Kia GT concept green-lighted - in FWD
Under the direction of former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, Kia is quietly positioning itself as the sportier, more adventurous (dare we say premium) arm of its parent company, Korean auto giant Hyundai.
What really woke us up to Kia's ambitious plans was the Kia GT concept, a seriously glamorous, rear wheel-drive, 'four-door coupé' that challenged the German autocracy on their home turf at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.
More than that, the GT was a runner.
It had a 290kW, 3.3-litre direct-injection turbopetrol V6 driving the aforementioned rear wheels through an eight-speed auto tranny.
Now Kia vice-president of overseas marketing Soon-Nam Lee has told Auto Express that a production version will be released in 2016.
The magazine quoted Lee as saying: "We have plans to build a GT - we spoke about it at our global marketing conference in Singapore. We'll be mainly targeting the end of 2016 or early 2017."
GENUINE GRAN TURISMO
Which is great - but it seems the production GT will be a genuine Gran Turismo, with only two doors and 2+2 seating rather than a sexy sedan like the luxurious gorgeous four-door concept with its back-hung rear doors.
And there's the problem: A two-door GT, no matter how luxurious, will be too small to be practicable on Kia's only current rear wheel-drive platform, that of the swanky Quoris. According to Auto Express' Iain Reid, that means it will probably be front-wheel drive.
Which means that, in the real world, it will be a non-starter like the Rover 75, the Hyundai Sonata, the Hyundai Tiburon, the Renault Vel Satis, the Volvo S80 - the list goes on and on, of front wheel-drive 'premium' and GT models that have tried to challenge the Teutonic Top Three and failed.
Almost a century after Errett Lobban Cord produced the first front wheel-drive luxury car, the L-29, in 1929, really classy cars still channel their chops through the rear axle. Ask any Mazda MX-5 owner.