Mention the words “sports sedan” and most would immediately think “BMW.” The BMW 3 Series has enjoyed widespread acclaim as the go-to pick for sports sedan drivers, though it appears Korean powerhouse Kia wants a slice of that pie as well.
According to a recent Reuters report, Kia has laid plans to launch its first sports sedan—codename “CK”—in time for a May 2017 arrival. An alternative to the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4s of the world, the new Kia sports sedan is suggested to wield 2.0, 2.2, and 3.0-liter engines and target production of about 60,000 vehicles per year initially. Things just got very interesting.
Over the past year there’s been subtle suggestion that a sportier Kia four-door would soon be on its way, as evidenced by the much lauded Kia Novo concept, which debuted at the 2015 Seoul Auto Show. But this report marks the first substantial news that the car will come to fruition.
Denoted to be Kia’s second rear-wheel drive car, next to the brand’s flagship K900 sedan, the report crucially notes the car will be slightly smaller than parent company Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe, further aligning its BMW 3 series ambitions. Production of the sports sedan is believed to be scheduled for a plant outside of Seoul, Korea, once Kia Rio production is offloaded in Mexico.
The move signals a shift in Kia’s image as the company looks to shed some of its economy car eminence for higher levels of sportiness and luxury, though changing public perceptions isn’t always as easy. The “CK” could also receive some pushback from within the Hyundai corporate structure as well, as the recently spun-off Genesis brand is expected to include a sportier model (or models) to complement the new G90 flagship and future G80 sedans. That said, platform sharing could make the “CK” and any Hyundai sister-products much more cost-effective to build. As of yet, Kia hasn’t officially commented on the reported sports sedan.
Pictured: 2015 Kia Novo Concept