KIA Stinger

Kia Stinger

KIA isn’t the first brand which comes to mind when discussing performance cars and that’s probably due to the fact that their most sporty offering up until mid-January was the Koup. It’s lovely, but you won’t be taking on any 440i’s or Golf GTI’s anytime soon – it’s just not that sort of car. Desirability, I feel is something that KIA’s of old lacked, but as I mentioned in my review of the new Sportage, KIA is on a roll at the moment and very soon, KIA’s will become poster cars. Mark my words.

So it came as no surprise to me, then, when KIA unveiled the Stinger – an all new model for them, set to take the fight straight to the BMW 4 Series GranCoupe, Audi A5 Sportback and the Mercedes-Benz CLS at a stretch. It’s big, bigger than all of those. It’s even longer than a Lexus GS and that’s…long.

The design team have certainly done their bit here – the Stinger is swoopy and swishy in all the right places and has a rakish stance, much like I’d expect its target market to have. These young, wealthy petrolheads and stylish beings will be pleased with the interior, too, which looks a lot like a Mercedes-Benz CLA…but who cares really? The whole thing oozes desirability but the deal-breaker with any snazzy Coupe sedan is the way it performs. You can’t have a car that looks like Heidi Klum but runs like Oprah.

Albert Biermann, ex-Vice President of Engineering at BMW M, has settled in nicely with the Koreans and his work has apparently resulted in a car that is properly good to drive. MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension is designed to let the driver know what’s happening and for the first time in a KIA, ride-damping and vehicle handling can be changed by the driver thanks to an electronically adjustable suspension – Dynamic Stability Damping Control. It has 5 modes which are a lot of modes, but judging by the engine line-up, we suspect the best on will be the fast one.

Still, under development, the powertrains have to live up to the rest of the grand-tourer, too, so it comes as no surprise that they are both rather pokey. 190kW and 350Nm from a 2.0-litre turbo four and 272kW and 510Nm from KIA’s 3.3 Litre twin-turbo V6 Lambda II motor give you stonking performance – 5.1 seconds to 100km/h and a top speed of 270km/h. Vented Brembos are standard on the 3.3-litre model featuring 4-piston callipers up front and dual-pistons at the rear.

The gearbox is fancy too and is an 8-speeder which makes use of aviation technology in the form of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber which helps reduce torsional vibrations through the drivetrain. The Stinger can be had as either an AWD or rear-wheel drive, the rear-wheel drive model coming with a proper mechanical limited-slip differential.

A vast array of safety features are available too, as expected in this segment, and a heads-up display, wireless phone charger, adaptive cruise control and optional Harman/Kardon sound system will keep the tech-weirdos happy.

There’s no word yet on local availability but should there be enough interest, don’t expect to see it on our roads before 2018.

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