure for the charging infrastructure required to support them. And it sounds like those vehicles are in the pipeline.
“Our electrification journey isn’t going to end with the EV6,” explains Rivero. “We’ve got our eyes on all the EVs that Global has in development and we’re hoping over the next three to four years that we can introduce a couple of EVs every year. Doing so will demonstrate that, for us, EVs are a couple of things. Yes, they’re environmentally friendly and obviously create zero emissions, which is crucially important, but they’re also the peak of Kia’s product range and technology.”
The EV6 GT is certainly a finely honed piece of kit, capable of tremendous speed on the track, but with the room and range (up to 420 km) to make it a practical choice for many Australians, albeit one with an enormous helping of style thrown in. Serving as both an effective adrenaline-activation system and a comfortable cruiser, if Kia’s EV6 GT is a sign of the electric vehicles we can continue to expect from the South Korean manufacturer, then that charging infrastructure can’t come soon enough.
Orders for the Kia EV6 GT are now open, but expect to wait as demand is sure to be high. Discover more about how you can get your hands on one via the link below.
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