Kia’s cut-price supercar

By Paddy Comyn - 23rd Jan 2023 | 101 views

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Kia raised some eyebrows a few years back when they launched their Stinger, a car that showed what happens when the brand lets their talented designers off the leash. At the time, Kia hadn’t quite yet blossomed into the flower it is now – picking up awards for fun and being blessed with some of the most innovative designs and electric vehicle (EV) powertrains on the market. News that the Stinger was to bow out has left some sad, but only temporarily, as the brand announced that they would placate any performance car fans with a new version of their critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning EV6. And now we have the EV6 GT. It is not to be confused with the previous EV6 GT-Line, a car that has something of an aborted arrival in Ireland before being whipped off the price list because of a lack of availability. By combining two electric motors, a front-mounted 218PS unit, with a rear-mounted 367PS unit, there is a combined 585hp and 740Nm of torque. No, these aren’t typos. This is close to 600hp, with four-wheel drive capable of a 3.5-second sprint to 100km/h. This is, basically, a supercar, with zero tailpipe.

The Kia EV6 is already on Irish roads, but supply hasn’t been at the level that Kia would have wished for. There is no doubt the brand would have sold these in the thousands, rather than just over the 1,000 they will probably end up having delivered in 2022. This EV6 GT is going to be an equally rare sight in Ireland, thanks to an allocation of just one per dealer and the fact that at €85,000, it is going to be a pretty considered purchase. For the exclusive few that get their hands on the EV6 GT, what can they expect from pure kerbside appeal?

Well for a start, there is a new bumper, unique to the GT, with more muscular fenders, underneath which sit exclusive 21” wheels shod with super-sticky tyres. There are neon brake callipers, which you really won’t miss peeking through these wheels and they have been upgraded to ensure all the extra power can be reigned-in when required. At the back, there is an aero spoiler, LED tail-lights and a unique bumper specific to the GT.

Interior

If you are expecting a huge change to the interior of the EV6 GT compared to the standard car then you’d be wrong. On one side, there isn’t a lot to change about the best-spec EV6 anyway, as it’s a lovely place to reside, with an arsenal of kit and technology on display. The first thing you will notice is some of the neon accents carried through to the interior. There are two suede-trimmed bucket seats that offer really good support, which you will quickly discover is needed. They aren’t overly firm, thankfully. We drove a long distance in one day over the course of our week with the car and these seats were excellent. There are manual adjustments for the seats, which feels strangely at odds with the price tag, given that the GT-Line gets electric ones, which are also ventilated. There are various metal inserts and GT monikers littered throughout and ambient lighting across the door panels, centre console, and the dashboard delivers a nice glow during night-time driving.

There is the same dual curved 12.3-inch infotainment system you will find in the standard EV6, which is excellent, even though it does take a little while to get used to, and for some reason, we kept selecting nature sounds by accident. There is a two-spoke steering wheel, which includes the dedicated GT drive mode selector – here you can select the specific GT mode or your own bespoke performance

This is a massive car, with a massive interior. The 2,900mm wheelbase is used to good effect, with generous head and legroom front and back. The addition of the extra motor up front steals some of the ‘frunk’ space up front, which is back to 20 litres so you won’t fit all your cables in there anymore and you lose 10 litres of space at the rear too. But at 480 litres, this is pretty generous, so that won’t leave you feeling too short-changed. It is still a good bit less than rivals, such as the Škoda Enyaq.

Modes

The difficulty with buying a supercar is that most of the time it sits in traffic and grumbles along, munching fuel, and generally making you feel frustrated. But when you have an EV, especially one with such a blend of personalities, then all is well in the world. For a start, you can select Eco (Max 288hp) mode in this car, which truth be told most owners will end up leaving their car in most of the time. This EV6 behaves in a docile, easy-going manner, with only a portion of the power metered out to the wheels. Select Normal or Sport mode and get a maximum of 460hp. In Sport mode things become a little more urgent and interesting, the dash glows red, the throttle response feels more instant and you feel like you are dialling up a larger slice of this car’s particular fun cake.

The GT mode button sits below the steering wheel, in bright neon, like that button you’ve been told NOT to press. Of course, all you want to do is press it. When you do, you engage GT mode, which is all of the performance options selected – all of the car’s 585hp, all the torque, the suspension is at its firmest, and the steering is at its sharpest.

Battery

The EV6 GT has the same 77kWh battery as the regular EV6, but being more performance biased, this version is never going to perform in the same way as the more regular, tamer versions. Over the course of our week, we saw a range from 20kWh per 100km to 40kWh per 100km when the accelerator is pressed a little more, shall we say, generously. Kia claims a WLTP figure of 424km from a full charge, which might be doable in the right conditions. The weather and my desire to drive this more enthusiastically meant that was never really going to happen, but on a long drive from Drogheda to Waterford and back, we averaged 20.3kWh per 100km and that would have added up to a range of 379km, which isn’t too bad.

Find the right charger and you can charge the EV6 GT from 10-to-80 per cent in just 18 minutes, as it is capable of charging at 233kW DC and 11kW AC.

Purchase?

So, should you buy the €85,000 Kia EV6 GT over the top-of-the-line standard EV6? Well, this is a question for the heart, rather than the head. If you want a stealthy supercar in a family package, then this is a very cheap supercar. It is fast and agile for a two-tonne car, and its relative rarity is going to give the owner a warm glow of internal satisfaction for a long time. If your head makes the decision, then it is trickier to justify it. We compared it to a friend’s cheaper GT-Line and their €20,000 less expensive  car was better-equipped (albeit without those lovely bucket seats). While there is a decent difference in potency, when in particular should you use this power is in question.

The EV6 GT is an impressive showpiece of just how far Kia has come as a brand and just what is possible with its electric drivetrains. A BMW i4 M50 has a little less power and doesn’t quite accelerate as fast, but feels more like a focused driver’s car for us. But there is no doubt, that the few that do opt for this EV6 GT will be a happy bunch.

Engine: 430kW electric motor with 77.4 kWh battery

Power: 585PS

Torque: 740Nm

Range: 424km (WLTP)/379km as tested

0-100km/h: 3.5 seconds

Top speed: 260km/h

Transmission: Single speed auto

CO2: 0g/km

Luggage capacity: 20 litre ‘frunk’/ 480 litre luggage

Pricing: €85,000

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