Whereas Germany's premium carmakers are looking to expand their reach in smaller segments, Korea's Hyundai and Kia are actively flirting with the idea of enhancing their range with more premium and larger-size vehicles.
At this week's Chicago Auto Show, Kia pulled the covers off the new Cross GT concept, which it describes as "blurring the line" between GT sedan study and a luxury crossover vehicle. The reference to the rear-wheel drive GT sedan also has to do with the fact that the Cross GT is based on the same chassis.
The Koreans state that, while purely conceptual, the Cross GT reveals the brand's "intentions to potentially offer a larger premium SUV than the current Sorento in certain markets". Kia may not say it directly, but with this concept, it is aiming towards the likes of the BMW X5 and X6.
At 122.0 inches (3,099mm), the Cross GT’s wheelbase is longer than Sorento’s by 15.7 inches (399mm), and its overall length of 192.8 inches (4,897mm) is 8.4 inches (213mm) greater than Kia's CUV. Also, with a width of 79.1-inch (2,009mm), it's 4.9 inches (124mm) wider than Sorento, but its overall height of 65.3 inches (1659mm) is 1.6 inches (41mm) shorter for a more aggressive stance.
Penned at the Kia Design Center America (KDCA) in Irvine, California, the four-seater model sports dual rear-hinged doors (more commonly referred to as “suicide” doors) and a clam-shell design for the traditional glass hatch and tailgate.
For its motivation, the concept utilizes a parallel hybrid system linking a 3.8-liter V6 engine to an 8-speed automatic transmission and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive. The electric motor is positioned between the V6 and the transmission, offering an emissions-free driving range of 20 miles (32km). Combined, the V6 and the electric motor produce 400hp and 500 lb-ft of peak torque.
Commenting on the Cross GT, Kia's newly appointed president and global design chief, Peter Schreyer, said:
“The debut of the GT in 2011 heralded a new frontier for Kia, both from a design and a business perspective. It beautifully illustrated to the world that the brand was ready to explore the possibility of perhaps one day offering a full-size rear-wheel-drive luxury saloon. The Cross GT, with its raised stance and large cargo area, allows us to envision the GT in the form of a full-size luxury crossover.”