Kia’s EV6 GT is World Performance Car of the Year, who can argue with that?
To be eligible a car must be produced in volumes of at least 1000 units/year, must be overtly performance-focused in overall character and must be “on-sale” in at least two major markets during the qualifying period.
And with two electric motors and a seriously impressive 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque, not to mention a 0-100-km/h time of just 3.5 seconds, EV6 GT certainly meets the requirements.
What’s it cost?
The GT sits 5mm lower, with some small design mods, larger 21-inch wheels and green brake calipers.
Gloss black A-pillar, wing mirrors and belt line garnishes complete the look, with full-width tail lights and a stylish rear wing.
It’s long and surprisingly wide at almost 4.7 metres and 1.9 metres across, with a 2900mm stretched wheelbase.
This means plenty of rear legroom and a decent-sized boot.
To placate traditionalists, a grille of sorts remains at the front.
But the proportions are out of whack, with an overly long cabin that is bracketed by a short bonnet and boot.
Prices start from $72,590 for the EV6 Air RWD.
EV6 GT-Line RWD is priced from $79,590, while the EV6 GT-Line with AWD is priced from $87,590.
Our test vehicle, top of the line EV6 GT, is priced from $99,950 before on-roads.
The standard colour is red, while premium blue, black or white adds $520 to the price.
Then there’s flat matte Moonscape grey that will set you back $3295.
Whatever colour you choose, the interior is trimmed in a combination of black with green piping and stitching.
Want the optional cable that allows the car to be hooked up to a pay-as-you-go charger – it’s a whopping $583 (why so much?)
Standard kit is mostly the same as the GT-Line we drove previously, with some notable omissions.
Inside there’s dual zone climate air with rear vents and the seats are trimmed in a combination of grey artificial leather and suede with green stitching.
While the seats are heated front and back, the front seats do not recline, lack power adjustment and miss out on cooling – or ventilation as it is commonly known.
The steering wheel is heated and mood lighting remains.
There’s also follow-the-road LED headlights, folding, heated door mirrors with integrated indicators, automatic high beam, smart cruise control with stop and go, auto parallel and perpendicular parking, a tilt and slide sunroof and power-operated tailgate.
Rounding off the list is head-up display, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, along with a 360 degree camera.
Infotainment consists of a 12.3-inch touchscreen, with built-in navigation, Bluetooth, AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, together with wired Android Auto and wired Apple CarPlay plus ‘Sounds of Nature’ ambient background noise.
Like the GT-Line it gets the premium, 14-speaker Meridian audio system.
Connect with three USB Chargers (1 x Type A and 2 x Type C) in the front tray with multimedia connectivity, plus two 12 volt power outlets ( 1 x boot side/1 x front tray).
Two USB ports have been removed from the rear.
Wireless Qi phone charging is standard.
Although other grades receive a five-star safety rating, the GT needs to be re-tested because the front seats are different and the centre airbag has been removed.
There’s six airbags, a rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, plus Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with car, pedestrian, cyclist detection (and junction turn assist).
Other active systems include Blind Spot (including rear cross traffic assist), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Lane Follow Assist (LFA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning with lead vehicle departure alert (DAW+), Multi-Collision Braking (MCB) and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Three top tether and two ISOFIX child seat anchors are provided.
Like all Kias, it’s covered by a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with pre-paid service plans available.
What’s it go like?
It’s quick, very quick, belying the fact it weighs almost 2.2 tonnes.
There’s no gas-guzzling petrol engine to accommodate, but the batteries add 480kg to overall weight, sandwiched under the floor.
Set low and distributed evenly, they give the car a low centre of gravity and solid planted feel.
GT is powered by two electric motors, with 160kW/350Nm at front and 270kW/390Nm at the rear.
They deliver a combined output of 430kW and 740Nm of torque, with maximum torque available from get-go.
Drive is to all four wheels, through a one-speed, reduction gear automatic.
The GT produces a whopping 80 per cent more power than the dual motor, all-wheel drive GT-Line (239kW and 605Nm).
They’re big figures but just part of the electric experience.
Push the accelerator and the GT rockets foward, take your foot off and it stops again, almost without the need for braking, depending how close you are to an approaching corner.
It’s a feature of regenerative braking, which reclaims and stores energy for later use, and is modulated via wheel-mounted paddles (no, they’re not for changing gear).
The setup is sufficient to propel the GT from 0 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 260km/h.
Walk up to the car and the flush-fitting, body-coloured door handles pop out in welcome.
But they are awkward to use and right-handed people might feel more comfortable opening the driver door with their left hand.
With a 77.4kWh battery, energy consumption is a claimed 20.6kWh/100km and the GT has a range of 424km (WLTP).
Say what? Given those figures, the range should be 376km?
The charge port is located at the rear of the car and means backing it in each time to charge.
After fully charging the car twice, it showed a range of 368km, followed by 373km the second time.
We queried Kia about the difference.
It says the figures may vary “significantly” and are influenced by previous driving behaviour, much like distance to empty is in a petrol vehicle.
“When previous driving patterns include high speed driving resulting in the high voltage battery using more electricity than usual, the estimated distance to empty is reduced.”
Sure, but what about the maths?
What it does confirm is that the harder you go in the GT, the more quickly you’re likely to drain the battery.
This all sounds very familiar. In fact very much like driving a high performance V8.
In comparison, the entry level Air RWD model has a range of 528km; the RWD GT-Line, 504km; and the AWD GT-Line, 484km.
Four drive modes are offered along with electronically modulated suspension in the GT that adjusts based on speed, road surface, plus cornering, stopping and acceleration.
It is also designed to limit squat and dive during rapid acceleration or braking.
An electronic limited slip rear diff also helps to even out the application of power.
As well as Eco mode to maximise range, there’s Normal, Sport, GT and My Drive Mode, the latter configured to your requirements.
GT mode is accessed via a prominent green button on the steering wheel and basically turns up the wick (it turns traction off too).
Then there’s Drift Mode which sends 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels to allow the vehicle to slide easily around corners with little steering input.
When exiting a corner, power is once again applied to the front wheels to improve acceleration.
Not surprisingly Kia warns Drift mode should be used in a controlled environment.
Additional bracing has been added to inceasebody stiffness resulting in improved vehicle response speeds and agile handling.
There’s also variable ratio steering and beefier brakes are fitted, with neon green calipers to highlight their presence, plus an electric booster to reduce braking distances (with selectable brake modes).
Adding to overall grip are 255/40 series Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Although described as all-wheel drive, for the majority of time drive is actually to the rear wheels.
The front wheels come into play as required as shown by the instrument panel graphic.
The GT is almost unbeatable away from the lights and overtaking can be accomplished at will.
Pushing hard along winding mountain roads, the car rockets from corner to corner.
Confidence growing, braking later and later, one can feel the weight of the car start to influence handling, as it lifts off its suspension, wanting to keep going like some kind of meteorite.
But, even with traction turned off, it feels very stable, very planted and connected to the road surface. To find the limits, you’ll need a race track.
In the end, however, driving the GT starts to feel a little too easy.
You don’t have to work at it, to finesse the outcome the way you do in a high performance V8 or turbo.
In the end, it just doesn’t feel as engaging.
Steering is heavy and uncommunicative and although tuned for Australian roads, the ride is hard and choppy on anything but well formed roads.
After close to 400km of mixed driving, the trip computer was showing 21.1kWh/100km, pretty close to the 20.6 claimed.
What we like?
What we don’t like?
Tyre repair kit
Cost of additional cables
Hard to manoeuvre when parking
The bottom line?
It wasn’t that long ago that Kia sparked no interest from the German-dominated top end of town.
Betcha it has the complete and undivided attention of the cashed up, user-choosers now.
But, as good as it might be, we’re not sure the extra performance offered by the EV6 GT is worth the substantial increase in price.
For some however the fact it can keep up with a Ferrari will be too tempting and in the larger scheme of things, even at $120K plus by the time you put it on the road – the GT is still a bargain for this kind of performance.