Kia is aiming to attract more user-choosers by increasing the sporty character of its brand.

Alongside sponsoring sporting events such as the World Cup and several tennis tournaments and players, the Korean firm is also looking at adding higher performance variants in the future, according to senior vice president for Kia’s European business Kenny Lee.

“We’re starting to look at this, but it has been design-led so far,” he said citing the example of the Kia Soul.

Within 18 months the new, yet to be revealed Kia Picanto will include a hot-hatch version powered by a 110hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo engine. This model is expected to take on the hot 133PS version of the Renault Twingo. Kia is also working on a double-clutch gearbox similar to VW‘s DSG unit, which will be used in sporty European hatchbacks.

Lee added: “Very soon we will have a powerful diesel engine in B-segment [supermini] and C-segment [small family] cars.”

It’s thought this could refer to a 180hp version of the 2.0-litre diesel and a twin-turbo version of the firm’s 1.7-litre diesel.

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