KIA‘s Frankfurt Show star, the four-door GT concept, is more than an effort to divert a bit of attention from the German manufacturers who blitz their domestic show, company insiders have revealed.

It is one idea for a production model that could help raise Kia’s profile.  It was designed in the company’s European headquarters just down the road from the Frankfurt Show site, and will be followed in January by an American version at the Detroit Auto Show. Kia will then gauge reaction to both before deciding how to proceed.

“The sports sedan is not as far from production as you might think,” one senior Kia figure told us. “By next year the Soul will be our oldest car and we will have renewed or replaced our entire product range. Then what do we do?”

Kia chief design officer Peter Schreyer is more circumspect, but admits he would love to see something like the Frankfurt car brought to production.

“When I do something like this, in the back of my mind there is always a purpose,” he said. “If I could get something like this into production I would buy champagne for everyone in the company.”

Gregory Guillaume, the head of Kia’s European design studio, says it was “influenced by 1970s GT cars – the sort of thing you could drive from Paris to the South of France with effortless style at high speed”.

It is about the same size as an Audi A5 and is based on parent company Hyundai‘s Genesis rear-drive platform. It has rear-hinged ‘coach’ back doors, although Schreyer admits these are no more than ‘a tease’.

Currently it has no engine, but Kia is working on a 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged unit that would be ideal for it, and available with a variety of different power outputs. Kia is also developing a twin-clutch semi-automatic gearbox.

Schreyer says the car focuses on weight-saving, interior quality and safety. “I don’t want to say we can be a premium-segment manufacturer at this stage, but we can do more,” he admits.

“The interior is very light, and we have been playing a lot with materials.”