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Geneva show: Kia’s Pro_Cee’d GT breaks cover

Gee T: This picture of the turbocharged Kia Pro_Cee’d GT was meant to be under embargo, but found its way onto the web.

Three-door Kia Pro_Cee’d GT leaked ahead of Geneva launch and probable Oz roll out

Kia logo28 Jan 2013

By RON HAMMERTON

HERE is Kia’s new hot hatch hero, the European-made Pro-Cee’d GT, in official pictures leaked on a Greek website ahead of the formal unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March.

The good news is that the small coupe is a likely starter in Kia’s Australian line-up, where it is set to sit above the mainstream South Korean-built Cerato and its two-door variant, the Koup.

Powered by the same 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder engine as the Veloster SR Turbo from sister company Hyundai, the three-door Pro_Cee’d GT is likely to be the only member of the Cee’d car line to come to Australia, where it will take on the likes of the Opel Astra GTC and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Kia Motors Australia national public relations manager Kevin Hepworth said the prospects of Pro_Cee’d reaching the Australian market were “looking better”.

He said the company hoped to be able to make a decision by the time the vehicle goes on public display on March 5 in Geneva alongside a similar GT version of the five-door Cee’d and an all-new concept coupe foreshadowed last week.

An angry Kia has indicated that the images shown here are indeed legitimate and were to have been held under embargo.

The Pro_Cee’d is built in Kia’s Slovakian factory alongside the five-door Cee’d for the European market, including the UK.

The Cee’d model line is more upmarket than the Cerato (known as Forte in North America), although both cars share the same platform as the Hyundai i30.

Kia has ruled out the standard Cee’d and Pro_Cee’d for Australia, saying the cars would likely cannibalise sales of the new-generation Cerato that is set to be launched here in sedan form in April.

Likewise, the GT form of the Cee’d five-door hatchback is also unlikely to make the journey from Europe, with Kia Australia opting for a single hero model at the top of its small-car range.

The pictures of Pro_Cee’d GT confirm what we already knew from teaser renderings issued by Kia in December, showing the more aggressive front fascia treatment with bigger air openings and LED daytime driving lights in a square pattern in the bumper.

Like other European hot hatches – think Volkswagen Golf GTI – the Pro_Cee’d GT gets some red trim highlights, including a strip across the front splitter and brake callipers.

The black-mesh grille gains a GT badge, while side skirts have been added and the roof painted black.

The Pro_Cee’d GT is expected to be available only in six-speed manual gearbox form in Europe, but as Hyundai’s Veloster Turbo has an alternative six-speed automatic, an auto might be possible for Australia.

Kia says the GT model should be able to sprint from zero to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds – 0.7 seconds slower than the 2.0-litre 155kW Golf GTI manual.

The Kia gets 300mm front disc brakes and 262mm units at the rear, while inside the Pro_Cee’d will get a sports interior including Recaro seats, aluminium pedals and different trim.

Production is expected to start for Europe in May, but Australia can expect a long wait for showroom supplies, as demand in Europe – where Kia’s sales are growing against a general downward trend – is likely to be strong this year.

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