The electric Kia EV6 is one of the best cars on sale, and now Kia has introduced the performance-focused EV6 GT, with 577 bhp and a 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
“What’s our favourite EV?” is a question that we’re asked on a regular basis, including numerous times on stage at Fully Charged LIVE. Since it was launched, our answer has been the Kia EV6. But now Kia has brought us the EV6 GT – with supercar-like performance. So does the GT improve on what is already an excellent car?
The GT model builds on the basics of the EV6, ie. a 77.4 kWh battery with the all-wheel drive system of the GT Line S. However the GT has a higher power output, with 577 bhp compared to 321 bhp of the GT Line S. And the GT produces 740 Nm of torque at the rear motor, and 740 Nm of torque at the front motor, compared to 350 Nm and 255 Nm respectively in the GT Line S. This results in a 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 162 mph for the GT model, compared to 5.2 seconds and 114 mph for the GT Line S.
Design is a subjective thing, but we think the EV6 looks great, and the GT model is even better; one key feature that sets the EV6 GT model apart is the neon green brake callipers.
The EV6, even in GT form, has lots of interior space, including generous rear legroom. The boot features a false floor and offers up to 490 litres of luggage space with the seats up, or up to 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s even an additional small storage space under the bonnet – 20 litres for AWD models, offering enough space for the vehicle’s charging cable.
Here at Green Car Guide we review at least one new electric car every week, with many recent EVs on test having a price tag of £80,000 or more. But despite the many impressive cars that we’ve tried, it was a pleasure to get back into an EV6. The interior is just so well designed – from a visual and material quality point of view, but especially from a usability perspective.
You can get a great driving position – although the GT model doesn’t have the electric seat adjustment of the GT Line S, and the steering wheel doesn’t extend particularly far, and it feels like the steering wheel could benefit from being slightly smaller. The start button is in a brilliantly clear and accessible position on top of the centre console, as is the rotary dial gear selector, and the drive mode button is very easy to access on the steering wheel. Perhaps best of all, you can switch off the lane departure warning system with one press of a button on the steering wheel.
There are two rows of buttons under the touchscreen which you can toggle between to give access to controls for the touchscreen, or for heating and ventilation. There’s a head-up display which provides lots of information, including detailed satnav mapping.
Once you’re underway, it quickly becomes clear that the GT model has a firm ride. It feels like the suspension has been tweaked to offer tight body control on a racetrack. The 21-inch alloy wheels will also be a contributing factor to the ride quality. There’s also an electronic limited slip differential (eLSD). Unfortunately our test wasn’t on a racetrack, but on the somewhat imperfect roads around Windsor, with the result that you’re constantly reminded about the firm suspension.
If you’re ever able to sample the EV6 GT’s performance legally, then you’ll certainly believe Kia’s claim of a 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds. Even with all-wheel drive and on completely dry roads, the power can exceed the grip levels.
The EV6 GT weighs 2,200 kg, which means that it’s more suited to roads with long flowing corners than tight bends requiring agility (the EV6 GT Line weighs 1,985 kg and the all-wheel drive EV6 GT Line S weighs 2,090 kg).
The EV6 GT’s physical drive mode button (rather than being via the touchscreen) gives the options of Normal, Sport and Eco, and there’s a separate green ‘GT’ button on the right-hand side of the steering wheel.
You can change the level of brake regeneration by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, which is the best way to do this.
Our test of the EV6 GT was a first drive of a prototype vehicle on predominantly urban roads so we look forward to expanding on our views in areas such as performance, handling and grip (and real-world range) during a longer test on a more varied mix of roads.
The Kia EV6 GT has a combined WLTP range of 263 miles. This compares to 300 miles for the GT Line S 77.4kWh AWD model, and 328 miles for the rear-wheel drive model. It wasn’t possible to test the EV6 GT’s real-world range on the relatively short first drive.
All EV6 models have 800V electrical architecture, which means that they can use a 350kW ultra-rapid charger to deliver a 10% to 80% charge in just 18 minutes. A rapid charge from 10% to 80% takes 1 hour 13 minutes using a 50kW charger. The battery pack can be replenished from 10% to 100% with a 7kW home charger in 7 hours 20 minutes.
The Kia EV6 has a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function can supply up to 3.6kW of power from the battery for domestic electrical items (via a 3-pin plug socket located under the front of the rear seats) or it can even charge another EV (via an adaptor that fits into the external charging socket).
Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Kia EV6 from Fastned:
The all-wheel drive Kia EV6 GT costs £62,645 (compared to £52,695 when we tested the GT Line S).
There are three other model grades available: ‘Air’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’. ‘Air’ models are available only with the rear-wheel drive powertrain; ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models offer the choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.
The ‘standard’ Kia EV6 is a brilliant car. The GT model shares virtually all of the good points of the other EV6 variants, but it adds more performance (which wasn’t really needed and mostly isn’t useable on UK roads). The GT variant also has firm ride quality, which may not be to everyone’s liking. It’s also significantly more expensive than the other EV6 models, yet you lose electric adjustment of the driver’s seat, as well as losing driving range.
So based on the above it sounds like the excellent GT Line S is the variant to go for. But that would be missing the point. In our view, Kia has shown more progress than any other manufacturer over the last 10 years, especially in the area of electric vehicles. The EV6 GT shows that the company can produce an EV that can compete with supercars on a track. And it is yet further evidence that other manufacturers should be worried about what else Kia could do – it may not be a performance car, but the imminent EV9 is an example of what looks to be a class-leading seven-seat electric SUV.
In the meantime, for taking the already excellent EV6 and adding supercar-worrying levels of performance, the Kia EV6 GT is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.