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Kia Australia is hopeful of a late 2013 launch for the Kia pro_cee’d GT after formally requesting the car for import from Europe.

The 1.6-litre turbocharged three-door hot hatch will go into production at the Korean company’s East European plant in Slovakia in June, making an Australian launch a real possibility for the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Speaking with CarAdvice in Chicago ahead of the city’s auto show (which will see Kia unveil the new Cerato five-door), Kia Australia’s national public relations manager, Kevin Hepworth, said the pro_cee’d GT was a “high desirability car for Australia”, but one which is not confirmed for out market at this stage.

The main reason for the confirmation delay is the expected popularity of the pro_cee’d in Europe, which is its primary market. Nonetheless, Kia Australia remains hopeful of bringing the car to our shores before 2014.

If it were to go ahead, the Kia pro_cee’d GT would maintain its somewhat peculiar name and not be branded under the Cerato nameplate, which is expected to see its own coupe (Koup) version unveiled at next month’s New York auto show.

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine in the pro_cee’d GT (which is basically the same unit that powers the Hyundai Veloster Turbo), produces 152kW of power and 265Nm of torque. The front-wheel-drive powertrain will be available with a six-speed manual transmission only and accelerates from 0-100km/h in a claimed 7.9 seconds.

If for some reason (such as exceptionally high European demand) the pro_cee’d GT doesn’t get the green light for our market, Kia Australia is still hopeful of launching another turbocharged model this year, which may mean a Cerato variant.

“We do want to get a turbo engine in Australia. We have to break the ice somewhere, one of the cars has to get it, at this stage the eggs are in the pro_cee’d basket,” Hepworth said.

Given the turbocharged hatch is yet to get final approval, Kia Australia has been coy on it potential plans for a localisation program. However, since the cee’d platform is designed and engineered for European driving styles, it’s unlikely that the pro_cee’d GT will require as much suspension tuning as other Kia models that are more North America focused.

The sourcing of pro_cee’d GT from Slovakia may also lead to the potential for the Sportage SUV to be sourced from the same factory, given the available capacity and the unhealthy European economy.

Engine specifications
1.6-litre
Type / capacity – Gamma, Turbo-GDI, four-cylinder, DOHC CVVT 16-valve / 1591cc
Power / torque – 152kW @ 6000rpm / 265Nm @ 1750-4500rpm
Bore x stroke (mm) – 77.0 x 85.4
Compression ratio – 9.5:1

Transmissions: Six-speed manual

Suspension and damping
Front – Fully independent subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, with stiffer coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers, thicker anti-roll stabiliser bar.
Rear – Fully independent subframe-mounted multi-links, stiffer coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers.

Steering
Type – Motor-driven electric power steering
Wheel turns – 2.85 turns lock-to-lock; turning circle of 10.6 metres

Brakes
Front – 300 x 28mm ventilated discs
Rear – 262 x 10mm solid discs
Booster size – 10-inch

Wheels and tires
GT – 18.0 x 7.5-inch alloy 225/40R18

Dimensions (mm)
Overall length – 4310
Overall width – 1780 (excl. door mirrors)
Overall height – 1430
Wheelbase – 2650
Front track – 1545
Rear track – 1553
Front overhang – 900
Rear overhang – 760
Ground clearance – 140
Aerodynamic Cd – 0.33




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