• February 4, 2023

Touring With The All-New Kia K5 Gt 2.5t [Review]

Courtesy of Kia

With the high-performance variant of the new K5 sedan, Kia is targeting luxury sports sedans such as the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4.

Stinson Carter

DESIGN AND STYLING

Kia has some of the world’s finest automotive designers working in creative and leadership roles – including those with Audi, BMW, Lamborghini, and Bentley – and you feel the talent of that deep bank when you first look at the silhouette of the K5.

There is definitely a little Audi DNA in the form of the K5 tail that resembles a smaller Audi A7. I was surprised when my neighbor, who owns a new loaded Audi A4, passed out over the K5. And I was even more surprised when I went to visit a relative who buys a new six-figure sports car every six months, and I found him alone in his driveway and admired him.

The K5 is a pretty car in any trim level, but the GT’s visual improvements, which include 19-inch wheels with Pirelli tires, a more menacing GT front grille, rear spoiler, and dual four-tip exhaust systems, give the GT an aggressive character by itself before you even start the engine.

Stinson Carter

INNER

Kia straightened the cab around the driver and aimed the screen and buttons on the driver’s seat like you would see in a sports car. It definitely feels sportier not to sit at a 90-degree angle to the controls on your dashboard, but the passengers feel a little outward-facing too. A small side effect of realigning the cockpit to the driver in the K5 is, for example, that there is a small angled barrier on the passenger side of the center console into which the passenger’s left knee protrudes. This is minor, but simply removing that aesthetic design detail would allow the passenger – at least one on the larger side – a more comfortable ride. Overall, form and function match the K5 well, so this little mismatch between the two caught my eye.

Courtesy of Kia

The designers have taken great care to ensure that the surfaces that the driver touches have the feeling of luxury. like the leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel and leather-wrapped gear lever, as well as the metal buttons and switches for climate control and the heated and ventilated seats. As I looked down at the steering wheel, I couldn’t help but wish it would have Kia’s new badge on. The new Kia logo will be a notable visual enhancement when it makes its way onto the production line.

Taken on a nine-hour round trip with a family of four, the K5 felt spacious and comfortable inside. The panoramic sunroof is relatively massive, as is the trunk, which was so unexpectedly large it felt like they somehow managed to hide the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car in the back.

Stinson Carter

EXPERIENCE AT THE WHEEL

Kia claims the GT is 0.28 seconds faster than the 2020 BMW 330i from zero to sixty, with a faster top speed of a quarter mile and better cornering handling than the BMW. This is an impressive comparison, although in a real-world scenario I doubt anyone would drive both cars side by side and feel that the K5 has a significant performance advantage over a 3 Series. The fact that KIA ran this direct road test makes it clear what audience they are aiming for with the GT. And the fact that the K5 does so well leaves no doubt that Kia is gaining a foothold on old luxury performance brands.

Start it up and the 290-hp in-line four has a low, throaty growl that I wasn’t expecting. Almost Italian in its intonation. Take the K5 onto a highway at 311 lb-ft of torque and you’ll find yourself driving through traffic with remarkable agility – which the Pirelli tires make even better. When driving in the city, you will notice the moment you drive away from a traffic light that the K5 is delivering its torque early at 1650 rpm. However, in Sport + mode, where traction control is disabled, the wheel can start spinning at a much slower speed than expected. That’s why I usually kept the K5 for city driving in regular sport. (Not that I didn’t like the freaking out.)

The fuel consumption of the K5 is excellent. I love driving press fleet vehicles to use more adrenaline than gasoline, but I still found it difficult to dent the GT’s 15.8-gallon tank. On nearly five hundred miles of freeway travel, the K5 GT didn’t ask much and gave everything I asked of it.

Stinson Carter

FINAL THOUGHTS

At a base price of almost $ 11,000 less than the base 3 Series BMW and around $ 8,500 less than the base Audi A4, the K5 GT delivers on its promise of high performance at a practical price. But I would dare that the success of the K5 depends on whether buying a sports sedan is in and of itself a practical purchase or a status purchase.

While I don’t necessarily think the K5 GT will lure loyal 3 Series or A4 enthusiasts away from BMW and Audi, I do think it will attract new and younger buyers who have grown up in this era of micro-brands and care about more about functions and value as brand loyalty. These are the same people who bought boots from a Kickstarter brand they had never heard of for the tannery that made the leather. Or, buy a watch from Etsy for the automatic movement inside instead of the name of the dial. For an automaker with a reputation for delivering too much substance and undercutting the price, Kia’s K5 GT is another reason – like the Telluride, Sorento and Stinger before – why time is on their side.

Stinson Carter

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