2018 Kia Stinger: the Brand’s First GT

DETROIT, Michigan – Kia chose the Detroit Auto Show to present as a world premiere the new 2018 Stinger, a five-door fastback grand touring sedan whose styling is heavily influenced by the GT concept car that was introduced at Frankfurt show back in 2011.

This new car was designed by the brand’s studio in Frankfurt, Germany, under the supervision of Peter Schreyer. Its development was the work of Albert Biermann, previously from BMW and who joined the ranks of Kia in December 2014 as Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development.

Biermann’s hiring sends a signal that the Stinger’s driving dynamics will be greatly enhanced compared to the company’s other models. A Korean grand touring car designed in Germany and tuned by an ex-BMW executive on the Nurburgring circuit? It sounds promising, or at the very least, gets our attention… For Kia, the Stinger marks nothing less than a progression towards a new chapter in the brand’s development.

The look of an Audi A7

The new 2018 Kia Stinger picks up several of the automaker’s styling cues, such as the typical Tiger Nose grille that’s become Kia’s visual signature. The car also boasts very dynamic proportions with a long hood, a very short front overhang and wide track.

In addition, its look emulates the shape of the Audi A7 due to its five-door configuration. Moreover, its spec sheet reveals a wheelbase that’s longer than the ones of rivals such as the Audi A4, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé, the Infiniti Q50 and the Lexus IS, which should provide it with a spacious cockpit.

Configurable drivetrain

The Kia Stinger’s chassis is built with 55% high-strength steel, which should give it good rigidity. The car’s suspension consists of a MacPherson setup up front and a multilink arrangement at the rear, while the car’s handling will be configurable with five modes through an electronically controlled suspension with variable damping control. The firmness of the electric-assist steering will also be configurable according to the five drive modes.

Two gasoline engines, rear-drive or AWD

The Stinger will be equipped with the Theta II engine, a turbocharged 2.0-litre four that develops 255 horsepower at 6200 rpm as well as 260 pound-feet of torque from 1400 to 4000 rpm. An interesting fact is that the engine is mounted longitudinally under the hood, à la BMW, and connected to the K900 sedan’s eight-speed automatic transmission. Power will be sent to either the rear wheels or through an all-wheel drivetrain.

The Stinger GT version will get a twin-turbo, 3.3-litre V6 that develops 365 hp at 6000 rpm, while peak torque is rated at 376 lb.-ft. between 1300 and 4500 rpm. The V6 is also mounted longitudinally and mated to the same transmission, with reprogrammed gear ratios, and the GT version will offer RWD or AWD as well.

Kia claims a time of 5.1 seconds for the 0-100 km/h sprint in the V6-powered Stinger GT, although it isn’t specified whether that’s with the rear-wheel drivetrain or the AWD setup. We can safely bet that Kia will also offer a diesel engine for the European market, and a V8 could also find its way under the hood of the Stinger to create a more-exclusive, high-performance version.

The Stinger GT benefits from Brembo brake callipers, which pinch front and rear ventilated discs, and rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in performance rubber, sized 225/40R19 up front and 255/35R19 at the rear. The Stinger version gets 18-inch wheels with 225/40R18 rubber.

Electronic aids

Kia is also equipping the Stinger with several electronic driving aids such as driver drowsiness detection, autonomous emergency braking in the event of an imminent front collision, adaptive cruise control with distance pacing and full stop, lane departure warning and many other advanced safety features.

A colour heads-up display that projects relative driving or navigation information at the base of the windshield will also be available. Three sound systems will be offered, including an optional, 720-watt Harman/Kardon unit with 15 speakers and a subwoofer mounted under the front seats.

A full review coming

Launched in Detroit, the Stinger and Stinger GT will be available to us for a test drive, so stay tuned for a complete review on The Car Guide.

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