Spy Shots

High-performance 2019 Kia Forte spied with dual exhaust

It may have the 200-horsepower Veloster Turbo engine

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The 2019 Kia Forte compact sedan introduced at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year showed off a handsome, subtly aggressive exterior inspired by the Stinger. But the sporty exterior was betrayed by a simply adequate powertrain: a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower. Now, one of our spy photographers has caught a disguised Kia Forte out testing that has a number of visual changes suggesting it's a more powerful version of the Forte. It might be called the Kia Forte GT to fit the Stinger's nomenclature, or Kia Forte SX to follow the naming scheme of past punchier Fortes.

The most notable of this Forte's visual enhancements is its dual exhaust outlets. All versions of the current Forte have just one exhaust outlet on the right side and more exhausts usually mean more power. Along the side, the body and side skirts are the same as regular Fortes with the more aggressive body kit. But up at the front, we can see some adjustments under the camouflage. The upper grille appears to be larger, with bottom corners that push out lower and wider than on the basic car. The lower grille also looks a bit taller, and seems to have larger fog lights mounted farther inward than the regular Forte.

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As for what might power the newer, peppier Forte,the likeliest candidate is the 201-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder found in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo and Hyundai Elantra Sport. As discovered by The Korean Car Blog and someone going by SHM, there is information saying that the Korean version of the Forte will indeed have that turbo engine paired to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This wouldn't be surprising given that the new Forte shares its naturally aspirated engine with the base Elantra and Veloster. A version of that turbo engine was also used in the outgoing Forte SX models. Since the new Forte has been revealed and will go on sale later this year, we expect we'll hear about this high-performance version sometime early next year, with a release not too long after.

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