LAS VEGAS—In January, we had our first chance to drive Kia’s new EV6 electric vehicle. Built using Hyundai Motor Group’s excellent new E-GMP platform, the EV6 immediately impressed us, offering a less polarizing design and more playful handling than the also impressive Hyundai Ioniq 5. Designed as a dedicated EV platform, E-GMP features an 800V battery that enables quick and fast charging, and both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive can reach excellent levels of efficiency.
On that first drive, and then again on local roads over the summer, my seat time in the EV6 confirmed the wisdom of the Hyundai Motor Group in hiring BMW’s Albert Biermann to expand the research and development programs Korean automakers. But now Kia has turned the dial well past 11 with the new $61,400 EV6 GT, a limited-production variant that can outrun some Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and roll on the rumble strips of a circuit with the best of them.
Between the axles of the EV6 GT, you’ll find the same 77.4 kWh (gross capacity) battery found in other EV6s. The company discontinued the smaller battery variant (the EV6 Light) due to very low demand. But in the EV6 GT, that battery will now provide significantly more power to the pair of electric motors that drive the front and rear wheels. There’s a total of 576 hp (430 kW), in fact, plus a combined torque of 545 lb-ft (738 Nm), split between a 215 hp (160 kW) front motor and a 362 hp (270 kW) rear. kW). engine with electronic limited-slip differential.
To reduce that power, the EV6 GT rolls on 21-inch wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires. And to double down on that, even though Kia has increased the amount of regenerative braking from 0.3G to 0.4G, it has also seen fit to equip the EV6 GT with large (15-inch to front, 14.2 inches at the front). rear) with one-piece calipers, enhanced with attractive neon green paint. The car rides on electronically controlled dampers with revised spring rates and retuned steering from lesser quality EV6s, and there are unique front suspension components, along with new traction and stability control algorithms that make it quite a fun car.
To access all that power and torque, you need to press the neon green GT button on the steering wheel, which unlocks the 576 horsepower and puts the electronic safety net in its most permissive setting. In eco mode, the EV6 GT only sends 287 hp (214 KW) of power to the motors, mainly to the rear motor for better efficiency. In normal and sport modes, the battery boosts the motors’ maximum power to 429 hp (320 kW), which is enough to make it a fast EV despite a sizable curb weight of 5,732 lb (2,600 kg). (That also explains the big brakes.)
But if you press the green button and you have at least 70% state of charge left, the car unlocks the 576 hp. On the drag strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the EV6 GT easily clocked quarter-mile times of 11.5 seconds, crossing the line at 118 mph (190 km/h). Kia quotes a 0-60 mph (0-98 km/h) time of 3.4 seconds, a tenth of a second quicker than rivals like the Tesla Model Y Performance and the Ford Mustang Mach-E GTand the EV6 GT will continue to accelerate until the speed limiter kicks in at 161 mph (260 km/h).
On the track, I was able to properly explore the more permissive handling of GT mode and found a car that will slide quite easily, but is easy to catch. The suspension was able to cope with curb driving, though admittedly the road course at LVMS is flat and the curbs are smooth and not cringe-worthy. A warm-up lap in sport mode followed by laps in GT mode confirms how much faster the latter is. And you’ll be happy to know the brakes are working well, even if you notice the car’s bulk on the track when it’s time to slow things down.