Kia Kee: A Keen Proposal

Kia is a company in a state of transition, for while it’s a thoroughly respectable brand known for making good reliable sensible cars, it’s never been one of the more exclusive, prestigious or sexy of badges.

It is only in very recent years that Kia is being set-up as a more upmarket and fun brand in the Hyundai group, rather than anonymous workhorses like the prolific Pregio van and Sephia family. This upmarket sea-change is evident across its range, with each new model or facelift ditching some of the more un-memorable previous styling elements and replacing them with more sophisticated and defined styling cues with greater attention to detail.

Looking at the current Rio, Carens and Carnival, they feature sculpted clean lines, and strong a road presence, Kia’s design ethos and brand image is in a state of evolution. And while the Kia Ce’ed has made an impact in the European market in terms of style and driveability, it is however the Kia Kee concept coupe, which is set to make a more radical statement.

Whether or not the Kee sees production by next year, it has been made as an almost ready for production concept concentrating on a stunningly arresting design, but remains on planet earth as far as the technology and engineering are concerned. This is an indication that it might go on sale, as it very well should, seeing as this is a classic recipe of a 2+2 front engine, rear drive coupe, which stands to appeal to a wide audience and actually be car that people will genuinely aspire to owning.

Designed by Peter Schreyer, the man responsible for the VW Golf-based Audi TT, a car whose style and popularity was the final step towards making Audi a bona fide prestige marque, the sexy low-slung Kee might well do similar things for Kia, with its pint-sized aggressive silhouette, curvaceous bonnet and new charismatic recessed corporate grille. A statement of intent in Kia’s design direction, a production Kee might feature smaller alloy wheels and drop the grinning front LCD lights.

Rear-wheel-drive for sporting and premium credibility the Kee will likely be powered by Kia’s existing 2.4 or 2.7 liter V6 engine in the region of 200BHP. However, Kia should bite the bullet and shoehorn in the torquey and progressively powerful 3.8 liter V6 from the Carnival LWB, to get the full-bore pocket rocket effect on the TT-sized sports coupe. With its long roofline, the Kee is said to have decent rear headroom, but the rear wheel arches could do with some slightly more aggressive definition, and a rear spoiler might work well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.7-liter, 24-valve, DOHC, V6-cylinders
  • Gearbox: 6-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • Power, PS (BHP) [kW]: 200 (197) [147]
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 228 (310) @ 5500 rpm
  • Length: 4325 mm
  • Width: 1860 mm
  • Height: 1315 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2675 mm
  • Tires: 245/40R20