Kia EV6 GT: An Incredible Car At A Great Price, But Is It Actually Worth It?

It's a year since Kia unexpectedly announced the EV6 GT and, in the process, overshadowed vehicles exponentially more expensive at Monterey Car Week 2022. The sports-car-baiting EV still offers a beguiling combination of affordability and 430 kW of power, turning what looks like a compact crossover into an electric rocket.

Far from the usual, sensible transportation that we're familiar with seeing from Kia, the 2023 EV6 GT promised an altogether wilder vision of electrification. It certainly looked the part, with a new GT body kit, 21-inch wheels, and splashes of neon green helping single it out amid other EV6 trims on the dealership lot.

The big question at the time was just what the downside was to Kia's performance excess. After all, you're not just paying manufacturer markup when you buy a sports car, and it takes more than straight-line speed to stand out in the segment. With experience behind the wheel of the EV6 GT, here's what you need to know if you're considering hitting the lime green go-faster button yourself.

Not only EV-fast, but just plain fast in general

There's no denying the uptick in power, here. Kia's previous flagship EV6, the GT-Line e-AWD trim, delivered 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque. These are, undoubtedly, very impressive figures: a Porsche 718 Cayman "only" arrives with 300 horses and 280 lb-ft, for instance, albeit with a third less weight to propel.

For the EV6 GT, though, Kia bumps that up to 576 horsepower and 545 lb-ft of torque. Sticking with our amusing Porsche comparison, that's 142 horses more than a Cayenne Turbo, and almost as much torque as a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Porsche's beefy SUV is about 900 pounds heavier than the smaller Kia, too.

As a result, zero to 60 mph arrives in just 3.4 seconds in the EV6 GT. Faster, Kia points out, than sports car luminaries like the Mercedes-AMG GT, the McLaren 570S, and the Ferrari California T.

The laws of physics are not the EV6 GT's friend

Obviously, once you hit the first corner, the Kia is going to struggle to keep up with those two-door sports cars. Such is life when you're a 4,795-pound electric crossover. There's only so much you can do to hold the laws of physics at bay. Though the EV6 GT's electric all-wheel drive system is capable at putting power to asphalt, the adaptive suspension firms up nicely in Sport and GT modes, and Kia fits summer tires as standard that have a bit more grip than the usual rubber, this is not a rewarding car to throw around twisty roads.

Instead, it's about slowing aggressively — the EV6 GT's extra regen in GT mode helps, here, and those lurid green brakes are potent — making the turn and then whipping back up to speed again afterward. Not unpleasant, but the point-and squirt approach isn't much fun for passengers.

Accommodation worth shouting about

Making your passengers queasy would be a shame because the EV6 GT's cabin is otherwise a mighty pleasant place to find yourself. The biggest changes, compared to the standard EV6, are the front seats. Out go the usual power-adjustable chairs, replaced with a pair of GT Sport bucket seats (they support heating still, but not the ventilated cooling of what you get as standard in the GT-Line).

Otherwise, the main stand-out is the neon green piping on the standard black suede upholstery. It's grippy and much nicer than the "vegan leather" Kia offers on its lesser EV6 variants. The sizable trunk is more than any of the EV6 GT's supposed sports car rivals can offer: 24.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up, rising to 50.2 cubic feet with them folded down.

Beyond that, Kia's dual 12.3-inch displays, wireless phone charging, and Highway Driving Assist 2 keep the EV6 GT feeling premium. The ongoing absence of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remains a head-scratcher, and some of the trim — particularly in the center console — can feel a little plasticky, but for the most part, you don't get the sense that you sacrifice creature comforts in order to reassign the budget to performance.

You don't always get maximum power

Getting 576 horsepower in a car that starts at $61,600 is pretty astonishing, though it's worth noting that the EV6 GT doesn't necessarily give you that headline number all the time. In fact, it's only unlocked when you're in GT mode, accessed with a dedicated, lime green button on the steering wheel. Normal and Sport modes are capped at 430 horsepower, while Eco mode tames the EV6 GT down to just 287 horsepower.

A power-cap isn't especially unusual in performance vehicles, but drive mode isn't the only criteria by which the Kia throttles its potency. Maximum horsepower, in GT mode, is only available when the battery is at 70% charge or higher, for example. Dip below that, and the EV6 GT will taper the horsepower available.

Battery status isn't the only criteria: temperature plays a role, too, as some EV6 GT owners have discovered. Drivers should probably pay attention to the fact that GT mode disables traction control, too, which could lead to trickiness on wet roads.

Hello range anxiety, my old friend

Bigger power numbers, bigger wheels, and a bigger curb weight all add up to a big hit on electric range. No performance car has ever been accused of frugality, but there's definitely something disconcerting about watching the EV6 GT's remaining range estimate drop in front of your eyes with each stab of the accelerator.

The irony here is that Kia (and Hyundai) has done more than most automakers to remove range anxiety from its EVs. The E-GMP architecture which underpins the EV6 GT (and the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Genesis GV60) is known for its decent battery life as well as being particularly speedy to charge. A rear-wheel drive EV6 Long Range, for example, is rated at up to 310 miles of driving by the EPA.

Certainly, in the power-limited Eco mode, you can probably coax a little extra from the EV6 GT. Going from the 252-mile range of the EV6 GT-Line AWD to the 206 miles of the EV6 GT feels like a significant compromise, however, and even that number seems ambitious given how thirsty the full-throated GT mode is.

You probably don't need the Kia EV6 GT

I like the Kia EV6 GT. I enjoy the fact that Kia has cocked a snook to both traditional performance cars and fast electric vehicles, with its combination of blistering speed and a (relatively) attainable price tag. It's great, too, that there are no real comfort compromises involved: an EV6 GT in Normal mode rides much like a standard EV6 does.

Problem is, that standard EV6 is already very compelling. So much so, in fact, it's difficult to say that anybody really needs what the GT version is bringing. Sure, there are bragging rights to be had, and yes, it's nice to know that you could win a zero to 60 showdown should you pull up next to a competitive Lamborghini Urus driver. Well, assuming you have a reasonably full battery, anyway. But it's not like a standard EV6 GT-Line is particularly slow.

The reality is, the concessions an EV6 GT demands won't, for most drivers, outweigh the car's abilities. That's no snub to Kia: if anything, it's a reflection of just how capable the regular EV6 is.