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The Kia pro_cee’d GT will become the Korean brand’s first hot-hatch when it launches onto the world stage in the second half of 2013.

Powered by a 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine – the same as the one that produces 150kW/265Nm in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo – and mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the Kia pro_cee’d GT is set to be a genuine hot-hatch competitor that Kia says aligns perfectly with the brand’s “fun to drive” philosophy.

While details remain light at this stage, the hotted up GT – which is based on the Kia pro_cee’d seen at the 2012 Paris motor show earlier this year – should be a vast improvement performance-wise over the non-turbo 1.6-litre pro_cee’d (pictured below), which can only muster a 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds in its fastest guise.

Kia pro_cee'd

Unfortunately, while due to go on sale towards mid-2013 in other markets, its potential for the local market is less certain.

After the pro_cee’d was unveiled at Paris, Kia Australia’s head of public relations, Kevin Hepworth, told CarAdvice the car was still under assessment for our market.

“The cee’d has always been a model of interest to Kia Australia, but to date there have been some well documented hurdles to bringing the car to Australia. There has been a continuous process of assessment and that is continuing in light of the global financial situation and availability of models of interest.”