Kia’s Stinger is hitting dealerships in December. How does this all-new fastback stack up against its German rivals?
Watch out, everyone – there’s a new sports sedan on the block. Kia has officially debuted its new flagship, the Stinger, in Los Angeles. The Korean brand is taking aim at a market currently dominated by the Germans, and it seeks to score a one-two punch with striking looks and performance to match. Based on the GT Concept car and developed on the Nürburgring, the 2018 Kia Stinger exemplifies the brand’s direction. From the ashes of Kia’s humdrum beginnings rises a phoenix that will carry buyers toward a bold and dynamic future. At least, that’s what the Kia Stinger’s creators want you to believe. But is it really that good? Can this new GT car really take on the Germans? TFLcar’s Roman Mica heads to Los Angeles to find out.
The Kia Stinger: Stylish. Sexy. Powerful.
In its formative years, Kia’s design could be most charitably described as conservative. Remember the Sephia? Sure, that car did the job as far as getting you from A to B, but one thing it was not was sexy. In recent years, however, their styling has moved on. Now, the likes of Kia’s sedans and SUVs are much more appealing, if not on the same level as the Germans. That being said, the Stinger takes Kia’s design to a whole new level. This car wants to be taken seriously as a true GT, and its more aggressive front end, sloping roofline and muscular haunches, it may well turn some heads.
Helping the Kia Stinger’s case is its performance credentials. For a shade under $33,000 (including destination charges), you can have a 2.0-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged Stinger with 255 horsepower. For $39,000 and up, you can get it with a more powerful, 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine. With the upgrade, the Stinger can charge to 60 in a reported 4.7 seconds. Keeping the car nailed to the road are grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, and Brembo brakes bring things to a quick halt. While rear-drive is the default with the Stinger, you can have all-wheel drive for an extra $2,200. Along the way, you can choose from five trim levels: Base trim, Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2.
It’s practical, too
Not only does the 2018 Kia Stinger have performance chops to match the Germans, it’s practical as well. As mentioned before, it is a sportback, like the Audi A5 Sportback. With the rear seats in place, the Stinger has 23.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the seats down, and that figure goes up to a rather impressive 41 cubic feet. Kia will be first to tell you that sort of space beats the car’s main rivals, including the A5 Sportback, the BMW 4 (and 6) Series Gran Coupe, and the Lexus GS. However, as with Audi’s sportback models, the Stinger’s svelte roofline does rob rear headroom. Fortunately, you do get sufficient knee and leg room. And besides, a higher roof would just spoil the looks, and looks are what the Stinger’s design is all about.
There’s one chink in the Kia Stinger’s armor
If there’s one complaint to level at the new Kia Stinger, it’s the steering. Naturally, Kia sells the Stinger’s steering feedback as “razor-sharp” by way of it’s Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS) system. Still, it’s an electric power steering system, and while the average driver may not care too much, enthusiasts may ding the Stinger for its inert steering feel. Happily, you can adjust the weight of the steering through the car’s six different drive modes. Changing drive modes also affects the car’s suspension, throttle response, and the stability control.
Crashing the Germans’ Party
There will be some folks out there who will shriek in horror at the thought of a $52,000 Kia. However, on paper and in practice, this isn’t just any Kia. It’s a good exercise at challenging your notions about what a Kia can be. It can deliver most of the German’s party tricks for substantially less than its equivalent German rivals. If you’re interested in buying the Stinger, it will be hitting dealerships around the beginning of December.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Kia Stinger GT AWD
|Price as Tested:||$52,000|
|Engine:||3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged V6|
|Horsepower:||365 hp @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque:||376 lbs.-ft. @ 1,300 – 4,500 RPM|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut
Rear: Multi-link (5-link)
|Brakes:||Brembo 4-wheel discs (vented front and rear); 13.8-inch front discs, 13.4-inch rear discs|
|Tires:||Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 225/40 R19 (225/45 R18 optional)|
|Fuel capacity:||15.9 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||19 City/25 Highway/21 Combined MPG|
|Turning Circle:||37.5 feet|
|Curb Weight:||4,023 pounds|