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GT model targets Audi, BMW and Mercedes big-sellers.

The Kia Stinger, unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a car charged with redefining the Korean brand’s image.

The Stinger is a fastback sports saloon, the highest-performance production vehicle in the history of Kia, and set to pitch the brand into battle against the performance versions of the premium German manufacturers’ biggest sellers, the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The car’s creators are promising that the car will shake up a segment dominated by European products.

Design of the four-door, five-seater has been overseen by Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ Chief Design Officer, and the brand’s Frankfurt design team. It was evolved from the GT concept first shown as long ago as 2011, and includes themes from the Stinger GT4 concept car from the Detroit show in 2014.

Potent GT version

Kia says that eventually the Stinger will be offered with ‘multiple engine and drivetrain configurations’, but currently two powertrains have been announced. Standard fit will be a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit with around 255hp and 346Nm of torque, but most interest surrounds the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 unit which is targeting 365hp, 510Nm and a 5.1-second 0-62mph time. This will make the Stinger more potent than an Audi S4 and is expected to be offered in a range-topping GT model.

Both engines will be matched to a new eight-speed auto transmission with steering wheel paddle shifts, first released in Kia’s K900 luxury saloon, and a rear-wheel-drive transmission. Rear drive is considered essential for true performance cars while all-wheel drive will be available in some markets.

The Stinger’s throttle mapping, transmission, suspension and steering will boast several driving modes selectable through an electronic system.
1701 Kia Stinger 03

The car’s chassis has been developed by a team led by Albert Biermann, formerly at the M performance division of BMW. He describes the Stinger as “a special event,” for the Kia brand. “Because nobody expects such a car, not just the way it looks but also the way it drives – it’s a wholly different animal,” he says.

A large car

At 2906mm the wheelbase of the Kia Stinger is longer than many mid-sized saloons such as the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50 and Mercedes CLS. The car also boasts greater length at 4832mm and width, 1870mm, than much of the segment, and Kia promises spacious interior and boot space.

The chassis is 55 per cent high-strength steel with a MacPherson Strut front suspension and a multi-link rear from which are hung 19-inch wheels. A first for Kia is Dynamic Stability Damping Control, adjustable electronically by the driver.

The production Kia Stinger will arrive in showrooms late in 2017. Prices are yet to be announced, but industry sources predict the GT version could cost around £43,000.

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Executivecondominium. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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