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11 Oct 2017 | Text by Julian Kho. Photos by Julian & Manufacturer. Direct from Mallorca, Spain

Long Range Missile

The Kia Stinger is a slender five-door coupe with a razor-sharp name that will hold itself well against the likes of the German trademarks.


First shown to the world as the Kia GT Concept back in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Kia Stinger is undoubtedly a daring departure for the Korean carmaker that brought us the quirky Kia Soul and the Kia Carens family-hauler.

This simply means that the car you see here isn't just another mainstream model that's targeted at the likes of the Hyundai Elantra and the Toyota Altis or the Ford Mondeo and the Volkswagen Passat, even if it should rightfully be so.

The Kia Stinger has ample road presence even when viewed from the back, thanks to quad tailpipes and eye-catching taillights

Upgraded perception

According to Kia, it aims to target new customers without risking the possibility of alienating its current owners which, to an extent, makes sense considering the Kia Stinger is somewhat a car that comes from the most unlikely of carmakers in the business.

That's not saying that Kia is putting on a pair of sneakers that's a couple of sizes too big for its own good. After all, one of the most gratifying phenomena in the car business is when a super group of engineers and designers of an underdog of a carmaker comes together and makes a car that's super enough to blow our minds.

From behind the wheel, the top-of-the-line Stinger is immensely quick

Driving progression at its best

While that could be a slightly exaggerated description for the Korean carmaker, the Kia Stinger is undoubtedly a quick car. It impresses with its 4.9-second century sprint timing, courtesy of the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 powerplant that serves up a healthy dose of 370bhp and 510Nm of torque.

Driven hard around the 3.2km-long Circuit Mallorca, the Stinger is clearly not a mess. But that could be due to the fact that we drove the all-wheel drive variant instead of the rear-wheel drive one that Singapore will be getting.

In Sport mode, the car manages to deliver sharp and confident handling, coupled with firm body control and ample bite from the 19-inch tyres. It does give you the green light to push the car hard around the twisties and even harder on the long straight by stiffening the ride and varying points for gear changes, even if the well-weighted steering confiscates some form of feedback.

Round bends, the car holds it own well and has ample grip

Unfortunately, this said numbness from the steering could be the reason why the Kia Stinger isn't as razor sharp and dynamic as the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

But where it lacks, it makes up for with its distinctively playful character. Switch it to Sport+ mode, where traction control is partially disabled, and the car becomes a mischievous machine. Jam hard on the set of Brembo brakes before negotiating a corner, turn in fluidly and floor the accelerator and the tail starts wagging out to a good degree before bringing it back in check.

Out on busy public roads, the Stinger is best left on Comfort mode and to its ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic gearbox. Even in this driving mode, the throttle remains to be hair-triggering, the exhaust growling at a cruise, the steering quite leisurely and the engine pulls with smoothness and eagerness.

Mated nicely to the 3.3-litre engine is an eight-speed autobox

You could, thus, say that the car revealed itself to us as a curious cruiser and a hardcore bruiser all in one package.

Evolutionary and revolutionary

Speaking of package, the Stinger is still very much a Kia kind of car, which isn't exactly a negative thing and you sense it the moment you sit inside. While quality of materials used here has obviously been upgraded, it fails to convey the upmarket and premium feeling as compared to its German peers. In this case the car is simple and classy rather than sporty and cool.

But unlike its cabin, the Stinger's sheet metal is more of a revolution rather than evolution.

Evolutionary cabin is a nice and comfortable place to be in

By looks alone, the GT possesses a dynamic mixture that's pummelling, harmonious and giddily frantic all at once, with its low stance, long hood and wide bodied posture that appears like it will gobble up kilometres of tarmac within seconds.

The instantly recognisable 'tiger-nose' grille, sharp LED headlamps, and air intake ornamentations up front give the Stinger a distinct aesthetic, while quad tailpipes at the back summarise the Stinger's strong and confidence appearance.

Delivering a promise

The Kia Stinger, while having cars like the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe in its sight, isn't aiming to be a high-end premium car. Instead of pretending to be something it isn't, the Stinger feels rather natural and honest, even with its drawbacks.

3.3-litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine is a hardworking unit

The car is undeniably a superb effort at a sporty and engaging family vehicle that will set the Korean brand in a positive light and direction.

The rear-wheel driven Kia Stinger 3.3-litre V6 variant will be available on an indent basis in Singapore from Q1 of next year.
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