2023 Kia EV6 GT Line S AWD
We all love cars and driving for different reasons. While there’s much about electric cars that leaves me a little cold, I can’t help but feel somewhat excited about the next few years. We’re facing the dawn of a new era, with new technology and even new metrics to measure power and efficiency. Racking up some decent miles in Kia’s new EV6 helped me to put that final point into perspective.
It’s the South Korean company’s flagship electric car, and the first of many to be spun off the new bespoke electric-only E-GMP platform– also used by the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Starting at £40,945 for the ‘basic’ Air, rising to £48,445 for the top-spec four-wheel-drive GT-Line S, all come as standard with a 77.4kWh battery pack – good for a 328-mile range.
Impressive, but perhaps more important is that it also has 800V charging capability. This gives the EV6 a 10%-to-80% charging time of just 18 minutes in optimum conditions. That means a warm day, when using a 350kW charger. Starting from the Diamond Hangar at Stansted Airport, I set off in the 226bhp RWD single-motor-mid- level GT-Line.
Heading deep into East Anglia first involves some dual carriage way cruising, the perfect test. It’s comfortable and the ample (and instant) torque delivery make it quick enough to comfortably get up to speed. The refinement at motorway speeds is excellent, so important in a near-silent BEV. Using the paddles on the steering wheel to control the amount of regenerative braking might seem odd at first but it soon becomes second nature.
The EV6’s dynamic development programme was overseen by ex-BMW M and Hyundai N revolutionary Albert Biermann. The steering is light and direct, matching the surprisingly poised and relatively engaging chassis. What really stands out, however, is just how natural it all feels.
My return journey puts me behind the wheel of the 321bhp AWD dual-motor GT-Line S. It’s savagely quick off the line, and does a surprisingly good job of disguising its substantial 2105kg. If you want to go quickly, this is the EV6 to have (until the even faster GT arrives later this year). Larger (20in) wheels and revised chassis settings make it noticeably firmer, though no more fun – I found that the slightly better ride of the lighter Air and GT-Line models makes them a better balanced car. I can’t argue with the epic overtaking capability and impressive premium Meridian sound system of the S, though.
The last stop of the day is enlightening, and my first visit to an electric forecourt. Gridserve’s Braintree facility – the first of its kind in the world – is currently one of the few places in the UK that can feed this car’s impressive charging capability. Having depleted just over a quarter of the car’s range after 70-oddmiles of brisk driving, it strictly didn’t need topping up, but I did fancy a coffee break. After a quick sit-down, I headed back out to find that the car was fully charged.
With one of these in every town, range anxiety would be a thing of the past! We’re not there yet, but I’m slowly beginning to think that the future might not be all that bad, especially with a car like the EV6 on the driveway.
Above, left and below Kia’s take on a new electric-only platform offers refinement, briskness and super-quick charging – where available.