Kia’s upcoming performance flagship will be engineered with Australian roads in mind.
The company has confirmed it’s started tuning the EV6 GT in Germany, ahead of production starting in September.
It’s earmarked for an Australia launch either late in 2022 or early in 2023.
“There’ll be only three [suspension] tunes in the world: Europe, Korean domestic, and Australian,” said Kia Australia product planning manager Roland Rivero.
And after a brief pause during COVID-19, Kia Australia is once again tuning the steering in new vehicles.
Vehicles like the Carnival have missed out as Kia says a bespoke steering tune requires a Mando or ZF steering engineer to be physically in the car with a laptop plugged in, something that was difficult to organise during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Kia says other markets have been following some of the tuning changes its Australian engineers have made to vehicles.
Tuning is led by Graeme Gambold, who has localised the ride of over 50 Kia models during the last decade.
That includes the standard EV6, with Mr Gambold having worked closely with teams in Namyang, South Korea on the local chassis setup.
Despite the complication of COVID-19 lockdowns, Kia was able to perform local testing of the EV6 Air and GT-Line.
Kia hasn’t confirmed local pricing for the GT, but it says there’s already been plenty of enthusiasm.
“Dealers are taking deposits now without any knowledge of price, and the dealer will give an indicative and I think most of our dealers are suggesting somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000,” said Mr Rivero.
“That definitely hasn’t stopped people putting $2000 down,” he added, referring to the refundable deposits buyers have been placing.
While local specifications have yet to be announced, Mr Rivero says it won’t necessarily offer more equipment than the GT-Line, though it will have more performance-oriented seats.
It also features a unique front bumper, bright green brake callipers, and 21-inch alloy wheels, though it’s under the skin where the GT arguably most distinguishes itself from lesser EV6s.
It features an electronic limited-slip differential, shuffling torque to the wheels with the most grip, as well as Electronic Control Suspension with continuous damping control.
There’s also a dedicated Drift Mode, while the brakes are 380mm at the front and 360mm at the rear compared to 325mm all round on regular EV6s.
Its dual-motor electric drive setup has outputs of 430kW and 740Nm, and is hooked up to a 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Kia quotes a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 260km/h.
Driving range is 424km on the stricter WLTP test cycle.
As a 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).
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 upcoming Model Y Performance has a 3.7-second sprint time, though it still beats the EV6 in range with a WLTP claim of 480km.
The current EV6 flagship, the dual-motor GT-Line, pumps out 239kW and 605Nm, with 484km of range.
MORE: Everything Kia EV6