There is an exhilarating cohort of electric performance vehicles occupying today's roads, whether the Audi e-Tron GT and Porsche Taycan GTS or Lucid Air and Mercedes-AMG EQS. Although each offers conscious EV owners unique and outstanding technological experiences behind the wheel, this group also falls in the upper echelon of ownership costs. Well, Kia -- with 30 years of experience in the United States -- has just given us a potent alternative for far less than $100,000 that sets asphalt ablaze with the fierceness and force of quiet storms. Welcome to the evolutionary world of the all-electric, high-velocity 2023 Kia EV6 GT.
EV6 GT Overview and Positioning
The authenticity of the limited production 2023 Kia EV6 GT’s superlative DNA stems from the birthright of the original EV6 all-electric, 5-passenger sport crossover which lit up the “zero emissions” market with silent gallops. This is Kia's first vehicle to feature the Korean automaker's E-GMP architecture, specifically engineered for its platoon of e-powered rides. To evaluate the next-of-kin in the 576-horsepower EV6 GT, Kia invited select media to Nevada for test runs through the Valley of Fire State Park en route to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Along with a distinctive front fascia and rear diffuser, 21" Ninja-bladed alloy rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber, and neon-accented brakes (15” front rotors), Kia enhanced the titillating EV with 20 standard advanced assistance systems dubbed Kia Drive Wise Driver Assist Technology. Also, ultra-high-strength steel is employed aggressively for structural rigidity in a lighter package.
“The EV6 GT ushers in the next chapter of the Plan S electrification story for Kia, elevating the EV6’s thrilling performance and near effortless drivability beyond expectations,” said Steven Center, COO and Executive Vice President, Kia America. “With a base MSRP just over $61,000, Kia is not only introducing an EV performance car, it’s showcasing our most powerful production car in company history.”
Battery Platform and Performance Attributes
The speedway was the perfect setting for experiencing the explosive nature of the EV6 GT. There is nothing like the sizzling feeling of electric torque, especially when you have enough runaway to showcase acceleration of 0-to-60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Top speed is set at 161 mph. The crossover emphatically pins you to the seats when the accelerator is deployed. The sensation is simultaneously exciting, joyful, and thrilling. To emphasize the GT’s performance assets, the electrified dual motor e-AWD setup consists of a 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a 160kW front motor, and a 270kW rear motor for a total system output of 576-horsepower and 545 lb.-ft. of torque. However, the brakes weren't that impressive as I experienced brake fade before high-speed de-acceleration into corners.
Currently, the all-electric EV6 GT is the most powerful Kia production vehicle the company has ever built. New tech handling features includefaster ratio steering, an electronically controlled suspension, an Electronic Limited-Slip Differential, and“Drift Mode” that shifts torque bias towards the rear for greater drifting capabilities. According to Kia, independent testing performed by AMCI witnessed the EV6 GT out-run a 2021 Ferrari Roma and a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD. Impressive! However, with all this, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT only achieves 206 miles of EPA-rated range, which is a far cry from the 300 to 400 miles in the high-end vehicles I mentioned earlier. Yet, the base EV6 reaches 310 miles. Higher capacitive batteries cost more, so a sacrifice had to be made.
Sporty Cockpit and Interior Amenities
Open any of the crossover’s four doors to enter an interior punctuated by race-inspired, vegan suede, and deeply bolstered bucket seats that kept me in place during aggressive maneuvers. The EV6 GT is further blessed with ambient lighting, neon green accents, a customizable Drive Mode button on the left of the steering wheel, GT Mode, and the previously mentioned Drift Mode. The neon GT tab sits on the right bottom portion of the flat-bottom steering wheel. It compiles the performance settings from the dual motors, braking, steering, suspension, e-LSD, and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to offer the most dynamic version of the EV6 GT. Of course I tapped into this mode at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for competitive thrills. The left paddle shifter on the steering wheel features braking regeneration and acts like "one pedal driving" for accelerating and slowing down.
The bright neon theme resonates from Kia’s “Opposites United” design philosophy which commingles aspirations of Mother Nature’s endless contrasts. Technology aspects of the interior begin with the nucleus, a set of 12.3” dual panoramic displays with Navigation and Kia Connect. They sit atop and spread across the dash. An augmented reality Head-up Display is at your disposal, as is the fantastic Meridian premium audio system. The gear shifter is a rotary dial which is not my preference but presumably works for this vehicle. Lastly, Kia installed an Innovative Onboard Power Generator for external devices, gadgets, or tools such as a portable electric grille for tailgating.
EV Charging Infrastructure
There are three levels of charging to consider to keep your EV6 GT ready for action. Level 1 is the slowest at 3 to 5 miles of energy recuperation per hour and utilizes your home’s 110v outlets. Level 2 is the most convenient since charging will mostly take place in your house at 15 to 30 miles an hour from a 240v in-home unit like the $749 ChargePoint Home Flex. Of course, public 240v charging stations are omnipresent from hotels to dealerships. Remember that you can forego a home installation if there is a 220v outlet (typically for dryers and wash machines) in your garage. Level 3, aka DC Fast Chargers, are mostly installed at public retail locations when you need a quick buzz and are available from 25 kWh to 350 kW for passenger EVs. For example, a 350 kW Electrify America DC fast-charger will juice an EV6 GT and its 800V multi-charging architecture from 10% to 80% in approximately 18 minutes.
More importantly, first-time owners of this Kia EV will receive 1,000 (kWh) of complimentary charging, the equivalent of about 3,500 to 4,000 miles of electric driving. The Electrify America mobile app will be your tool of choice to locate stations, check the status of chargers, or facilitate charging and payments. "The Kia EV6 GT is made for performance, and our ongoing collaboration with Electrify America will help ensure these vehicles can do just that," said Center. "As Kia continues its shift to electrification, the EV6 GT takes that next step by providing a superior electric driving experience."
Pricing and Conclusion
The $48,500 base Kia EV6 Wind RWD (310-mile range) has already received peerless support from the green community for its organic substance, defining characteristics, and affordability. The RWD GT-Line model starts at $52,700. Lastly, the $61,400 EV6 GT (excludes the $1,295 destination fee) with AWD elevates that stature to a higher degree of sporty styling, hyper-acceleration, and dynamic maneuverability. Are you ready for "movement that inspires” from Kia's electric performance perspective? We certainly are!