- Kia enters the performance electric crossover segment with its EV6 GT, lining up against competitors like the Porsche Taycan and BMW i4 M50.
- With 576 hp driving all four wheels, the EV6 GT gets to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.
- It’s in showrooms now in all 50 states, starting at $62,695.
At first, one might think the EV6 GT is overhyped, especially when Kia showed a video of one of those multi-car drag races where this all-electric crossover beat various established two-seater supercars across an arbitrary finish line. All electric cars over a certain price and power point can beat various supercars in a staged drag race. That’s the benefit of an electric motor—or motors—getting all their torque at 1 rpm.
If you look at the spec sheets of all the competitors, the Kia EV6 GT actually competes and sometimes beats the current crop of high-power crossovers from established carmakers that are also entering the electric vehicle space, most notably the Porsche Taycan GTS and BMW i4 M50.
Available in dealerships across the country right now, the Kia EV6 GT offers a whopping 576 hp and 545 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than the BMW i4 M50 (536 hp) and close to the Porsche Taycan GTS (590 hp). Kia’s EV6 GT is within tenths of a second of those competitors in 0-60 mph testing. Quoting each manufacturer’s own specs, the Kia hits the mark in 3.4 seconds, the Taycan in 3.5, and the i4 M50 in 3.7. Once you try testing them yourself, with various rollouts and correction factors, published figures are all within a tenth or two of each other.
I myself got to take an EV6 GT down the NHRA drag strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and got a quarter-mile time of 11.477 seconds at 118.48 mph, with a reaction time of .346. All this in a commodious crossover that seats five adults and carries all their luggage for a sticker price of $62,695. That’s less than half the Taycan GTS’ sticker of $136,000 and well under the BMW’s $68,295. The Tesla Model X, meanwhile, offers up to 1020 hp, a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds and a range of 333 miles for a sticker price that tops $140,000. And let’s not forget the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, which gets to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds for right around 70 grand.
The upshot is, you have to take the EV6 GT seriously as a real competitor in this emerging performance electric crossover segment. Sure, you can juggle the specs around to make a case for almost any of the entries here, but the Kia always comes back as competitive.
The GT is the top of Kia’s EV6 model line. That line starts with the EV6 Wind, available as a 225-hp RWD or 320-hp AWD setup, moves up to the GT-Line model with the same power, and progresses thence to the mighty and powerful GT you see here, Kia’s most powerful car ever. The heart of the GT’s performance lies in its two AC synchronous permanent magnet motors—215 hp in the front and 362 hp out back.
All EV6 powertrains feed from a 77.4-kWh battery, a fairly small system compared to the i4 M50’s 81-kWh, the Taycan’s 93.4-kWh, and the Tesla’s 100-kWh battery packs. As a result, range of the Kia EV6 GT is a less-competitive 206 miles, but how often do you drive more than 206 miles? When you buy your EV6 GT you also get 1000 kWh of free charging from Electrify America stations and three years to use them all up. Life’s full of compromises.
The EV6 GT operates on an 800-volt system, and you can fast charge at up to 350 kW. That’ll top off your battery in as little as 18 minutes, according to Kia. The fast charging rate is a big plus for Kia.
A day’s drive in the desert outside Las Vegas proved the EV6 GT is a comfortable cruiser in what would be everyday use. The racing bucket seats are comfortable in non-racing environments, and all the human-machine interfaces work without hassle. Top speed is listed at 161 mph, but we didn’t try that out. There are 20 standard driver-assistance systems to help keep you safe. The active cruise control works well, and even though you’re supposed to keep your hands on the wheel you could get away with letting the system drive you around for a couple minutes without intervention. Wheee!
At the race track the car is also impressive. We got several laps around the road course outside the LVMS oval. Like all electric cars, it wasn’t as absorbing an experience as a similar gasoline-powered car with a manual transmission, but we’re adapting to an electric future. For instance, I got to take a Taycan around the road course at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson, California, and that car felt more lively and sporty than the Kia.
Likewise, having driven the BMW i4 M50 over Alpine passes in Europe, I’d say that vehicle outhandles the Kia, too. But remember, the Porsche costs twice as much and the Bimmer five grand more. If I could have changed something about the setup of the EV6 GT I’d have made the steering and throttle inputs less immediate and more linear. I found myself having to slow down my inputs for more effective driving, both on the road course and in the drift area.
Yes, the drift area. The EV6 GT has a drift mode, which disables all traction control and sends all power and torque to the rear motor. Again, I’d have liked a more gradual accelerator pedal feel, but that just might be my own lame driving. Any good driver can adjust his or her style to match the equipment.
At the drag strip the EV6 GT is, indeed, thrilling. Kia had set up the NHRA Christmas Tree and let us launch as much as we wanted. I found myself laughing at the speed, hitting 11.477 and 11.478 in two consecutive runs, both at a little over 118 mph. Those are impressive numbers, but the Tesla is much quicker.
Where does the Kia EV6 GT stack up against the competition? The EV6 will feel similar to most competitors over the course of your lease deal or ownership lifespan. What separates it is one of the best warranties in the business: 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, not to mention the federally mandated 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.
If you’re looking at a five-seat crossover with performance to thrill, you have to at least drive the Kia, and check out others, too. It’s a great time to buy electric.
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