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Is it true? Is Kia preparing a budget, V8-powered Panamera fighter?

The full-size four-door coupe segment could welcome a new competitor before the end of the decade. A new report finds Kia is seriously considering developing a production version of the sleek GT concept (pictured) that drew praise when it was introduced at the 2011 edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Tentatively scheduled to land in showrooms in 2018, Kia’s first-ever four-door coupe will drop the GT nameplate and adopt a brand new moniker that hasn’t been made public yet. Unsurprisingly, it will lose the concept’s futuristic fins and rear suicide doors but the overall silhouette will transition from the sketch pad to the showroom floor essentially unchanged.

In true four-door coupe fashion, the GT will boast a luxurious cockpit with room for up to four passengers. It will show off its flagship status by offering a long list of high-tech options such as reclining rear seats, a 360-degree camera, a heads-up display and adaptive cruise control.

Rumors indicate the GT will be powered by a new V8 engine. Technical details are not available yet but it will have to pack a hard punch in order to take on the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, two of the segment’s most popular offerings. A more accessible model powered by a turbocharged V6 could join the lineup later in the production run, and buyers on the Old Continent will likely be able to order a turbodiesel mill.

If launched, the GT will give Kia’s image a boost in the United States and help position the South Korean company as a credible player in the highly competitive premium market. It is too early to discuss pricing, but we expect that it will slot above the K900, Kia’s current flagship.

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