The new Kia Ceed GT has been unveiled ahead of its public debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, with the Korean automaker describing it as a “performance hatch” rather than a full-blown hot hatch.

Power comes from an updated version of the automaker’s 1,6-litre T-GDi petrol engine. In this application, the turbocharged four-pot produces 150 kW at a 6 000 r/min and 265 N.m from 1 500 through to 4 500 r/min. While it is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will also be offered.

The Ceed GT features an electronic sound generator that Kia says delivers a “characterful GT engine note” into the cabin. A sportier exhaust note has also been realised thanks to the adoption of exhaust flaps. Kia says acceleration statistics and emissions data will be released closer to the 2019 on-sale date.

In terms of styling, the Ceed GT sets itself apart from derivatives lower in the range by way of a new front bumper design, incorporating larger air intakes and gloss black trim along the base. The grille, meanwhile, gains a dark chrome surround and a “GT” logo, with the honeycomb pattern featuring red highlights.

Chunkier side sills are also included, along with 18-inch alloy wheels and red brake callipers. At 135 mm, the ride height is reduced by some 5 mm over other Ceed variants. A model-specific bumper at the rear complements that at the front, and houses a gloss-black rear diffuser plus more “GT” badging. A small roof spoiler is also included.

Inside, you’ll find a black roofliner, a D-shaped steering wheel (again, bearing the GT logo) and aluminium pedals. Sports seats are also included, trimmed in black leather and suede, and finished with red stitching.

The suspension system gains stiffer springs as well as softer anti-roll bars. In addition, the electronic stability control system has been “carefully retuned to offer keener drivers more freedom to exploit the increased agility” of the new model. The standard model’s 288 mm ventilated front disc brakes, meanwhile, have been replaced with 320 mm discs.

Will it come to South Africa? Well, when the standard Ceed was revealed back in February 2018, Kia Motors SA told us that it had plans to add the hatch to its local line-up. Whether that is still the case, and whether the Ceed GT would form part of those plans, remains to be seen (although, interestingly, the international media material states that the Ceed GT will be “sold exclusively in Europe”).