Kia has followed through on its promise to build the radical GT Concept of 2011 with a production version set to hit showrooms late in 2017 as the 2018 Stinger.
Stinger is a 4-door fastback sedan (sometimes called a 4-door coupe), which Kia promises will be the highest-performance production sedan the company has ever marketed. It will be offered with multiple power and drivetrain combinations.
“Unlike any Kia that has come before it, the Stinger really is a dream car for us, and here today in Detroit, that dream is now a reality after years of commitment and hard work from a passionate group of designers, engineers and executives around the world,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning at Kia Motors America. “From its GT concept-car origins to the years of tuning and refining on the legendary Nürburgring circuit, no detail was too small to be obsessed over, and the result is simply stunning.”
The production car is significantly changed from the concept, lacking the French-opening doors, and sporting a considerably larger grille and more aggressive front sculpting. The profile is similar, with muscular haunches, long hood with short overhang, and swept roofline trailing off in a long overhang. A long wheelbase (surpassing that of luxury sedans such as the Audi A4, BMW 4 Gran Coupe, Infiniti Q50, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz CLS) provides balance to the stance and a spacious cabin for five occupants.
“A true gran Turismo — a car for spirited long-distance driving — is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace,” notes Gregory Guillaume, chief designer at Kia Motors Europe. “The Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey. It’s about passion.”
Power comes from a choice of two engines — a standard 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder making an estimated 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque (available from 1,400 – 4,000 rpm), and an available 3.3-litre twin-turbo V-6 expected to produce 365 hp and max torque of 376 lb-ft.
Both team with 8-speed automatics, controlling the rear wheels or optionally all four. Speaking of wheels, the 2.0-litre engine car gets 18-inch alloy wheels and the 3.3 rides on 19-inchers.
The MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension has been tuned to provide optimal feedback, while keeping the ride smooth and comfortable. Stinger also features Kia’s first driver-controlled 5-mode (Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart) ride-damping and vehicle handling system called Dynamic Stability Damping Control.
The headroom-rich interior features low-slung deeply contoured seats, with the driver’s seat housing air-cell bladders in the seatback and side bolsters for optimal long-distance support and comfort. It faces a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and, beyond it, a gauge cluster with a combination of analog gauges ringed in metal bookending a digital read-out for the trip computer and performance figures.
Three sound systems are offered — The base 6-speaker system with a 7-inch haptic touchscreen with the latest version of UVO in the 2.0T, a standard 9-speaker system with an external amp in the 3.3-litre twin turbo, and an available 720-watt premium Harman/Kardon audio system with 15 speakers and Kia’s first under-seat subwoofers under the front seats. A wireless smartphone charge pad is located in the centre console.
Driving aids include new Kia-first Driver Attention Alert technology, forward collision assistance with pedestrian detection and automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, head-up display, blind-spot detection, lane keeping assist, and rear cross traffic alert.