So this is the final form of the Kia “Stinger,” though that name is a little deceiving. Originally, the Kia GT4 Stinger concept was a two-door rear-wheel drive sports car with its own bespoke platform that looked to be capitalizing on the popularity of partner company Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe.
The Genesis Coupe is gone, however, along with the “GT4” portion of the Stinger name; this Stinger gains two doors in its stead, and a “GT” badge on its trunk lid, though it’s technically called just “Stinger.”
It keeps the hatchback, though, which is where the reveal of Kia’s latest car – which is also its most powerful ever, depending on spec – gets interesting. For the record: the most powerful option, a twin-turbo V6, makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and good for a claimed zero-to-100 km/h time of around 5.1 seconds. There’s also a turbo four-cylinder version (255 hp and 260 lb-ft) that comes with rear-wheel-drive standard, which is another first for Kia.
It’s interesting because while the proportions are quite different from the GT4, you have to hand it to Kia for building something as handsome as this. In profile, it’s very Audi-A7-like thanks in no small part to that hatch. On top of that, it gets some handsome detailing in the form of properly flared front and rear fenders, gaping air intakes in the front bumper, and a slightly more aggressive version of Kia’s signature “sharknose” grille, as well as aggressive headlight lenses with carbon fibre accents.
We’re not as big fans of the chromed faux intakes at the base of the front fender, but the red Brembo brake calipers and aggressive wheels make up for it.
“It’s a car about passion,” said Gregory Guillaume, chief designer at Kia, “meant for spirited long-distance driving.” That’s where the “GT” comes in, then.
Power is one thing, but proper GT, or “grand touring,” cars have to ride well, too; after all, if you’re going to be covering long distances like Guillaume says, you’ll need to be comfortable. In that light, the body is constructed with 55-percent advanced high-strength steel, lowering noise and vibration levels and providing good handling at the same time.
Inside, cool details like a stubby electronic gear lever, vent roundels, and some off-beat colouring like a very wine-like red upholstery make for a Kia that could very well be true to the word of its creators.
Of all the cars revealed at this year’s show, this is one of the models we’re most interested in trying. That’s saying a lot.
The 2018 Kia Stinger will start arriving in showrooms in summer of 2017; look for pricing closer to that time.