Kia cee'd 1.6 T-GDI

GT

Kia cee'd GT, front static low
Kia cee'd GT, front with lights
Kia cee'd GT, front static gate
Kia cee'd GT, front static
Kia cee'd GT, front static 2
Kia cee'd GT, front static 3
Kia cee'd GT, rear static
Kia cee'd GT, boot 2
Kia cee'd GT, boot 1
Kia cee'd GT, rear seats
Kia cee'd GT, front seats
Kia cee'd GT, dashboard
Kia cee'd GT, front seats 2
Kia cee'd GT, reversing camera

KIA is on a mission to inject sportiness into its line up of already well made, handsome and competitively priced family cars.

Most visible move towards a livelier showroom choice is the hiring of the man who made BMWs the sporting dream car for drivers who want an 'M' badge on their boot.

Albert Biermann was the man in engineering charge of BMW's M Automobiles and knows how to make a good car into a good fast car. Sometimes a very fast car indeed.

Now he's doing the same for Kia (and the Korean company's big brother owner Hyundai).

Goodness knows what it took to persuade Biermann to up sticks from Munich to move halfway round the world to Hyundai/Kia's research and development centre in Korea.

It won't be long before we can buy a car with his vision sitting beside us in the driving seat. Until then we have the choice of a couple of quick Kias developed before Biermann came on board.

Choose either the two-door pro-cee'd GT or for another £500 the five-door version which loses part of the title to become simply a cee'd GT.

Both feature a turbocharged 1.6 litre petrol engine with 201 horses on tap and it would be fascinating to hear what Kia's new sporting supremo thinks of them.

Biermann must have pounded a cee'd GT or two round the demanding test track at Namyang to set a baseline for future cars.

After trying out a GT I will cheekily make a couple of guesses at what went through the mind of the man who knows how a quick car should present itself.

Firstly, and if he could find a badly maintained stretch of test track, he might find the ride a bit on the brittle side. It's an easy temptation to make a softly sprung car deliberately hard in the search for sportiness but there are other, better ways.

The best quick cars - including BMWs - are more sophisticated in the suspension department and give their drivers a beguiling mix of both control and comfort.

Then, if he pushed a GT-badged button on the steering wheel, he would have heard the engine noise in the cabin instantly increase, before realising its not coming from the engine but from the speakers. He might prefer it left more natural.

He might then have settled back on the smoother sections, disengaged the fake noise generator and discovered a car that covers ground rapidly enough to entertain a keen driver, even if its power lags behind the hottest of hatches.

Biermann could have no complaints about the kit that comes as standard with the faster Kia, starting with a pair of superbly comfortable Recaro front seats in smart leather and suede and packing electronic lumbar adjustment as a final flourish.

Outside, the GT assumes a warmish hatch role with more rugged bumpers, side sill mouldings and dual exhausts along with 18ins alloy wheels and red brake calipers.

Back inside and there's a pervading blackness (from headlining to shiny trim) and a set of instruments that are as clear and precise as you could wish for, along with dual air conditioning, cruise control, excellent satellite navigation, reversing camera and heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

FAST FACTS

Kia cee'd 1.6 T-GDI GT

Price: £24,010

Mechanical:201 bhp, 1,591cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-spd gearbox

Max Speed: 143 mph

0-62mph: 7.3 secs

Combined MPG: 38.2

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 170g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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