New 2022 Kia EV6 GT: passenger ride in performance flagship ahead of launch

577bhp range-topper set to complete EV6 line-up when deliveries start in October 2022

The Kia EV6 has been on UK roads since October 2021, but the range is about to be completed with the arrival of the high-performance GT flagship – a rival for the Audi Q4 50 e-tron quattro, Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, Polestar 2 twin-motor, Skoda Enyaq iV vRS, Tesla Model Y Performance and Volkswagen ID.4 GTX.

The first examples are due to be with customers by October of this year, but at a recent Kia event in Germany, we had the opportunity to ride shotgun in the car with Kia’s executive technical advisor Albert Biermann to get a first impression of what to expect.

Biermann – who retired from his full-time role at the Hyundai Group at the end of 2021 and also spent time heading up BMW’s M division – was very keen to demonstrate the performance potential of the 577bhp, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive model, which can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds and will carry on going to a top speed of 162mph.

“The idea with this car is for it to be a fast car, but not necessarily a true high-performance model,” he told us. “That sounds strange, I suppose, but my definition is that a fast car is, well, fast, while a performance car is one that can do lap after lap at a race track. That’s not what the EV6 GT is about; the clue is in the name. It’s a fast grand tourer.”

Indeed, it’s apparent from the passenger seat that the EV6 GT is not an ultra-stiff, track-focused model; it’s actually quite compliant, especially considering it rides on sizeable 21-inch alloy wheels. Once out on the open Autobahn, Biermann was able to floor the throttle, giving us a taste of the gut-punch acceleration the car can achieve. It’s somewhere between the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S and unlike many other electric cars, the power doesn’t tail off as you continue to accelerate.

“This is what I’m particularly proud of,” Biermann adds. “A fast GT has to be able to be comfortable, and quick to accelerate, but also to go more than 100mph where the rules allow it.” At those sorts of speeds, the EV6’s motors remain remarkably quiet, although there is significant roar from the tyres, as well as wind rush over the mirrors and windscreen pillars.

With the EV6 even in standard form offering a slightly sportier driving experience than its Hyundai Ioniq 5 sister model, there was always a risk the GT could end up being an overly ‘hardcore’ effort that would have limited appeal on typically scarred UK roads. So it was encouraging to hear that Biermann has steered the development away from that direction, and we look forward to sampling the results ourselves in due course.

Spec-wise, aside from its dual-motor setup, the GT also comes with specific exterior styling, 21-inch alloy wheels, bucket seats, electronically controlled suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential and premium paint options. This model will top off the EV6 range in the UK, with a starting price north of £58,000.

Kia EV6 prices, specifications, battery, range and charging speeds

The remainder of the EV6 line-up is already on sale in the UK. All models here use the same 77.4kWh battery, with the option of rear or all-wheel drive for a maximum range of 328 or 314 miles respectively.  The EV6 is available in other markets with a 58kWh battery, but not in the UK. All EV6s also get 800-volt electrics for ultra-rapid charging at speeds up to 239kW, so if you’re able to find a public point capable of that speeds, you can go from 10-80% battery capacity in just 18 minutes.

Prices start at £41,695 for the 226bhp rear-wheel-drive model in entry-level Air trim. The GT-Line starts at £44,695 with rear-wheel drive and £48,195 in 321bhp all-wheel-drive form. Above that is the GT-Line S, which is also available with rear or all-wheel drive, priced at £49,195 and £52,695 respectively.

Standard kit on the Air includes 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, LED headlights, ambient lighting and black vegan upholstery, as well as heated front seats and steering wheel, parking sensors, highway driving assist and automatic emergency braking. Exterior and interior styling changes set the GT-Line apart from the base model, along with black suede and vegan leather upholstery, ‘premium relaxation’ seats, wireless smartphone charging, blind-spot monitoring and vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging.

The GT-Line S comes with 20-inch alloys, heated and ventilated seats, a powered tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, a 14-speaker Meridian audio system and an augmented-reality (AR) head-up display, plus additional safety features include 'Highway Driving Assist' active cruise control and parking collision avoidance.

Under the metal, the EV6 uses the same ‘E-GMP’ mechanical platform as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60. Thanks to the EV-dedicated platform, Kia has been able to maximise legroom in the EV6; both front and rear-seat passengers are said to enjoy more room than in a Range Rover.

Kia's vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, available on GT-Line trim and above, allows you to charge other items using the car’s battery. While Kia says you could use it to power large electronics like TVs, it would also be possible to charge another electric car using the EV6’s battery.

Design, interior and technology

The EV6 is the first car to be designed using Kia’s new ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy. It features a distinctive SUV-like shape, but with a coupe-like roofline – similar to the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It also has a short nose, slim LED headlights and features Kia’s latest logo on the bonnet above a thin strip that runs between the headlights.

Scrolling indicators and animated tail-lights span the full width of the car at the rear. A roof spoiler houses a high-level brake light, and then there’s a flat space with the Kia logo on the boot door. Black trim runs around the bottom of the car and incorporates chunky wheel arches that add to the SUV-like shape.

The interior of the EV6 is similarly impressive, featuring dual 12.3-inch displays, as well as projectors to display key information on the windscreen of your line of sight. The seats also aren’t leather; instead, Kia has chosen to use recycled materials – each EV6 contains the equivalent of 111 repurposed plastic water bottles.

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