The production version of the Kia GT has finally arrived.
Making its official live debut at an exclusive event the night before the 2017 Detroit Auto Show opens its doors, the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger is the long-awaited production version of the GT Concept, which first debuted back in 2011. Let us be clear here: the Stinger is a game changer for Kia and everyone, specifically the German brands, will take notice. There are a couple reasons why, the first being the stunning exterior styling by Kia design chief Peter Schreyer and his team.
Once upon a time, Schreyer worked for VW Group, and his work from there included the first generation Audi TT. The second thing you must know about the Stinger is that its ride and handling development was led by former BMW M (yes, the M division) tuning chief Albert Biermann. Biermann spent over 30 years tuning those M cars, and his experience is invaluable. But back to the Stinger itself: It looks stunning. A true gran turismo. With its long hood, short front overhang and long rear overhang with strong shoulders, the Stinger has those classic rear-wheel-drive proportions. The front air curtains, wheel arch gills, smooth underbody and integrated rear diffuser are all functional by aiding aerodynamic efficiency.
Out back there are four oval exhaust pipes and the front grille is adorned with Kia’s signature "tiger-nose" grille, which rests between LED headlamps. Perhaps what we were most thrilled to see with the exterior is its fastback styling. The interior is also a remarkable step ahead for Kia with optional Nappa leather seats and a handsome dash design with a seven-inch touchscreen and up to 15 speakers with the Harmon Kardon Audio System. There are large, metal-ringed gauges and a color TFT screen between those gauges that relays performance data like cornering G-forces and lap times. Speaking of which, this is a pure performance sedan, with considerable development and chassis tuning taking place at the Nurburgring.
Power comes from a choice of two engines: the standard turbocharged-2.0 liter four with an estimated 255 hp at 6,200 rpm and 260 lb-ft of twist available from 1,400-4,000 rpm, or the optional 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, which is expected to produce 365 hp at 6,000 rpm and 376 lb-ft at 1,400-4,500 rpm. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic and buyers can choose either rear- or all-wheel drive. The AWD system, for the record, features a Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control System that monitors driver inputs and road conditions and will automatically apply power and braking force to the appropriate wheels when necessary. Rear-wheel-drive models benefit from a mechanical limited slip differential. Performance?
Kia is targeting a 0-62 mph time of 5.1 seconds and top speed of 167 mph for the twin turbo V6 model. For the record, the Stinger’s wheelbase is longer than that of the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS. Pricing? Still not finalized just yet, but James Bell, Kia’s head of corporate communications, told us he estimates a fully-loaded Stinger will top off at around $45,000, with prices for the turbo four model starting at around $30,000. How do you like them apples, Germany?