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Kia move into fast lane with new GT 

 

IT’S been a long time coming but I reckon Kia’s first ever high-performance model was well worth the wait.

I got my first taste of the three-door pro cee’d GT recently and enjoyed it immensely.

Okay, it’s not the fastest sports performer on the road but I found it was pacy enough to provide lively driving enjoyment.

I really got to like this stylish Kia – and not just for its looks.

It is a car suited for every day driving – whether that’s in town centre traffic, cruising on the motorway or sampling excellent handling on some winding roads.

The power comes from a turbocharged 201bhp 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine which was well capable of providing a sprightly perfor-mance when required, moving through its slick six-speed manual gearbox.

A normally aspirated version of this ‘Gamma’ engine is already available in the pro cee’d, but adding an exhaust-driven turbo raises its power output by 51 per cent and the amount of torque by 61 per cent – boosting power yet also returning a combined fuel consumption of 38.2mpg.

There’s a more direct and sporting feel to the steering of the GT and I was impressed by the ride and handling quality during my time with the car.

This newcomer also benefits from retuned suspension along with 18-inch alloy wheels.

You won’t be whipped back into your seat when you floor the pedal in this GT but the power does surge through quickly enough and also quite smoothly as you go through the gears.

It doesn’t hang around either with a zero to 60mph time of 7.4 seconds and is capable of reaching 143mph.

It’s a good looker with the GT’s styling touches including new front and rear bumper designs, side sill mouldings, dual exhausts, ‘icecube’ LED daytime running lights and 18-inch graphite grey ground-effect alloy wheels with red brake calipers.

The sporty, quality interior doesn’t disappoint either with Recaro seats – seen for the first time in a Kia – finished in leather and suede, and with power lumbar adjustment, with red stitching that is also on the leather steering wheel and gear knob, a black headlining and several gloss black trim items.

This GT model is well equipped with standard items including air condi-tioning, cruise control and speed limiter, automatic lights, cornering lights, reversing sensors, Blue-tooth phone connectivity with music streaming and voice recognition, a six speaker radio/CD player with iPod connectivity, electric windows and electrically operated and heated folding mirrors.

Enhancing Kia’s familiar three-dial instrument layout is a TFT LCD multi-function high-definition display – allowing drivers to switch between analogue-type or GT performance digital information.

The GT mode shows the car’s speed, engine torque, turbo boost pressure and engine coolant temperature levels as well as other trip information.

Kia has come on leaps and bounds in the last decade and this new venture into performance models will attract even more motorists to the Korean car manufacturer.

The pro cee’d GT is built at its Zilina plant in Slovakia and will be sold only in Europe.

There are two versions, the £19,995 test car GT, and a GT Tech which costs £22,495.

A limited edition GT 1st Edition, priced at £23,995, was also available at launch with 500 built and only 50 earmarked for the UK.

Early next year will see the arrival of a GT version of the five-door cee’d.