How would you like champagne performance on a baked bean budget? Now, if this notion excites you half as much as the people who asked about the new Kia EV6 GT, you are in for a treat. The GT’s most important number is 3.5. That’s the number of seconds it takes to whisk the riders from rest to 100 kilometres an hour. By way of reference, the $189,700 Porsche 911 GT3 needs 3.9 seconds. While the as-tested price of this EV6 GT is still a hefty $74,745, that’s less than half the price of the iconic German sports car, with better acceleration.
This uber level of performance is not bad for a brand that hit Canadian roads with the dreadful first-gen Sportage and, even worse, Sephia. You could watch it rust when it rained and it was beyond dismal in the way it drove! This will never be said of any EV6, especially the souped-up GT!
The reason the EV6 GT satisfies the need for speed is it earns 256 horsepower and 99 pound-feet more – yes, that’s MORE – than the EV6 GT-Line package 2, and even that is no slouch. For nearly all punters, the 5.2 second acceleration time will be more than enough to satisfy! The reason for the GT’s jump in output is down to the upgraded electric motors. The front motor makes 214 hp and is the same unit used as the main rear motor in the GT-Line. It then earns a much stronger 362 hp rear motor. The two combine to deliver all-wheel drive and a net output of 576 hp and 546 lb-ft of torque.
Technically, to enjoy the full fruits of flat-out acceleration, the battery must have a state of charge (SOC) of 70 per cent or above. That said, it was very difficult to pick up on the fact the system had shaved some ponies for the sake of the electrons. Even when the battery was down to a 23 per cent SOC, the GT left other drivers wondering what the heck had just showed them a clean set of P255/40R21 rear tires. Better yet, the more important 80-120-km passing move seemed unaffected. It averaged two seconds flat — it did take many enjoyable attempts to reach this average!
The GT uses the same 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery as the other long-range EV6 models. It’s here, however, the power penalty surfaces. The average equivalent fuel consumption rises from 2.5 Le/100 km for the GT-Line Package 2 to 3.0 Le/100km for the GT. This drops the driving range from 406 km to 332 km. That’s quite a bite in the overall range and it does drop quickly if you push the GT hard. The good news is, in everyday driving situations, the battery holds its own.
Charging it takes just over seven hours when using a Level 2 charger rated at 48 amps. Plugging it into a 350 kW DC fast charger and the 10-80 per cent charge time comes in at 18 minutes. Sadly, that tidy time soars to 73 minutes when using the more common 50 kW DC charger.
Part of the EV6 GT’s appeal is it can be just about anything to anyone. It has the regular Drive Mode button with Eco, Normal and Sport modes on the left, however, sitting on the right side of the steering wheel is the lime-green GT button. Press it once and it engages GT mode. This optimizes the motor, braking, steering, suspension and stability control systems to deliver one seriously hairy drive. When engaged, the GT hunkers down and seems to dig deeper as the driver pushes harder. It is a great backroad setup, but just too edgy for the city!
Here, a second push of the lime-green button opens up My Drive mode, a custom program that allows the driver to mix-and-match the settings and save them. I found Sport for everything except the steering, which was in Normal, worked best — it proved to be sharp without feeling hyper in an urban environment.
There’s also a Drift mode. To engage, select Sport or GT mode, turn off the stability control and pull both paddle shifters back for three seconds. The “Drift Mode activated” light illuminates and the GT is transformed into a rear-drive drift monster!
Having made it go so much faster, Kia turned to the task of keeping it shiny side up. In this regard, the GT works very well. The suspension uses adaptive dampers and the steering has a tighter 2.3 turns from lock-to-lock, which is down from 2.67. Thankfully, the brakes have also been significantly bolstered — there’s much better fade resistance when not relying on regen braking. On that note, the iPedal regen mode does bring a one-pedal experience.
With the suspension and steering set to the max, the GT really does lay a twisty road to waste. Yes, there is more road noise and large bumps do filter back into the cabin because of the firm suspension setting and skinny sidewalls, but switching to Normal softens things so it does not feel temperamental in town. All of this speaks to how well the ride/handling ability have been honed. The EV6 GT may not be Porsche-like in its overall dynamics, but it certainly gets closer than any Kia has managed to do so thus far.
The rest of the changes are fairly subtle. There are different front and rear fascias, neon accents along with those 21-inch wheels. For the most part this means the GT retains the sleeper status of the other EV6 models. Inside, it is more of the same, although along with that lime-green button come two very serious sport bucket seats. The deep-dish style and bold bolstering do a great job of keeping the front riders planted, although the manual adjustment is disappointing.
As for the rest of it, well, it’s all EV6. This means enough head- and legroom for two adult riders in the rear outboard positions. The middle spot is usable, but it’s really more for kids. At the back there is a 690-litre trunk beneath the hatch. Dropping the seats opens up the volume to 1,360 L.
The GT’s nits are the same as other EV6 models. Namely, rain and/or snow renders the sideview camera display that shows up in the instrumentation utterly useless. Let’s just say it’s like trying to snorkel with a mask full of water. Likewise, the rear spoiler does not do what the missing rear wiper should – clear the rear window in a snow storm. I had to stop and do it manually at one point.
While the idea of a Porsche-ripping ride from Kia seemed fanciful at first, the EV6 GT has brought the impossible to fruition. The GT is very fast, it easily out-handles anything Kia has ever produced, and that includes the Stinger. In fact, the only change, rear wiper aside, I would make is to add a slightly larger battery, one that would bump the driving range back to today’s unofficial norm of 400 km. That aside, make mine Yacht Blue. The Runway Red tester proved to be a bit too constabulary friendly!