Kia Motors is entering the world of high-performance sedans with the Stinger, the Korean motor company’s most powerful vehicle to date. The Stinger is a five-passenger fastback sports sedan poised to compete in a segment of the market currently dominated by European automakers. Kia knew that the Stinger had to be bold, nimble and fast, while also luxurious and quiet. Most importantly to Kia was that the vehicle had to be an authentic Gran Turismo. The early results look promising.
The Stinger exudes masculine confidence. Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille sits proudly between LED headlamps at the front of a long pronounced hood. The extended wheelbase delivers a spacious cabin with steeply-raked windshield and long rear overhang supported by strong shoulders. The Stinger’s stance and visual balance are designed to lend the car an air of elegance and athleticism, rather than boy-racer aggression. Whatever Kia’s intentions, it’s certainly a fast-looking silhouette.
While still under development, Kia is targeting two different drivetrains: the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Theta II engine that produces an estimated 255 horsepower at approximately 6,200 rpm and a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 Lambda II engine, which is anticipated to produce 365 horsepower at an estimated 6,000 rpm. The twin turbocharged V6 model is said to travel from 0-100 Km/h in 5.1 seconds with a top speed of 268km. The Stinger features a second-generation eight-speed rear-drive automatic transmission and is Kia’s first sedan available with rear or all-wheel drive.
Ride-damping and vehicle handling traits can be modified by the driver through the Dynamic Stability Damping Control, another first for Kia. The MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension have been tuned to provide optimal driver feedback, and the Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system monitors driver inputs and road conditions and automatically applies power and braking force to the appropriate wheels to maintain course in adverse conditions. Forward Collision Assistance, integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert round out the Stinger’s advanced safety features.
Inside is a space dedicated to the thrill of driving while cosseting the occupants in luxury. Ultra-soft Nappa leather covers the deeply contoured seats, and the driver’s seat has air cell bladders in the seatback for optimal support and comfort. A colour screen between gauges relays performance data such as cornering G-forces, lap times and engine oil temperature, along with ancillary information such as the trip, driver settings, navigation and diagnostics. The height-adjustable Head-Up Display enables the driver to see key info reflected on the windshield, including speed, turn-by-turn navigation, audio, cruise control and Blind Spot Detection information. Resting on the centre console is a wireless Smartphone charging pad.
Time will tell if the Stinger can compete with its European counterparts, although Kia has been testing the vehicle on the gruelling Nurburgring racing circuit and early results look promising. A Stinger was spotted recently testing in Sydney with local gearheads predicting it will give Commodores a run for their money when it’s released September 2017.