Editors Note: This story ran in a previous edition.
Just in time for good boys and girls everywhere, the Kia EV6 GT is sure to make a couple of holiday gift “wish lists” this year.
With a promised (and delivered) 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds, let’s just say it’s really, really hard to do the speed limit, and you might want to use cruise control, especially on the freeway, lest some Grinch-like police officer ruin your holiday cheer.
First off, let’s not confuse the Kia EV6 GT (which is just hitting dealer lots) with the Kia EV6 GT-Line (which has been available for several months). The new GT has 576 hp and 545 lb-ft of torque compared to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque on the GT-Line.
It’s also more expensive, starting at $61,400 compared to the GT-Line’s starting price of $52,700. But for those extra Benjamins you get improved performance.
Kia, which offers performance “GT-Line” variants on its other models, isn’t the first automaker to potentially confuse consumers with similar nomenclature.
Other automakers offer a true performance variant and then one that has the look of the performance model without the hardware upgrades at a significantly lower price. Hyundai has the N and N-Line, Ford has ST and ST-Line, and BMW and Mercedes were among the first to do this with M/M-Sport and AMG/AMG-Line.
Compared to other nameplates with similar stats, it’s a bargain. One example: the Porsche Taycan GTS, which goes from 0 to 60 in a similar 3.5 seconds — but at $131,400, costs more than double the Kia.
Kia used one of the prestigious events held in conjunction to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this summer to debut the EV6 GT. The display featuring a prototype of the then-upcoming vehicle at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering was near the 2022 Pagani Huayra R, which also does 0-60 in 3 seconds, but costs an astonishing $3.5 million.
By the end of that event, Kia CMO Russell Wager says he was having to practically beat off potential EV6 GT buyers with a stick. These were attendees who weren’t used to hearing the word “no,” but Wager couldn’t very well sell a one-of-a-kind prototype.
But back to the original Kia EV6. The automaker found this past year it was not selling many units of the base vehicle, so simplified its lineup to drop the “Air” variant, and instead will start with the slightly more expensive but better equipped “Wind” model (the rear-wheel drive get 310 miles of range and starts at $48,500.)
If range is a concern, the limited production EV6 GT is probably not your vehicle. With only 206 miles of range, it’s not meant to be the only vehicle in a household.
That said, it does come with 1,000 kWh fast charging, which translates to a charging credit for EV6 owners to drive as many as 4,000 miles through a partnership with Electrify America. Charging stations are searchable through in-car navigation and the EA app.
Although it has a limited production, Kia is advertising the EV6 GT since it is a halo for the brand, much like the Kia Stinger was when it first came out. Playing up the vehicle’s EV silence, the copy reads “You don’t need noise to make a loud statement.”
Speaking of quiet, the automaker has also enlisted deaf race car driver Kris Martin to appear in a TV spot from David&Goliath that is currently running on broadcast, digital and social. Martin is a six-time National Kart Champion and NASCAR race driver, and has competed at Le Mans.
“My biggest concern when we did this was, I didn’t want people to think we were exploiting Kris,” Wager tells DriveTime. “We mentioned that to Kris. We said ‘look, we would love for you to do this, if you have any concerns, please let us know. And then when we finished and showed him the edited version, he said 'This is great, thank you.’”
Kia also showed the spot to organizations that help raise awareness about deafness.
“They said 'This is a good thing, this is not exploiting, this is getting the word out,” Wager says. “It wasn’t the intention to do that, it’s a byproduct, but it’s a good one."