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2019 Kia Cerato GT set for January launch with turbo power

By Ryan Lewis, 02 Oct 2018 Paris Motor Show

2019 Kia Cerato GT set for January launch with turbo power

Warmed-up hatch and sedan on the way Down Under

KIA’S long-awaited Cerato GT is winging its way to Oz in time for a January 2019 launch, where the warm hatch and its sedan twin will go up against the Mazda 3 SP25 and Hyundai i30 SR.

Full details are still to be confirmed, but it’s understood the Korean-built Cerato GT will share a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with the Ceed GT shown in Paris today, producing 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm from 1500 to 4500rpm.

Read next: Kia Cerato GT to benefit from i30 N program

Those are identical outputs to the three-door, manual-only ProCeed GT sourced from Europe and sold in Oz for a short period ending in late 2015. However there are crucial differences elsewhere to make the Cerato GT more appealing to a broader range of buyers this time around, not least of which is a five-door configuration, as shown by the Korean-market Kia K3 in these pictures.

The K3 is our first proper indication as to what the Cerato hatch arriving in November will look like. In GT form its distinctive design features are subtle, and the whole package less overtly sporty than its Ceed GT cousin from Europe. Over there, the Ceed GT is available with a choice of gearboxes, but the Korean market K3 GT is auto-only.

“That’s not certain [for Oz],” said Kia Australia communications manager Kevin Hepworth. “We’ve signed off on the engine, but we still haven’t signed off on the gears yet. I suspect there’ll be a six [speed] manual, and a DCT; most likely two gearboxes.”

Read next: 2018 Kia Cerato Sedan Range Review

Independent rear suspension has been confirmed, and it is understood former BMW M boss and current chief at Hyundai N, Albert Biermann, played a part in the development of the Cerato GT. The car will be further refined for Aussie roads by local engineers.

“[Cerato GT] will get the full Australian ride and handling treatment,” said Hepworth, confirming a continuation of the brand’s local suspension program for Cerato GT. “Biermann’s got input on every car. And then we input again.”

Kia’s GT models will be the most performance-focused variants across its line-up, with no dedicated sub-brand like Hyundai N on the cards for Kia.

Hepworth doesn’t believe it’s cost effective for Kia to go down that path, though the development of the i30 N has added flexibility to the local tuning of the Cerato GT.

Expect more info in November when the regular Kia Cerato hatch arrives, followed by a proper launch for the Cerato GT in Janurary 2019.