Kia’s mystery pair of Volkswagen GTI fighters have been confirmed, and European markets will soon have two 201-hp turbocharged Kia hot hatches to choose from. With today’s release of a slew of new performance metrics, there’s only one question left: should these cars come to the United States?
The cars are both variants of the Cee’d hatchback, including a five-door Cee’d GT and a three-door Pro_cee’d GT. Both will get their motivation from a 1.6-liter direct injected, twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 engine making 201 hp and 195 lb-ft. If those numbers and that engine sound familiar, it’s because we’ve already seen it in the U.S. under the hood of the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. That 201 hp would be transmitted through the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, although it’s unclear whether or not the Cee’d GT or Pro_Cee’d GT will follow the Veloster Turbo’s lead and offer a six-speed torque-converted automatic transmission.
Kia promises to both the Cee’d and Pro_Cee’d GT will reflect the increase in power with aggressive aero kits, 18-inch alloy wheels, a new grille, and new headlight assemblies. The GT-spec Pro_Cee’d and Cee’d will get a signature touch in the form of four-point LED running lights mounted in the lower front fascia. Inside, the GT hatches will offer Recaro sport seats, aluminum pedals, and unique interior trim pieces and materials.
When the Cee’d GT and Pro_Cee’d GT go on sale in Europe some time next summer, they’ll have to wade into battle against the mighty Volkswagen GTI, but the comparisons may not be favorable for the Korean challenger. Kia says it targeted a 7.9-second 0-62 mph run, which seems abnormally slow for the segment. For reference, the Volkswagen GTI (equipped with a DSG) can make the run in as little as 6.7 seconds, while the Cee’d's Hyundai Veloster Turbo relative takes 6.9 seconds; the more powerful Ford Focus ST, meanwhile, does the job in 6.2 seconds, and the Mazdaspeed 3 takes just 6.3. Considering that the new VW GTI (which bows in 2013 in Europe and 2014 in the U.S.) will offer more power and lower curb weight, the Kia GTs will soon have an even tougher time keeping up.
In any event, expect to see more about these cars–and actual photos, not just teasers–over the next few months. What do you think–are these cars welcome entrants, or do they need more power to join the party? Should they make it to American shores? Let us know in the comments below.