Kia has unveiled its first ever two-door coupe model at the New York International Auto Show, a car that will go on sale in Australia later this year, and headlines the brand’s bold new design direction.
Imaginatively named the Kia Forte Koup, to be called simply Koup in Australia it is heavily based on the recently released Cerato, and draws its design inspiration heavily from the initial concept on which it was based, maintaining the same surprisingly aggressive stance with swept-back wrap-around headlamps, aggressive air intakes and a low, sleek profile.
In the US at least, the Forte Koup range will feature two trim levels beginning with the EX, which boasts a 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine producing 116kW and 195Nm, coupled with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic transmission.
The flagship SX version features an upgraded 2.4-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 129kW and 228Nm, mated to either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic.
Built on a front-wheel-drive monocoque chassis, Kia has made considerable revisions to the Forte, the US name for the Cerato, platform to improve dynamics to produce a higher torsional stiffness, with specially tuned suspension developed to optimise handling.
Standard creature comforts include sports seats, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls for added convenience and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with iPod connectivity.
The SX trim also adds unique sport cloth seats with red stitching, rake and reach adjustable steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, metal pedals and metal finish trim and a gauge cluster with trip computer.
The Forte Koup also boasts considerable safety equipment including dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
With its new coupe, Kia continues the step towards revolutionise the brand in much the same way Hyundai did with the Tiburon, which later led to serious performance contenders such as the Genesis Coupe.