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Having successfully raised the bar on design and build quality in the span of a few short years, Kia has now set its sights on getting the ride and handling of its cars to a world-class level, according to Autocar.

European chief operating officer Michael Cole used the appointment of former BMW M vice president of engineering Albert Biermann as an example of the company’s stated goal. Biermann is now the executive vice president for vehicle testing and high performance development at the Hyundai Motor Group, and leads the development of high-performance Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

“Dynamics is a key focus for us, with teams working on it across the business,” Cole said. “We have built a reputation on design, quality and reliability, but now there is a lot of focus on ride and handling. We also want to be a benchmark on ride and handling – we can compete, but we want to better that and be renowned for our dynamics as well.”

Cole added that Biermann’s appointment has “strengthened” Kia’s prowess in vehicle dynamics. “He chiefly works on performance cars like the Optima GT, but his influence is now felt everywhere, and he’s more involved across the business. He’s a sign of our commitment that we want to make this a real strength across our brand.”

Kia’s performance lineup currently consists of the cee’d and pro_cee’d GT as well as the Optima GT. “When we did [the] cee’d GT, our plan was not to have an outright high-performance muscle car, but a car that’s comfortable to drive, responsive and fun to drive – not at the really hot end, but still fun,” Cole said.

Kia GT Alps 9

At the top will sit the Kia GT, a four-door coupé that is very much inspired by the original concept from Frankfurt 2011 – it is expected to be unveiled next year.

The car is still “a work in progress,” Cole said. “There’s been no final announcement. It’s a very exciting project. There will be a time when it’s right for us. We’re rightly focused on the core segments but we see this as an opportunity. We’ll hopefully go through with it and not too far away, but there’s nothing to confirm yet.”