Standard models will be introduced in November as expected, but impatient buyers can drive away with the high specification four-wheel drive version early.
More diesel, petrol and two-wheel drive models will follow in November but for now, the Sportage will be available in right-hand drive all-wheel drive version.
The powertrain comprises a 2.0-litre CRDi engine with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, delivering emissions of 156g/km and fuel economy of 47.1mpg.
The only choice available with the First Edition is purely cosmetic. Kia will release five colours with the early Sportages, including a striking Techno Orange.
Prices will be announced on 20 July, but the First Edition is expected to be towards the top end of the price range. It is fully equipped with a full leather interior, dual zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, LED daytime running lights and 18" alloy wheels.
There will be no exclusive badging or numbering on the Sportage First Edition, which is more of a top specification preview than a special edition in its own right.
The Kia Sportage was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010, and the design language, headed up by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, was instantly recognisable as the bolder direction taken with the Soul.
Schreyer has included the Kia ‘tiger face’ and chunky urban design in the new Sportage, which has also been tested extensively to make it compatible with UK roads.
The third-generation of the Sportage has been in production for several months at Kia’s Slovakian production plant.
At the launch of the Kia Sportage, Hyoung-Keun Lee, President, Kia Motors, said: "With the all-new Sportage, we have created a five-seat compact SUV with maximized customer appeal. It is urban-friendly and fully in tune with changing consumer expectations and demands.
"Despite the recent and ongoing global economic difficulties, Kia’s market research indicates that demand for C-segment SUVs in Europe will grow steadily over the next five years as customers down-size their vehicles and new models focus attention on the segment."