When was the last time something really blew your mind? Was it when you randomly learned that there is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America with water one foot deep? Perhaps it was during a routine grocery shop, and you looked down in disbelief at the prices of things that used to be cheap, like boring boneless, skinless chicken breasts? While the former is deeply interesting and the latter merely disappointing, concepts such as these can have a profound impact and creep up in your thoughts from time to time.
We had a similar experience recently while sat behind the wheel of the 2023 Kia EV 6 GT where we found ourselves awestruck over the price tag. At nearly $80,000, this is the most expensive Kia model of all time. Mulling this over, we weren’t prepared for the next mental jarring that occurred when we selected GT Mode on the steering wheel and squeezed the throttle to the floor. The GT rocketed forward with the lung compressing acceleration more in line with what you’d get with a supercar. One hundred kilometers per hour arrives in a few blinks after 3 seconds, and keep it pinned and you’ll cover the ¼ mile in 11.6 seconds; sustain pressure on the go-pedal and you’ll top out at 260 km/h. These heady numbers are better than what a Porsche Taycan 4S can manage- only the Kia’s all-in price is nearly $50,000 less than the Taycan’s starting price. Indeed, these facts do carry a healthy degree of shock value. But then we considered that we were driving the EV6 GT with its 576 horsepower and 545 pounds feet of torque making it the most powerful Kia ever made, everything began to make sense. Despite that, no matter how many times you do it, stomping the throttle unleashes an experience so visceral you might even take a glance at the badges front and rear to make sure it says “Kia EV6” and not “Audi R8” which, incidentally, would tie the GT in a drag race. Yup, the Kia EV6 GT is definitely not messing around.
Straight line speed is not the only trick up the sleeve of the EV6 GT. When the road bends left and right, the car comes alive, almost unexpectedly so for an electric vehicle. This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, because when you let engineering genius Albert Biermann run amok great things happen. His fingerprints are on some very compelling cars like the Hyundai Elantra N and Kia’s own Stinger and his expertise at tuning a chassis is on full display in the GT the way it is in those two cars. The EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 share the same platform, but the Kia is clearly the one with sporting bent of the two. It matters not if you’re negotiating your favourite onramp or a lightly travelled back road, the EV6 GT is an unmitigated hoot to drive.
Don’t believe us? If we haven’t convinced you yet of the EV6’s impressive athleticism and penchant for fun, please note that Kia has seen fit to include a secret Drift Mode. There’s a multistep process needed to access it- this is done on purpose so unsuspecting drivers wouldn’t inadvertently turn it on, leading to unintended lurid oversteer departing the school parking lot- and the system works just like any others we’ve seen meaning smoky drifts and wild slip angles are yours for the taking. An electronic Limited Slip Differential provides a good amount of assistance in giving said drifts an element of finesse, making merely good drivers appear great. Other than generating goofy ear-to-ear grins, the inclusion of Drift Mode makes a statement that indeed, the Kia EV6 GT is definitely not messing around.
During our time with most powerful Kia ever, we found ourselves in the thick of a winter storm that dropped a huge amount of snow and followed that up with a smattering of ice pellets. Most motorists wouldn’t dare head out in those gnarly conditions, but we aren’t most motorists. In the peak of the storm, we reached for the keys and headed to see how the EV6 GT would fare in crappy weather. We knew that with precise metering of power to all four wheels and a great set of winter tires would make for a capable car- what we weren’t prepared for was just how dang fun the thing was. It slides around with the predictability of the tides and can be balanced on the head of a pin with the throttle, so precise is the experience. We felt delightfully smug as we effortlessly negotiated the deteriorating conditions while our fellow motorists looked on longingly, feebly spinning their wheels. One of our buddies, a fellow petrol head (and a talented auto scribe to boot) who calls Northern Ontario home drove the EV6 GT Line (basically identical to our tester but without the monstrous power) last winter and was amazed at how much of a blast he had flogging it on slow blanketed roads. Up there, winter storms are more vicious than what we urban dwellers are used to and that allowed him to play around with the Kia, putting his winter driver expertise to work. If he liked the GT Line, he is going to flat out love the full-fat GT.
More evidence exits that Kia is not messing about with the EV6 GT is notable when you climb aboard. The interior gives off an all business austere vibe and gives off, we kid you not, a Porsche vibe. The seats are aggressively bolstered, there’s minimal stuff and flourishes that would only distract from the task of driving and an acid green “GT” button on the steering wheel that unlocks the full might of the prodigious power. The cockpit doesn’t feel particularly luxurious but exudes a purposeful atmosphere and is clearly assembled with care. We loved how toasty the seats and steering wheel get and the ease of using the infotainment system. Top marks also go towards the excellent Meridian sound system which left us pleasantly surprised by its excellence.
There’s very few talking points when discussing the missteps that go along with piloting an EV6 GT. Although we got used to it, we didn’t much care for the steering wheel’s lack of adjustability throughout its tilt function. It never got low enough for our liking, mostly because Kia probably realized that it would completely block out the crisply rendered digital instrument panel. That steering wheel’s connection to the front contact patches is an abstract one at best seeing how it offers pretty much zero feel. Having said that, it is precise and acts as your friend when hanging the tail out in a deserted, snowy parking lot. The only bit that left us scratching our heads was the lack of power adjustments for the front bucket sport seats. We were able to find an ideal position, but leaving power seats off the menu in a car that costs nearly $80K seemed a bit odd. What seems downright weird is that there is no wiper for the rear hatch- you can imagine how frustrating that would be in the depths of a winter storm, more so when you activate the defogger which eats into your range unfavourably.
Marvelling at how far Kia has come as a brand in such a short period of time is past the point of being tired so we’re not going there- they have proven many times over that they are capable of building great cars with equally great value, and even manage to churn out some very cool stuff like the Stinger and the ‘Maybach Minivan’ in the Carnival. With the EV6 GT, they have broken new ground by showing the car buying public that they can build a world class EV that is not only scorching fast but also has the moves of a sports car. As far as we’re concerned, Kia is the only company other than Porsche which has been able to do this with any degree of success. It may be the most expensive car to come out of the brand in history, but we think it is very much worth the price of admission. Take our advice- quit messing around and buy one.
2023 Kia EV6 GT- Specifications
- Price as tested: $76,845
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger Hatchback
- Powertrain Layout: Front and Rear Electric Motors/All-Wheel Drive
- Battery Capacity/Type: 77.4-kWh liquid cooled lithium-ion
- Total Horsepower: 575 @ 0 rpm
- Total Torque (lb-ft.): 545 @ 0 rpm
- Transmission: 1-speed direct drive
- Curb weight: 2,164 kg (4,772 lbs)
- Observed Energy Economy: 28 kWh/100km