Australia’s next rear-drive hero

Kia developing secret 280kW turbo sedan with Oz in mind

WHEELS STAFF

KIA is poised to unleash a new rear-wheel-drive large sedan with the performance of a Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo.

The new model, codenamed CK, could arrive in Australia as early as the second half of 2017 – although more likely early 2018 – priced from about $40,000.

It will take styling cues from two of Kia’s well-received concept cars – the four-door GT (Frankfurt 2011) and GT4 Stinger (Detroit 2014).

The new rear-drive sports sedan will come with a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo and an all-new 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 producing some 280kW and 510Nm – comparable with the departing XR6 Turbo’s 270kW and 533Nm.

Kia will offer the four-pot as the price leader, while the V6 turbo will be the performance hero.

And it’s the V6 turbo variant that could prove a tempting proposition for those stepping out of a Falcon or Commodore.

While the Kia V6 would not have the cachet or sound of the V8s that have typically dominated the local rear-drive performance segment, it will be a rare breed in a market increasingly shifting to more fuelefficient front-drive models.

That’s something not lost on Kia Australia boss Damien Meredith: “I think it’s a great opportunity for us in regards to the timing of that vehicle entering the marketplace and the unfortunate closure … of Australian manufacturing.”

Meredith told Wheels there are enough enthusiasts who appreciate the dynamic benefits of a highperformance rear-wheel-drive car who will be tempted by a price tag that undercuts the European luxury mid-sizers.

He said that the imminent demise of the Falcon and Commodore is “going to give it a strong base”.

While affordable rear-drive large cars are out of fashion, no brand offers an affordable alternate to premium rear-drive mid-size offerings like the BMW M3.

Meredith sais he has seen early clay models of CK and says it combines both four-door, and sleeker sportier concepts.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to see it and I think an amalgam of the two is closer to the design cues,” he told Wheels.

“It’s very exciting.”

Testing of the new model is already well under way as our spy photographs snapped outside Hyundai’s American HQ in California attest. f our-ncepts. ate n ls. g.” w er hs test.

Sibling rivalry

Hyundai will get its own Genesis luxury sub-brand. teased as the New York Concept in March and will be called the Genesis G70.

Both CK and G70 are being developed under Albert Biermann, who headed BMW’s M Division before being poached to lead high-performance vehicle development for the two Korean brands.

An even higher tune for the V6 turbo will be used to produce a Mercedes-AMG fighter to sit within the Genesis portfolio. It will be created by the same team that is delivering the muchanticipated Hyundai N performance models, but the Genesis versions will not take on the N branding.

Hyundai recently version of the rear-drive CK as part of its soon-to-arrive The Hyundai version was trademarked a number of names, including G74, which could be the performance derivative of the G70.