This is the new Kia Ceed GT, a high-performance variant of the Ceed hatchback that was first revealed in February this year. Set to go on sale in Europe from Q1 2019, the Ceed GT will also make its public debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

The hot hatch is powered by a 1.6 litre T-GDi petrol engine that makes 204 PS at 6,000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,500-4,500 rpm. You get to choose whether to row through your own gears with a six-speed manual or let a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic do it for you.

In other performance aspects, the Ceed GT retains the same fully-independent suspension hardware as the regular Ceed, but with six months of fine-tuning to make it even more dynamic. Revisions include a 5 mm lower ride height (135 mm), stiffer springs, 17% faster steering input and softer anti-roll bars.

That’s not all, as the electronic stability control has been recalibrated to allow more sideways action that normal. Supporting systems include Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, torque vectoring by braking and larger brakes – 320 mm front discs that are thicker by 3 mm from standard at 28 mm. Oh, there’s also a set of Michelin Pilot Spot 4 tyres wrapped around 18-inch alloy wheels.

A Drive Mode Select system is available with the dual-clutch route, allowing drivers to change the character of the powertrain – Normal and Sport modes. To make sure you hear that 1.6 litre turbo engine well, new exhaust flaps are fitted here and unfortunately, an electronic sound generator as well.

To make sure regular folk don’t confuse the Ceed GT for a regular one, there’s a big ‘GT’ badge on the front grille that has been imbued with red accents. Also, the bumper is a little more aggressive in appearance, with larger inlets and gloss black trim along the base. The brand’s familiar “ice cube” daytime running lights continue to be integrated into the main headlamp unit.

Elsewhere, the side sills are more pronounced and finished in gloss black and red, there’s glossy chrome window surrounds, plus the wheel centre caps and brake calipers are in red. As for the rear, you’ll get a unique GT bumper with a subtle diffuser, larger vents and space for the dual exhaust tips.

Revisions in the cabin are relatively minor, with a black roofliner, D-shaped steering wheel, aluminium pedals, seats trimmed in black leather and suede with red stitching, and plenty of ‘GT’ badging. Available touchscreen infotainment systems include seven- and eight-inch displays, and you still get the practicality of 395 litres of boot space with 60:40 split-folding rear seats.

Six airbags come as standard here, along with other safety technologies like High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist. Available systems are Lane Following Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Smart Parking Assist, and pedestrian recognition for the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system.