Kia releases rear-drive GT concept sedan at Frankfurt Motor Show

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is officially underway and automakers from all over the world are proudly displaying their latest creations. Among them is a dashing rear-wheel drive sedan with a turbocharged V6 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. It isn't a BMW, or an Infiniti or Jaguar. It is, in fact, the new Kia GT concept car.

Kia's GT is the Korean automaker's first rear-wheel drive vehicle and it may spawn a production version in the near future. "This concept allows us to explore exciting new design directions, as using a rear-drive layout creates very different proportions compared to a front-wheel drive car," said Peter Schreyer, Kia's Chief Design Officer. "The classic front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout of a performance saloon has distinct appeal not just for the domestic Korean audience, but also for the European and American markets."

Schreyer is well known for having contributed to the design of the first-generation Audi TT and the Volkswagen New Beetle. Recent Kias that have been styled under his direction include the Forte, Sportage and Optima.

So far, performance statistics about the GT's power, speed and fuel economy have not been released. Instead, Kia has divulged a lot of information about the GT's styling which has been a big focus of the concept's development.

"At the onset of this project," said Gregory Guillaume, Kia's European Design Chief, "the design team was inspired by the spirit of iconic 1970s GT cars: sumptuous and elegant vehicles capable of whisking passengers from Paris to the South of France in effortless style and at high speed. We wanted to create something similarly graceful, athletic and confident, but not aggressive or overbearing."

The Kia GT features an aeronautical design theme with propeller-style alloy and carbon fibre wheels, "jet-themed" rearview cameras, an aerodynamic rear diffuser and air inducting "winglets" that fold across the headlights. Rear-hinged rear doors allow for easier entry into the cabin for backseat passengers. The interior features single-piece seats and a glass instrument panel for the driver. The instrument panel utilizes three layers of organic LEDs and is said to have a 3-dimensional depth to it. There's also a large red start/stop button located on the centre console. Impressive stuff.

Though the Kia GT is an exciting prospect, the fact remains that very little information about the car's mechanical specification has been released. This may lead many to believe that the GT is not at all a prelude to the future of Kia. However, Peter Schreyer gives the car a strong endorsement.

"One of the great things about working on this project was that this is a very real car," said Schreyer. "It felt good to be working on a car that could roll down the road tomorrow. Yes, it would be a dream to put this into production – it has a logical layout, with four seats, and good luggage space, and it's also engaging and dynamic and makes a strong statement. It's exactly the kind of car Kia should be making."

Let's not forget that Kia's parent Hyundai has a rear-drive sports coupe in its stable, so therefore something like the GT concept might have real world potential after all.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Kia, 2011, GT Concept,

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