Auto review: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT is fast as sin -- thank goodness
Published in Automotive News
LAS VEGAS — Most of us travel to Sin City to lose too much money gambling. I, for one, do not. I head to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a lovely bit of concrete and blacktop in the Nevada dessert that helps me satisfy my need for speed. In particular, I head for the dragstrip. It’s here that long ago that I pulled a 10.4-second quarter-mile time at 140 mph in a 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Officially, the car runs 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds. It’s so fast, so furious, and so mind-numbingly fun, it doesn't go quietly into the night.
But the 2023 Kia EV6 GT, the car I traveled here to drive, does go quietly into the night, if only because it’s a pure battery electric car. And while the Shelby boasts 760 horsepower, the Kia EV6 GT has a mere 576 horsepower, which on paper appears to be a disadvantage. But it isn’t. According to Kia, the EV6 GT runs 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds. In fact, I was able to run the quarter mile at the Las Vegas dragstrip doing an 11.6-second quarter mile at 120 mph. The EVg GT’s performance is akin to that of pricey Italian hypercars, yet it’s a midsize, five-door hatchback.
And it recharges as quickly as it runs. Its 800-volt system architecture allows for fast charging of up to 235 kW, allowing you to recharge from 10% to 80% of battery capacity in 18 minutes using a DC fast-charger.
The 2023 Kia EV6 GT is the highest performance variant of the Kia EV6, which is confusingly offered in GT-Line trim; think of that as the one that wears jogging attire, but never jogs. In contrast, the EV6 GT has more ponies under its poncho than such muscle car stalwarts as the Ford Mustang GT or Dodge Challenger Scat Pack. In fact, Kia claims it out-accelerates a Ferrari Roma and Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD. I wouldn't doubt it for a second. And the EV6 GT is a practical hatchback, with all-wheel drive and a design that evokes some funky-styled European metal of days gone by, albeit modernized to a degree that instantly allows it to brilliantly stand apart from its competition.
It’s wrapped around Hyundai Motor Group's E-GMP modular skateboard platform that's shared with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Genesis GV60. As such, it’s fitted with an electronically controlled suspension and a limited-slip rear differential with torque vectoring. The brakes are larger than trash can lids — measuring 15 inches up front and 14.2 inches in the rear — and are sheathed in 21-inch Z-rated Goodyear Eagle F1s. All that speed and grippy rubber does affect its range, which is rated at 206 miles, not as much as 310 miles claimed by other EV6 variants.
Power comes courtesy of a pair of axle-mounted, AC synchronous electric motors that generate 576 horsepower 545 pound-feet of torque. But there’s a catch. The only way to fully extract all that current is to hit the little green GT button on the steering wheel. Otherwise, in normal and sport driving modes, you’ll get “only” 430 horsepower. Also, the GT button sets the car to handle your wildest behavior, adjusting the cars systems to handle all that instant torque. The steering gets sharper, the throttle responds quicker, the … well, you get the idea.
Press the throttle and hang onto your dentures; this puppy flies. It all happens so quickly and with such swift force, you’d swear your internal organs are pressing against your backbone. And it’s so quiet; really, really quiet. When was sin ever carried out so silently?
As you’d expect, the EV6 GT’s cabin is indulgently spacious. It should be; its wheelbase is the same length as the noticeably larger Kia Telluride. But it requires fewer parts, so there’s more room for people. Its vibe is minimalist, yet modern, and is dominated by a large, horizontal screen that houses a 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster and an equally large infotainment touchscreen. And it has all the mod cos, like front and rear heated seats, a head-up display, wireless charging and other goodies. I could list them all, but trust me, you’ll be indulged.
Keep in mind that all of this goodness comes at a price, in this case, $61,600, or $3,100 less than a base Chevrolet Corvette. And the Kia is faster.
And it’s that sort of stat that raises questions. What’s the new performance paradigm for sports cars? Do sports cars become strictly track time playthings? If your new electric EV6 GT hatchback can keep pace with a fossil-fueled sports car, what’s the reasoning for buying the latter? I can’t say that I have the answer — yet.
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