2023 Kia EV6 GT launching in Q4, long testing program detailed

The Kia EV6 all-electric performance halo is set to launch in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2022 following final local tests.

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Kia’s much-anticipated EV6 GT electric performance flagship will launch in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year, with suspension calibrated both here and at the Nurburgring.

The company’s new “dynamic halo” has undergone final-stage local tuning, having already been put through its paces by Kia Australia’s team in Europe on the road and, in league with Hyundai Motor Europe, at the famed Nurburgring for track-readiness.

Full details surrounding the EV6 GT‘s local specifications and pricing will be announced closer to its launch, which is not far away now, though we’ve been conditioned to expect a price tag around the $100,000 mark. A number of $2000 deposits have already been placed, Kia adds.

As we know, the EV6 GT will have a dual-electric motor setup (all-wheel drive) producing 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque. Kia quotes a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 260km/h.

The motors are hooked up to a 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, with driving range a claimed 424km according to WLTP testing.

For reference, the current Audi RS6 packs 441kW and 800Nm from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, hitting 100km/h from a standstill in a claimed 3.6 seconds on its way to a restricted top speed of 280km/h (305km/h optional).

Perhaps a more direct comparison would be the Tesla Model 3 Performance, which has a 3.3-second sprint time and a 261km/h top speed – and retails for $84,900 plus on-road costs. Further, its 547km claimed range (WLTP) is quite a bit more than the Kia’s.

The Model Y Performance has a 3.7-second sprint time, and it still beats the EV6 in range with a WLTP claim of 514km.

The hardest-core EV6 GT features an electronic limited-slip differential, continuous damping control, a unique front bumper design, bright green brake calipers, bigger 380mm (front) and 360mm (rear) brakes, and 21-inch alloy wheels. There’s also a dedicated Drift Mode.

Initial EV6 GT tuning was conducted on and around the Nurburgring in Germany where it was found to be “confident, grippy and stable”, according to the company. Kia Australia’s product and tuning team also travelled to Germany to search for ‘B grade’ roads that come close enough to replicating rural Australian surfaces.

Tuning in Germany “locked in the hard parts” including the hydraulic tune for the shock absorbers and the Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS). In Australia now, Kia is working on the “finishing touches” around Canberra and the greater Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

“Being given the opportunity to add a new dynamic halo to our range, it was important we developed an Australian tune and not simply adopt a spec from another market,” said Kia Australia general manager of product Roland Rivero.

“The importance of our requirement for a localised and unique tune is supported by headquarters and allows Kia Australia one of only four Global Tuning Specs available for EV6 GT.

“Despite the hurdles that confronted us, from the lack of availability of a test mule in Namyang to the impracticalities of Covid-19 restrictions in Korea requiring 7-days isolation, we negotiated an unprecedented new process of initial tuning in Germany and then fine tuning in Australia.

“We are thankful for the support from HMETC (Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center) for allowing us to utilise their pre-production vehicle and their facilities in Nürburg,” he finished.

Kia Australia’s ride and handling engineer Graeme Gambold, who has “localised” the ride of more than 50 Kia models during the last 11 years, claims to be enthusiastic about the EV6 GT’s dynamics and performance.

“…Compliance on rough country roads and importantly grip on uneven surfaces which is more prevalent in Australia, has been addressed,” he said.

“At all times we were mindful of the existing EV6 range, which is already dynamically capable. The GT had to raise the bar substantially and is a testament to how far Kia has come from a vehicle dynamics and performance perspective.

“It is a confident GT which can be pushed hard, driven spiritedly, is forgiving on our roads and equally for the performance enthusiasts, a very capable GT on the track when flicked to GT mode.”

Once the high-performance EV6 GT halo arrives, it’ll join the existing Air and GT-Line trims in the range. These regular EV6 models recently received a price rise by as much as $4600.

This means the current local EV6 range now starts at $72,590 before on-road costs for the Air, and extends to $87,590 before on-road costs for the GT-Line AWD.

In addition to this price rise, Kia Australia recently confirmed it will not offer price protection to current EV6 order holders who ordered before the price rise. This lack of price protection means that existing order holders may have to bear the brunt of future price increases as well.

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MORE: Kia EV6 GT will feature local suspension and steering tune
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Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an emerging automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Jack recently graduated from Deakin University and has previously competed in dance nationally. In his spare time, Jack likes to listen to hyperpop and play Forza Horizon.

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