It’s here at last! The stunning Kia Stinger, an elegant gran turismo based on the 2011 Kia GT Concept from the Frankfurt Motor Show, is now in full production and today goes on sale in the UK priced from £31,995.
Stinger is the most adventurous model in Kia’s history, the company’s first classic grand tourer and the first rear-wheel-drive model it has introduced to Europe. In range-topping twin-turbo V6 guise, it is also the fastest-accelerating Kia ever, with a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds.
Six years in the making, it was designed in Europe at the Frankfurt studios under the watch of President of Design and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer and European Head of Design Gregory Guillaume. Prototypes have covered the equivalent of 27 trips around the Equator, taking in extreme climate testing in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North and South America, to perfect the car, and every development model has done at least 480 laps (10,000 kilometres) of the tortuous Nurburgring Nordschleife. The testing regime was headed by Kia’s Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, Albert Biermann.
Ushering in a new dynamic era for Kia Motors, the all-new 2018 Stinger is the culmination of a years-long journey fueled by the company’s bold and adventurous spirit. A five-passenger sportback poised to redefine a segment currently populated by European automakers, the Stinger promises to be the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history and is backed by Kia’s industry-leading quality and reliability. Offered with multiple engine and drivetrain configurations and luxurious accommodations, the Stinger is planned to go on sale in the U.S. in December. Final pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date.
“Unlike any Kia that has come before it, the Stinger really is a dream car for us and after years of commitment and hard work from a passionate group of designers, engineers and executives around the world, that dream is now a reality,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America. “From its GT concept-car origins to the years of tuning and refining on the legendary Nürburgring circuit, no detail was too small to be obsessed over, and the result is simply stunning.”
Instantly recognizable as a direct evolution of the concept that preceded it, the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger design was overseen by Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ chief design officer, and his talented team of designers in Frankfurt. Ride and handling development was looked after by Albert Biermann, head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development and his group of engineers in Korea and on the grueling Nürburgring racing circuit.
Now I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers here. There are definitely two philosophies to this idea and no matter which side you choose – you’re not wrong – it’s a personal preference. That being said, I’m sort of on the fence when it comes to de-badging or re-badging the Kia Stinger. Here’s why…
I was just driving along behind a Kia Optima and thought to myself, “Ya know – the Kia badge isn’t really that bad”. I’m not sure if they’ve slightly updated the design in recent years – but I think it looks kind of classy with its simplicity. On the other hand, it’s stood for a brand that sold cheap products for as long as many of us can remember.
A company’s brand perception is very important. Look at how long it’s taken Cadillac to regain any ground in the luxury automobile market. They used to be considered the “Standard of the World”. If you’re not too young, you’ll have grown up hearing people say, “It’s the Cadillac of this” or “the Cadillac of that”. Driving a Cadillac meant that you achieved a certain level of success and you could then afford to own and drive the very best the world had to offer.
The 2018 Kia Stinger
The extremely crowded midsize four-door sedan segment just got a new competitor, and it comes from, unusually, Korea. It’s no secret Kia has slowly evolved into one of the top manufacturers in the last decade or so. This once “cheap” alternative manufacturer is now a top contender, up there with Japan, America and Europe’s finest. Their latest edition to the lineup, dubbed the Stinger, is a four-door midsize sedan with a sporty twist. It’s aimed squarely at the likes of Audi’s A5 Sportback, BMW’s 4-Series Gran Coupe and even the new Alfa Romeo Giulia, but one has to wonder if this newcomer can compete with the already established line of rivals.
Well, if looks are any indication, we’d say yes. Although the unmistakable Kia DNA is still there, there’s something extremely appealing and charismatic about the Stinger. The elongated hood with the sloping roofline gives it a sporty silhouette, and the chopped off rear end is just the proverbial cherry on top. There’s no two ways about it, this is a handsome brute. It’s not as elegant as the Giulia or as understated as the A5 Sportback, but then again, it’s not trying to be. It’s a bold design, something which evokes a response. If you told us Kia would be churning out something that looked like this just a few years ago, we’d have laughed at it and quickly dismissed the statement. They have though, and to say it’s gorgeous would be an understatement. The name isn’t too bad either: Stinger. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
The Stinger is the first model of Kia’s luxury car line-up loaded with Kia’s design capabilities and R&D expertise. The new model is powered by a 3.3 turbo gasoline engine, a 2.0 turbo gasoline engine or a 2.2 diesel engine. The 3.3 turbo gasoline model has best-in-class power with a maximum output of 370 horsepower and a maximum torque of 52.0 kgf•m. The combined fuel economy is 8.8km per liter (ℓ) according to combined fuel consumption standards announced jointly with the government. The 3.3 turbo gasoline model reaches 100 km/h in only 4.9 seconds after departure. The 2.0 turbo petrol model has a maximum output of 255 horsepower and a maximum torque of 36.0 kgf•m. Its combined fuel efficiency is 10.4km per liter. The 2.2 diesel model has a maximum output of 202 horsepower and a maximum torque of 45.0 kgf•m. Its combined fuel economy is 14.8km per liter.
The Stinger delivers smooth speed change and the highest level of transmission efficiency in its class as the model is equipped with a second-generation rear-wheel eight-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle also features braking performance that can match explosive driving performance. ‘Brake cooling holes’ (an air guide that facilitates air inflow to the undercover for cooling the brakes while driving) were applied to the Stinger’s brakes, further raising its brake disc cooling rate. In addition to its powerful driving performance, the Stinger has a variety of features to support dynamic driving including five driving modes (sport, comfort, eco, smart and custom), active engine sounds, and a launch control.
The Stinger gives customers more options — the Lexicon Premium Package that includes Lexicon speakers with excellent sound reproduction capabilities, the electronic control suspension (ECS) system, Brembo brakes and a hood garnish and the Drive Wise Package consisting of the highway driving assistant (HDA) system, the Front Collision Warning (FCW) system, and the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) among others.