• Korean brand wants to boost its image through a new line of ‘sporty’ cars
• High performance version of the pro_cee’d to debut next year
• Possible rear-wheel drive coupe

Kia wants to boost its image with a new range of sporty machinery, starting with a high-performance version of its three-door pro_cee’d hatch. The Korean brand is also looking at introducing a rear-drive coupe to lay further claim to a ‘sporty’ image.

The hot pro_cee’d is expected to be powered by a 200bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This will be mated to a choice of either a six-speed manual ‘box or a six-speed dual-clutch unit and will go into production mid-way through 2013.

A rear-wheel drive coupe, based on the GT concept unveiled at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, is also said to be seriously considered, according to Kia’s vice-chairman Hyoung-Keun Lee: “In my opinion a sports car should be rear-wheel drive. We have tried a couple of concept cars and found some potential in the GT. We will try a couple more in the future, starting at Geneva next year, and test the media and consumer response before choosing one.”

This is not Kia’s first attempt at making a sports car, however. In 1997, it acquired the rights to the second-incarnation Lotus Elan and produced a small number of them, using their own engine in place of the original Isuzu unit.

By James Richardson

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