2021 Kia K5 GT first test review: Front-wheel-drive burnout machine

“Power is nothing without control.” This is not a quote from a notable historical figure or philosopher; It is part of Pirelli’s marketing message, with the slogan affixed on billboards during Formula 1 races. Thing is well taken, but Kia apparently didn’t get the memo while it was working on the 2021 Kia K5 GT.

Interestingly enough, the Korean manufacturer ships the 2021 Kia K5 GT on Pirelli P Zero all-season tyres, and not outright performance rubber. And those tires stick out like pimples on a teen’s face—you just want to pop them. However, an excellent and darn Quik family sedan sits on top of those four chunks of rubber.

Did someone say power?

Earlier this year we tested the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line, the huge grunt of the 2021 Kia K5 GT comes courtesy of a 2.5-liter turbocharged I-4 that puts out 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. These types of figures are pretty high for the front wheels of most cars, and the Kia is no different.

Should you manage to avoid the unfair wheel hop and execute a clean launch, the K5 GT accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, just a tenth shy of the Sonata N line. The 0.1 second advantage holds true all the way to the quarter-mile mark as the Kia crosses the line in 14.0 seconds at 101.8 mph. Although the all-season tires wouldn’t have significantly limited the GT during its acceleration run, the rubber made a huge difference in braking and around our figure-eight course.

handling and braking

The 2021 Kia K5 GT needed 127 feet to hit 60 mph, which is considered a somewhat sporty sedan. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan, a yacht-sized SUV that weighs 2,715 pounds more Compared to the K5 GT, stayed 20 feet shorter. Of the 2021 model-year sedans we’ve tested to date, only one has stayed long distance: the Honda Accord EX-L, which required 129 feet.

The Sonata N Line also stayed a fairly short distance, just 110 feet, and the difference between the two sedans is even more pronounced around our figure-eight test. The 2021 Kia K5 GT’s 26.3-second time was both slower and less frightening than the Sonata N Line’s 25.8-second time of 0.72 grams, averaging 0.69 grams. Of course, the Hyundai we tested wore sticky rubber.

How does it feel?

Without available options for all-wheel drive or a limited-slip differential, the 2021 Kia K5 GT sells itself a bit short. After a riot of the first five minutes behind its wheel, the allure of an absurdly powerful four-banger and an equally absurd lack of grip on the driven wheels fades into despair. You want to throttle your way out of every intersection and away from every stoplight, but at more than 50 percent throttle, the GT is either abusing its front tires or choking on traction control — all the way. third gear

But maybe the K5 GT . most telling number about could It’s how it accelerates to speed. It needs just 2.5 seconds to reach 45 to 65 mph; This is 0.2 seconds faster than the Mercedes-AMG GLA35 and on par with the 2022 VW Golf GTI. It’s faster than the Honda Accord Sport 2.0, the midsize family sedan everyone wants to steal the gold medal. The instant K5 GT is no longer traction limited, its personality changing from a knock-dragging burnout machine to something like a legitimate sports sedan.

What about rest?

What’s more, the rest of the 2021 Kia K5 GT loses none of what makes the K5 one of the better sedans in its class. The eight-speed double-clutch transmission is surprisingly fast, and it shifts without hesitation whenever the driver signals. It’s just as cautious as the DSG in the new Golf GTI, which is a standard-setter thanks to the mass-market twin-clutch transmission. The car’s extremely light steering doesn’t offer much in the form of feedback, but that hardly matters when there’s so little grip at the start.

However, all-season tires can offer one advantage over a sportier tire: comfort. Despite sharing a platform with the Sonata N Line, the ride on the Kia K5 GT is much better than that of the Hyundai. Around town, the supple suspension tune and squishy tires provide a kind of serenity that contrasts with the character of the beast lurking under the hood. Ride quality isn’t what you’d call quiet all the time, and a fair amount of wind noise can creep into the cabin through the driver-side mirrors. But the K5 GT’s poise and the way it handles bumpy roads make it easy to believe you’re driving something more expensive.


There’s a lot of plastic in the interior of the K5 GT, but that doesn’t cheapen the appeal of the car. Kia uses some fine material for the touchpoint of the cabin, and it breaks down the plastic used everywhere. The Dash is beautiful and has a nice screen that integrates with the instrument cluster cowl instead of sticking out like a tack-on tablet. The cabin is spacious for both front and rear passengers, and the trunk offers a handy 16.0 cubic feet and a wide aperture.

With all of Kia’s excellent driver aids, a supportive pair of front seats and easy road manners, the 2021 Kia K5 GT is definitely worth considering if you want a sedan with some hot sauce under its hood. Set your budget for some reasonable summer tires on top of the car’s $35,705 base price, and you’ll unlock its potential.

Specifications 2021 Kia K5 GT (DCT FWD)
Base Price / As Per Trial $31,585/$35,585
Power (SAE Net) 290 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque (SAE Net) 311 lb-ft @ 1,650 rpm
Excel, 0-60 mph 5.4 seconds
quarter mile 14.0 seconds @ 101.8 mph
braking, 60-0 mph 127 feet
lateral acceleration 0.85 grams (average)
metric ton figure eight 26.3 sec @ 0.69 g (average)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 24/32/27 mpg
vehicle layout Front-Engine, FWD, 5-Pass, 4-Door Sedan
engine/transmission 2.5L turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4, 8-speed twin-clutch auto
Curb Weight (F/R DIST) 3,527 lb (61/39%)
wheelbase 112.2 inches
Length x Width x Height 193.1 x 73.2 x 56.9 inches
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