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Frankfurt show: Kia slams down RWD sports sedan

Moving up: Kia's rear-wheel-drive sports sedan concept could herald an upmarket new 'GT' for the ambitious Korean brand.

Kia makes upmarket intentions clear with stunning rear-drive sports sedan concept

22 Aug 2011

KIA has signalled its intention to follow its parent company Hyundai upmarket by revealing this striking rear-wheel-drive sports sedan concept.

Proving recent speculation correct, the dramatic coupe-like four-door – which appears to be a hatchback, rather than a traditional booted sedan – will be the headline act of Kia’s Frankfurt motor show display from September 13.

The fast-growing Korean car-maker will also use the German automotive extravaganza to unveil a three-door version of its new Rio light-car, but the undoubted star of Kia’s Frankfurt show stand will be the muscular four-seater show car pictured here.

Kia is reportedly developing a large rear-drive four-door based on Hyundai’s classy rear-drive Genesis sedan and powered by a version of that model’s 5.0-litre ‘Tau’ V8.

Significantly, Kia says its unnamed B-pillarless concept - which could be called the 'GT' - also heralds a bold new design direction for the brand, and is expected to be the first in a series of concepts that preview the company’s next styling direction.

"No matter from which perspective you look at it – this concept car is roaring with energy and ready for take-off," said Kia Motors design chief Peter Schreyer.

17 center image"I believe the car is a strong statement from Kia: We are ready to fast-forward to an all-new chapter."Kia will also use the Frankfurt show to stage the European debut of its revised Soul crossover, which brings a slightly revised nose, an interior upgrade and new drivetrain choices.

However, the MY12 Soul will not arrive in Australia until the middle of next year due to production constraints - just months ahead of the global unveiling of the all-new, second-generation Soul, which is currently on track for an unveiling in late 2012.

The revised Soul adopts some of the items seen in the new-generation Rio light-car released here this month, including Kia's all-new 1.6-litre GDI direct-injection petrol engine, which delivers 100kW of power (up from 91kW) while using a claimed 10 per cent less fuel.

It will be offered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, which is a significant improvement over the current model’s old-fashioned four-speed auto.

North American Soul buyers can also choose a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol that produces 119kW of power and 194Nm of torque, but Kia has not yet revealed whether Australian-bound versions will get this bigger engine option, or a revised version of the current diesel engine.

Other changes to the Korean-built Soul include new projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, a redesigned bonnet, revised bumpers front and rear, LED tail-lights, revised trim and different audio interfaces with enhanced features.

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