Kia unveils GT concept at the Frankfurt auto show.

By: Jake Lingeman on 9/12/2011

Kia revealed the GT, its first rear-drive sedan, at the Frankfurt motor show on Monday. We brought you a sneak peak of the concept back in August.

The GT is powered by a 390-hp turbocharged V6 engine and, in another first for the company, an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Work on the GT started in November 2010, though the brand has been toying with the idea for a while.

“The classic front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout of a performance sedan has distinct appeal not just for the Korean market,” Kia design chief Peter Schreyer said, “but also for the European and American markets.”

The company says inspiration came from the GT cars of the 1970s.

Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s European design chief, says he wanted a “sumptuous and elegant vehicle capable of whisking passengers from Paris to the south of France in effortless style and at high speed.”

The GT has a long hood and short rear end with near-pillarless windows. The rocker panels are painted a contrasting color, and a copper-colored line appears from the front of the windshield, along the car’s roof and to the base of the rear glass. Rearview mirrors are replaced with digital cameras that display on monitors in the doors. Fanblade wheels that cover copper-colored brake calipers complete the exterior package.

The front and rear-hinged doors swing slightly upward when opened, giving the car a confident look, according to Schreyer.

Inside, the GT gets a glass instrument panel with three layers of organic LEDs. This frees up the center console from switches, knobs and displays. Controls on the three-spoke steering wheel allow for adjustments of the displays.

Schreyer says this concept is less about design specifics and more about a general feeling of stance, performance and balance.

“One of the things about working on this project was that this is a very real car,” Schreyer said. “It felt good to be working on a car that could roll down the road tomorrow. It’s exactly the kind of car Kia should be making.”

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