Wow, did Kia Motors blow the roof off of the SEMA 2018 Auto Show or what? Even if the Specialty Equipment Market Association isn’t known for automotive parts (which we doubt, given the reception of the auto show), Kia Motors still made a statement when they rolled in with five concepts for their upcoming Kia Telluride SUV. We also got to see a modified Kia Stinger GT by DUB Magazine, and most importantly, the first bits of the new Kia GT Lineup. What? You haven’t heard? Oh yeah, Kia Motors is all about Gran Turismo cars now.
Showing up at SEMA 2018 was none other than the Kia Forte GT, having previously debuted in Korea and now in America. There were only small tidbits released from the show at first – 201hp turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, a set of 18-inch wheels – that’s all good. What else?
Then the press release from Kia Media came out, and hoo-boy, does it got some serious specs to share. 2020 is going to be a fun year for Kia Motors, with the Kia Forte GT and 2020 Kia Soul slated to come out soon, with the latter showing up at the 2018 LA Auto Show at the end of November, 2018. No joke, this Forte is already looking amazing.
“The fantastic capabilities of our team of engineers really shined in the development of the Stinger and we’re thrilled to continue injecting a bit more sport into some of the other models in the lineup…Whether you want a practical commuter or performance compact sedan, there’s now a Forte that appeals to several types of car shoppers. The Forte is already one of our top sellers, and we believe adding more diversity to the model line will appeal to a broader range of consumers.” – Orth Hedrick, executive director, Car Planning and Telematics, KMA.
So let’s dive right into the performance specs, yeah? The powertrain is a little different than expected – although all Kia Forte models of the “GT Line” may wear the “GT Line” badge, the majority of them will be powered by the naturally aspirated 147-HP 2.0-liter MPI four-cylinder engine, optimized by Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) for improved performance. Higher GT trim levels will get the turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC inline-four cylinder engine, optimized by gasoline direct injection (GDI). This is the engine able to generate 201 HP and 195 lb-ft.
Consumers will have a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or 7-speed dual clutch transmission (with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters) depending on the trim. The underpinnings of the Kia Forte have been improved for the GT Line, including a fully independent front and rear suspension and larger front disc brakes and sway bars for better handling and cornering, improved ride quality, and enhanced stability and steering for the driver. The Kia Forte GT will ride on sticky 225/40R/18 Michelin Pilot Sport Summer tires.
The exterior and the interior come with their own upgrades, such as a race-inspired gloss black grille offset by red accents. This aesthetic theme expands to the heated exterior mirrors with LED turn signals, sport side sills, and the rear spoiler perched atop the decklid. Inside the cabin, expect “GT Line” upgrades such as alloy sport pedals and a flat bottom steering wheel with white contrast stitching to start. Consumers will also find exclusive black sport cloth seats with the same color stitching, while front seats come with performance side bolsters to keep occupants firmly seated during those tight turns.
That’s just for the GT Line. The actual Kia Forte GT trim gets a sport tuned dual exhaust, 18-inch alloy wheels with a GT-exclusive two-tone finish, standard LED headlights, red contrast stitching in place of the white, a Smart Key w/ Push Button Start, and LED ambient interior lighting with an illuminated GT dash inlay. Not enough? Check out the GT1 and GT2 packages, a signature name for the higher trim levels of the Kia Stinger. Between these two packages, consumers can add LED overhead lighting and a power sunroof, a 320-watt Harman Kardon® premium eight-speaker audio system with Clari-Fi™ technology, wireless charging, 4.2-inch center LCD screen, dual-zone full automatic air conditioning, heated and ventilated SOFINO GT sport seating, and a 10-way power driver’s seat.