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I’ve just come back from South Korea, courtesy of Kia. And there are already Stingers on the roads there. They look awesome, hunkered down to the tarmac in the Far East. And, as I discovered at the UK launch, they give off just as much of a sexy vibe.
The Korean automaker has already shown the world what it can do in the SUV market. Its Sorento and Sportage have been massive hits over here, changing the way we used to see the brand. Years ago, Kia was seen as a rather tinny, cheap outfit, now it’s right up there with the best of today’s car names.
The Stinger will undoubtedly take the Asian firm the extra mile and propel it into territory it’s never seen before. And that’s because Kia has never produced a grand tourer before. It’s a handsome piece of machinery and even has muscle car hints about it – particularly at the rear.
The Stinger isn’t cheap. You’re looking at emptying £40,000 out of your bank account to get your hands on one. And I guarantee you will want one, once you’ve seen it in the metal. Pictures are one thing, but you must hear the engine and the tune from the four tailpipes to really appreciate this Kia. Then you need to sit in it and drive it. The car has punch. Lots and lots of it.
The Stinger GT-S, as tested here, belts out 510Nm of torque, pulling you to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds. The car will then go on to a prison sentence inducing 168mph. These are serious figures and place the Stinger in the hardcore performance saloon zone.
Of course, none us want to lose our driving licence, so unless you’re on an airfield or track day, then you’ll really be more interested in what else you gain from the Stinger. Well, the 3.0-litre V6 turbo revs with gorgeous progression and replies instantly to the throttle. There are different drive modes you can play with, too. For instance, in Sport or Sport+ settings, the grand tourer howls purposefully. But the soundtrack is never overbearing – it’s just there in the background doing the job of stimulating your senses, without over-exciting you either.
The Stinger GT-S employs an eight-speed automatic transmission. And in another drive mode – ‘Comfort’, the gearbox sorts its cogs out seamlessly. Change to one of Sport settings and you can dance through the gears yourself by using the paddles on the steering wheel.
The Stinger handles incredibly well, too. And it should. The Kia is rear-wheel driven, making it a real driver’s car. There’s a lot traction, even when pushing down on the throttle out of an apex. Okay, the steering feel is a little numb, but the grand tourer never makes you feel anything other than confident.
What’s more, Kia has stacked the all-new Stinger with lots of equipment to keep us Brits happy. Kit includes a touchscreen hooked up to a sat-nav, and there are connectivity choices, via Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Parking sensors are thrown in too, and the audio comes courtesy of Harman/Kardon. If that’s not enough, a head-up display is projected on to the windscreen, so you can look at the sat-nav’s map without taking your eyes off the road. Oh, and there are vented and heated seats to keep you and your front seat passenger content.
We can’t ignore the work Kia has done to ensure the Stinger is a safe car, either. The grand tourer contains aids such as lane keep assist, autonomous braking, blind spot detection and strong Brembo brakes.
Space is good in the Stinger as well. In the front, there’s lots of room to get comfy, and finding a decent driving position is undemanding. In the back, there’s good legroom for six-footers, and head room isn’t bad either, given the sloping coupe-esque roofline. The boot, accessed via a powered hatchback is also impressive at 406-litres.
The only thing to drizzle on the Kia Stinger’s chips is the poor mpg. A 3.3-litre V6 petrol-powered turbo is never going to win any medals for efficiency, so be prepared for late 20s mpg and high emissions of 225g/km CO2.
Fast Facts (Kia Stinger GT-S – as tested)
- Max speed: 168 mph
- 0-60 mph: 4.7 secs
- Combined mpg: 28.5
- Engine layout: 3.3-litre six-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 370
- CO2: 225 g/km
- Price: £40,495
Carsnip’s editorial chief, Tim Barnes-Clay says:
“If you don’t mind forking out more often at the pumps and spending a wad in company car tax, then you’ll like the Stinger a lot. It’s a well-balanced, quick, good looking and roomy vehicle that will get your pulse racing. It’s certainly a proper grand tourer, and a comfortably entertaining one at that.”
- Good Looks
- Top Comfort
- High Performance
- Generous Equipment
- Expensive to run