Kia is planning to introduce a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan to its line-up as early as next year.
Designed as a dynamic rival to the BMW 3 Series the new four-door, being developed under the CK codename, is expected to sit atop a slightly smaller version of the rear-wheel-drive architecture set to underpin the Genesis G70 from parent-company Hyundai’s luxury brand.
The move marks Kia’s intention to be seen as the more sporting arm of the company, while still competing in the mainstream vehicle market.
Kia’s only other rear-wheel-drive offering, known as the K9, K900 and Quoris luxury sedan, and based of the Hyundai Genesis/Genesis G80 platform, hasn’t enjoyed the sales success of the more popular Hyundai, driving Kia to look for other market opportunities.
While dwindling global coupe sales mean that a two-door, similar to the GT4 Stinger concept of 2014, is off the cards for the time being, a more volume-oriented sedan that aims for the same focussed dynamic targets, has become the production front-runner.
Company insiders close to the project have hinted that a 2.0 litre and 2.2 litre engine option will be available, with a range topping 3.0 litre engine to top the range. At this stage engine outputs, or the use of turbocharging, haven’t been disclosed, although some form of forced induction seems likely.
With a production target of 60,000 vehicles per year Kia isn’t looking to notch up any production records, aware that a roughly Optima-sized rear-wheel-drive product will need to carry a pricing premium compared to its more prosaic counterpart.
The ability to platform-share with Hyundai will help amortise the cost of the CK program. However it also exposes Kia to competition from the Genesis G70, itself being prepared as a rival of sorts to the BMW 3 Series.
The final production version of each will likely be separated by a higher level of specification for the new mid-size Genesis.
Kia will opt for a slightly smaller package, with a focus on driving enjoyment as its key selling point, and a lower entry-price to lure buyers.
Would you be interested in a rear-wheel-drive sedan from Kia, and if so where would you like to see the new model positioned?
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