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Like it or not Consumer Reports is an extremely influential publication. Buyers pay close attention to the products they recommend, especially when it comes to cars. If a particular vehicle fails to earn the outlet’s accolades you can bet people will shy away. Surprisingly two Japanese luxury sedans failed to make the grade.
It began as an idea back in 2010 when Peter Scheyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer and European Styling Chief Gregory Guillame, looked to building a concept in the spirit of the great European luxury Gran Turismos from the 1960s and early ’70s.
“This concept allows us to explore exciting new design directions, as using a rear-drive layout creates very different proportions compared to a front-wheel drive car,” said Schreyer, who also added that the classic, front engined, rear-drive sports sedan has unique appeal, not for just a Korean audience, but Europeans and Americans as well.
A key directive during the concept’s development was that the car be unmistakable for anything but a classic, front engined, rear-drive GT. Aeronautical themes are also popular as was the use of copper on components such as the brake discs and greenhouse trim; in the latter’s case running all the way from the front A-pillars to the edge of the back light.
Inside, a spacious cabin sports several ‘floating’ features including the seats, which incorporate a ‘buffed’ leather surface to aid driver and passenger comfort, while a trio of LED layers for the instrument panel results in a 3 D effect, that helps free up the center console from the usual secondary control clutter.
Powered by a 395 horsepower 3.3-liter Lambda direct-injection gas engine coupled with an eight speed automatic, Schreyer believes that as well as being a serious performance piece, the GT concept is less about design specifics and more about a general feeling of stance, proportion and balance – elements that will influence and guide his design team’s approach to their next project.
“One of the great things about working on this project was that this is a very real car,” he said. “It felt good to be working on a car that could roll down the road tomorrow. It would be a dream to put this into production – not only does it have a logical layout, with four seats, and good luggage space; it’s also engaging and dynamic and makes a strong statement. It’s exactly the kind of car Kia should be making.”
GALLERY: Kia GT Concept
Watch video of the Kia GT Concept from its Frankfurt reveal after the jump:
BMW has announced that it will be ending production of the E90 3-Series sedan this October, as the company gears up for the next generation of its volume seller.
Internally coded the F30, the 2012 3-Series is expected to be built off a modular platform, though will keep much the same dimensions as the outgoing model. Styling is said to be more toned and ‘muscular’ adopting many of the cues seen on BMW‘s more recent offerings, including the current 5-Series (F-10).
In an effort towards increasing efficiency, the 2012 3-Series will employ such technologies such as aerodynamically tuned wheels, a solar roof panel, a stop/start engine feature and re-generative braking.
Powertrain options are said to include a range of four and six-cylinder engines, both normally aspirated and turbocharged, as well as the possibility (however unlikely) of a three-cylinder engine for the first time. Look for the entry level 328i model to toss its straight-six in favor of a newturbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 245-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
A new M3 model will also make it’s debut, powered by a twin-turbo inline six, slated to make as much as 450 horsepower. Watch this space for further developments.
[Source: BMW Blog]
Amid all the disappointment surrounding the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, and the step back it has taken in quality and driving dynamics, Volkswagen wants to show enthusiasts that it hasn’t forgotten them, and is augmenting both the GTI hatchback and the rest of the Jetta lineup with the GLI, a 4-door Jetta that retains features like a punchy turbocharged engine and an independent rear suspension.
The GLI gets its first showing at the Chicago Auto Show‘s media day, but we’ve got some advance information on the car, mere hours before things kick off. The familiar 2.0T 4-cylinder engine makes an appearance, alongside a 6-speed manual and 6-speed dual clutch gearbox, along with the typical aesthetic accouterments that adorn both three-letter sport compacts. The biggest change is the independent rear suspension, which takes the place of the cheaper (and many say inferior) torsion-beam design that’s used in the standard car. A soft-touch plastic dashboard (as opposed to the hard plastic in the standard car), 18″ wheels, sport seats and tinted tail lights are said to be available, for a price of around $24,000. Stay tuned for live shots as the show officially gets underway tomorrow.
[Photo Credit: Fifteen52]