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Powerful, exciting, and surprisingly accomplished, the Kia Stinger is a stunning achievement for the Korean brand.

31 Jan 2018



How do you go about doing something different? We all know how difficult that can be, right? How many of your New Year resolutions have you actually kept?

The reality is that trying to do something different or new is difficult. We all fall into the trappings of just continuing with what we're comfortable with and good at, and most of us don't want to take too many risks or stray too far out of our comfort zones.

Well, Kia, the brand perhaps most commonly associated with making slightly uninteresting hatchbacks and sedans, have decided they want to make something very, very different. And so they have, with the brand new Kia Stinger

The Stinger's striking looks definitely makes onlookers stop and stare

Shock and awe

While certainly striking and head-turning, the Stinger isn't something you'd immediately call pretty or beautiful. With its aggressive lines, broad shoulders and a smattering of exterior chrome bits, there's something rather butch about the Stinger. It's very visually striking, and unlike anything you've see from a Kia (tiger nose grille aside).

The interior is, again, rather shocking, but shocking in the sense of being top-notch. Materials feel premium, build quality is high, and the cabin is thoroughly well-equipped. You get ventilated seats, a head-up display, a Harmon/Kardon premium 15-speaker sound system and suede roof lining, just to name a few.

It's not quite German quality, but it's much closer than you'd expect. It's also pretty spacious and comfortable. Legroom in the rear is generous, and while the sloping roofline cuts into headroom slightly, it's still more than sufficient unless your passenger is a basketball player.

Premium, comfortable and spacious, the cabin is definitely a step up for Kia quality-wise

It's practical, too. The rear hatch can be automatically opened and closed with a push of a button, and opens up to a 406-litre boot - ample for all intents and purposes. 

Powerrrrr!!!

Put your foot down, and you will be immediately overwhelmed by the sheer power of the Stinger - 365bhp and 510Nm of torque, to be exact. The 3.3-litre V6 engine delivers plenty of torque even before the turbos kick in.

And when they do, the Stinger absolutely rockets forward. The power alone is intoxicating. Where else can you find a $220k car that gets you from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds? 

Five drive modes let you customise the character of the Stinger to fit your driving needs

New for Kia, the Stinger also has Drive Mode Select, offering a total of five modes. That, combined with Launch Control and a mechanical limited-slip differential, means that the Stinger is a properly athletic car.

How's the handling, you ask? Well, the thing you must know and accept is that while this car is certainly sporty, it's no sports car. Due to the rather long wheelbase (2,905mm), the front and rear axles aren't completely in sync.

Turn the steering wheel and the front wheels definitely dart towards where you point them but the rear wheels take a fraction longer to come along.

This means that you have to treat the Stinger with respect - it's not a car that you can chuck into corners with reckless abandon, because it can become quite tail happy (we get the rear-wheel drive model, not the all-wheel drive one we drove in Spain).

While driving the Stinger, the tail came unstuck a couple of times (twice intentionally, once unintentionally). There's just so much power being sent straight to the rear wheels that you have to manage your throttle in corners.

The 3.3-litre V6 churns out 365bhp and 510Nm of torque, delivering blistering pace when you want it

However, the chassis feels tight and composed, and the ride is excellent - firm enough to feel what is going on, but pliant enough that it is comfortable over long distances. This is a grand tourer after all.

The standard Brembo brakes also offer tremendous stopping power, which you will regularly need to counteract the fact that you'll very quickly be over the legal speed limit in Singapore.

A big bug for us is the inability to lock the transmission into manual mode. It's not deal-breaking for most drivers, but it feels like a somewhat glaring omission considering that models like the K3 and Sportage all have it.

Its taut chassis means that the Stinger is balanced and easy to control around corners

Exceeding expectations

How do you judge a car like the Stinger? It's so much better, faster, and more interesting than any other Kia cars we've come to experience. But can we judge it against cars like the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe? It's still a Kia after all, and costs significantly less than some of these German fastback models.

So, maybe the best way to judge the Kia Stinger is to look at how successfully it has managed to do something different. Judged this way, we have to say that Kia has absolutely exceeded expectations. It's intriguing and exciting, yet comfortable and sensible. It covers so much ground, offering frankly absurd bang-for-buck performance whilst still being entirely usable and practical.

Having spent some time with the Stinger, we were overwhelmed by the overall polish and accomplishment of the car. The Stinger isn't perfect. There are faults (one pretty glaring one in our opinion), but for Kia's first go at making a car like this, it's shockingly well-rounded and accomplished.

Accomplished, exciting and completely different, the Stinger is an absolutely stunning achievement for Kia

It feels thoroughly well-designed, well-engineered and well-built, not some kind of one-off pet project of a group of eccentric engineers. It feels complete. And in our view, it is an absolutely stunning achievement.

Hurrah, Kia!
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Car Information

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Price

: $211,999

Engine Type

:

Lambda V6 Twin-Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

3342cc

Horsepower

:

272kW (365 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

510 Nm / 1300 rpm

Transmission

:

8-Speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.9sec

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

10.1 km/L

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