As driving enthusiasts, we live and breathe the key stats; 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds, 430kW of power, 740Nm of torque, and all for around $100k? The Kia EV6 GT boasts supercar performance blended with clever packaging and zero-exhaust-emissions driving.
But when you look at those stats, you can’t help but compare the EV6 GT with pinup poster supercars such as the Lamborghini Huracan and McLaren Artura, which make the sprint to 100km/h in pretty much the same time. But is the EV6 GT a one-trick pony or is it affordable supercar motoring for the modern driver?
2023 Kia EV6 GT: Specifications
Battery: 77.4kWh lithium-ion, 800V
Output: 430kW / 740Nm
Gearbox: Single-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 21×8.5, 255/40
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 2185kg
Power-to-weight: 5.08:1 (kg:kW)
Official range: 424km
Max charging: 350kW DC, 11kW AC
0-60km/h: 2.07 seconds*0-100km/h: 3.61 seconds*
0-200km/h: 12.15 seconds*
60-110km/h: 2.05 seconds*
1/4 mile: 11.70 seconds at 195.0km/h*
Max acceleration: 1.180g*
100-0km/h braking: 35.48m in 3.15 seconds*
Max deceleration: -1.455g*
Decibel at idle (/sport mode): 23*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 76*
Starting price: $99,590
*Figures as tested by Driving Enthusiast on the day. Manufacturers’ claims may be different
2023 Kia EV6 GT: How much does it cost?
As the performance flagship of Kia’s four-door, five-seat electric fastback-SUV range, the EV6 GT is priced at $99,590 (excluding on-road costs); a $12,000 premium over the mid-spec GT-Line AWD and $27,000 more than the entry-level EV6 Air.
At this price point, the closest rivals in terms of performance to the EV6 GT would be the Audi RS3 (from $96,200) and the Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 S (from $119,900). Of course, battery-electric rivals such as the Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor with Performance Pack at $87,900 and Tesla Model Y Performance at $91,400 both merit a mention too.
What do all of these rivals have in common apart from similar 0-100km/h times, all-wheel drive and sticker prices? Well, they are all available with four doors, five seats and a usable boot – features that supercars don’t have.
2023 Kia EV6 GT: Interior & packaging
Contrasting against the black interior trim with neon green stitching are a pair of 12.3-inch displays. Graphics are crisp and the user-interface is responsive and snappy. With native satellite navigation, DAB+ radio and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, this system is arguably one of the better dual-screen infotainment and digital display executions out there.
Pressing the drive mode selection button or neon green GT button on the steering wheel not only changes the screens to mirror the selected mode, it bathes the interior with ambient lighting to match the mode, as the powertrain, steering and suspension also change to match the drive mode.
Unique to the GT are a pair of leather and suede bucket seats, with deep and pronounced bolsters that do a good job of securing you in place. While the GT-Line and the aforementioned key-rivals have electric adjustment, the GT’s front pews are manually-adjustable only, which makes fine-tuning your optimum driving position a bit more of a challenge. While they are firm and perfectly fine for short commutes, be warned that they can become taxing on the lower back after an hour or so, especially due to the absence of lumbar support.
With a 2900mm wheelbase, Kia has engineered a spacious cabin with minimalistic and futuristic elements throughout. Built on Hyundai and Kia’s E-GMP platform with the omission of a transmission tunnel affords occupants additional space in the centre console, with ample leg and headroom, despite a sloping roofline and raised floor impacting comfort for those over 6 foot. The two outer rear seats feature ISOFIX mounting anchors and top tether points across all three, essential for those with or planning a family.
Up front, the EV6 GT features a small 20L ‘frunk’ and a decent 480L of luggage capacity in the back with the rear seats up. This expands to 1260L with the seats folded flat. A metal scuff plate and flat load height helps with loading and unloading, as does a tidy cargo net that secures smaller items from sliding about when underway. Unfortunately, there isn’t a spare wheel under the floor, with that void filled with a tyre repair kit instead.
What’s it like outside? First impressions do count, and the EV6 GT makes a bold first impression with an aggressive front aesthetic, sleek side profile and that attractive fastback sloping roof design. Of course, you can’t help but notice the neon green front four-pot brake calipers clamping 380mm ventilated rotors (360mm ventilated rotors with a single piston sliding caliper at the rear), hiding behind 21-inch machined alloy wheels.
Design aside for a moment, these brakes do perform exceptionally well with decent bite, progressive stopping power and solid feel underfoot; something that some other performance EV manufacturers are still yet to get right.
Despite being a fastback, visibility is quite good, with the ingenious ‘blind-spot view monitors’ aiding driver visibility and awareness further by displaying live footage of your blind spot as you indicate to change lanes.
Gloss black appointments adorn much of the lower areas of the car, and are easily caked by bugs. While the rear end is tied together nicely with a third brake light spanning the width of the rear. Nestled on the driver’s side beneath the rear lights is a hidden door, sporting the CCS2 charging port.
Is it safe? While we are led to believe the GT is unrated due to the unique bucket seats which don’t feature a far-side airbag, it’s important to note that the rest of the EV6 range scored the maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating, with all EV6 variants equipped with a gamut of safety and advanced driver assistance systems:
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with turn assist
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
- Lane Follow Assist (LFA)
- Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
- Blind Spot View Monitors – which use the cameras to display your blind spot on the dash
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
- Reverse and 360-degree Cameras
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
With a claimed energy efficiency figure of 20.6kWh/100km and a range of 424km (WLTP), in the real world we tested the range to be closer to 350km, averaging a return of 19.0kWh/100km, and that was with a bit of spirited driving.
The 800V electrical architecture is capable of 350kW DC charging, which will charge the EV6 GT from 10-80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes. But the majority of owners will likely charge at home, with either the supplied 10-amp 2.4kW AC wall charger or a 7.6kW wall box charger, which we used to recharge 45kWh overnight. That worked out to cost just $4.08, thanks to dedicated off-peak EV-specific electricity plans. You certainly can’t refuel a supercar for that money.
2023 Kia EV6 GT: Powertrain & handling
It’s quick, ballistically quick. While the numbers suggest that it will haul like a supercar, it really does possess an impressive bandwidth as an all-round performer. In Eco or Normal mode, it’s relatively comfortable, refined and carves up a morning commute with limited body roll arrested by the locally-tuned dampers.
As with any sorted EV, the GT’s variably-adjustable regenerative system and one-pedal driving (i-pedal) is a godsend during a commute, reclaiming energy as you lift off the throttle. In these modes, we tested a respectable energy consumption of 17.8kWh/100km, which is quite remarkable when you consider those key stats again.
Flick it into Sport or GT mode and everything is dialled up to 11; the suspension firms up, the steering response sharpens and removes any sloppy dead-centre play found in the other modes, and the torque delivery brutally pins you back into your seat as soon as you lean on your right foot.
In Sport or GT, it feels like all 430kW and 740Nm are delivered at once; a brutal sensation that feels unworldly the first time you launch the GT from a standstill. Then there’s the way it handles around corners, with the combination of low centre-of-gravity and stiffer dynamic suspension masking nearly two tonnes of mass into a playful and communicative symphony of grip-and-go.
While it will wash wide with torque-steer under full throttle in slower corners as the front axle clambers for traction, the complete opposite can be had in faster corners, as the rear will rotate under power – particularly in GT mode or the dedicated Drift mode – courtesy of the E-LSD on the rear axle working overtime to defy physics.
Despite what the official local press release says, the Drift mode does not just switch to rear-wheel drive, but instead works with both the front and rear motors (as seen in our video below), applying torque to individual wheels to help rotate the vehicle into a slide. It’s an unusual sensation drifting in silence, but it works and adds a level of excitement not really seen in regular EVs yet.
2023 Kia EV6 GT: Key attractions/reasons to buy
In the past, we’ve spoken about supercars being fundamentally flawed, compromised and unsuitable for anything apart from going quick and bringing a smile to one’s face when you mash the loud pedal. But this Kia EV6 GT really does combine supercar performance with the practicality of an urban commuter or family hauler.
I did the school run in it each day, and the other parents and kids at the drop-off zone knew exactly what it was, appreciated that it was quick, and my daughter couldn’t stop giggling each time we took off down the highway on-ramp. It is impressively energy-efficient, comfortable and quiet to commute in and, best of all, fun and engaging.
When you think about what a supercar is meant to do; quench the insatiable thirst for fun that all driving enthusiasts share, you can’t help but think to yourself, “can a performance electric vehicle be the answer?” I think so. A week with the Kia EV6 GT proved that it is practical, packaged well, and undercuts similar rivals in either spec or price.
What’s it cost to own and to maintain? It’s no secret that supercars are notoriously expensive to maintain, from exotic materials and expensive replacement parts, to dry-sump systems and synthetic oils – there is usually a price for performance.
And while the EV6 GT’s power and torque outputs are supercar-like, the maintenance schedule is not. With a 12 month/15,000km service interval, Kia quotes $733 for the three-year service plan, $1371 for the five-year plan and $2013 for the seven-year plan – which equates to only $287 per year.
The Kia EV6 GT is also backed by a 7-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with the 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery covered by a 7-year, 150,000km warranty.
2023 Kia EV6 GT: Key considerations before you buy
The main considerations are more about buying an electric vehicle as a concept rather than specifically the EV6 GT. As we’ve discovered above, this is incredibly quick, practical, user-friendly, relatively cheap to run, and is priced reasonably for the performance you get.
If you live in an apartment block and don’t have access to overnight charging, relying on the public infrastructure can be a hassle. You’ll be racing to chargers to beat other EV motorists and you’ll spend some time with your fingers crossed hoping your nearest charger is not out of order (which happens quite frequently).
On the other hand, if you have your own charger or can get one installed, and run solar panels, then charging won’t be as much of a concern. And in that case, the EV6 GT should be high on your shopping shortlist, especially if you have a strong appetite for performance.
2023 Kia EV6 GT: Video
How does it rate against its rivals?
It’s the quickest and most powerful Kia ever but also the most expensive in the company’s history. It does fulfil many roles, though; it’s the size of a large SUV; offers excellent practicality; is tuned for Australian conditions; and it’s backed by one of the longest warranties in the industry. You’ve got to hand it to them.