Kia is likely to build a performance variant of its pro_cee'd three-door hatch with the Korean company all but confirming that the project is already under way.
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Kia Europe’s vice president of marketing and product planning, Benny Auyen, made mention of a turbocharged pro_cee'd with around 200hp (150kW) during his opening speech for Kia at the Paris Motor Show yesterday.

The Kia pro_cee’d is arguably the most aggressively styled Kia to date. According to the company’s well-known head of design, Peter Schreyer, the pro_cee’d was designed to portray an almost completely different image to the conventional five-door cee’d and the cee’d sportwagon.

When asked if a performance version of the pro_cee’d was underway, Kia’s European head of powertrain development, Joachim Hahn, told CarAdvice that he agrees a performance version would suit the model.

“If you think the new pro_cee’d from its shape is ready for more performance, I can agree.” Hahn said.

Back at the Geneva motor show in March, Hahn confirmed to CarAdvice that a turbocharged Kia would be available (in Europe) within 12 months, which means the pro_cee’d turbo is likely to go on sale in the next six months.

The performance engine at the centre of all this is the 1.6-litre turbocharged GDI engine currently on offer locally in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. With 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque, the Korean made engine would suit the ~1250kg three-door model to complete the hot hatch package. This power-to-weight ratio would put it on par with the Veloster Turbo (which weighs 1265kg) in terms of outright performance. It also provides an insight as to potential pricing ($33-35,000).

Expanding on his vision for performance cars, Hahn also confirmed that work was underway on a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) that could take the additional torque provided by a turbocharged engine. In current configuration the Veloster turbo makes use of a standard six-speed automatic while the naturally aspirated automatic versions use a DCT.

“(we want) to have in the end a DCT which is able to transform 350Nm (of torque) which the current application is not able to.”

Although the engine is likely to be very similar to that found in the Veloster Turbo, Hahn confirmed that Kia engineers are able to modify the turbocharger, compressor and timing in order to have an influence on peak performance and low-end torque.

In case you’re wondering, the Kia pro_cee’d is ‘officially’ not on the cards for Australia at this moment, but given the branding opportunity that a performance hot hatch would bestow on Kia’s local operations, the possibility of the Slovakian made model heading to local showrooms is rather realistic.