It’s been long overdue, but we’re finally going to talk about the Korean car that has been built to take on the iconic BMW 3 Series – the new Stinger GT. A rear-wheel drive grand tourer that was built and tested under the leadership of Kia’s Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, Albert Biermann.
Biermann used to head the M Division at BMW so there’s probably no one better qualified to develop a car to rival the 3 Series. Before we get to the engine options on this new Stinger, let’s take a closer look at the design which is of a classic grand tourer, instead of an all-out sports car. It has four doors and can seat five and their luggage which already puts it in our favourite category – practicality with driving pleasure. The Stinger GT is based on the GT Concept that was showcased at the Frankfurt auto show back in 2011 and has gran turismo proportions with its long bonnet, short front overhang, cabin pushed to the back, long rear overhang and a broad muscular stance. The sportiness comes from the tiger-nose grille between the intricate-looking headlamps, the large lower grille and air intake, dark chrome highlights and a bold rear diffuser with quad exhausts (twin exhausts on the diesel variants).
It’s got some clever aero bits too like the air curtains at the front and the gills behind the rear wheel arches. The interior is neat too with plenty of leather while the seats are snug and enveloping with the overall finish giving a luxury feel to the cabin. The wing-shaped dashboard features the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with an aluminium finish on the centre console. The driver’s information cluster is a 7.0-inch TFT LCD screen with a customisable HUD while the top-variants offer a 360-degree around-view monitor.
Now onto what makes the Stinger GT so special – the engine. Well, engines as it comes with a few choices of which the relatively boring ones are the 2.2-litre CRDi diesel unit and the 2.0-litre T-GDi unit producing 197bhp/440Nm and 244bhp/353Nm respectively. The big-boy is the one that makes all the difference which is a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 tuned to produce 365bhp and 510Nm of torque which allows for a 0-96kph time of 4.7 seconds making it the quickest Kia yet. All variants send the power to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic gearbox that offers five different shift and throttle programmes accessible by the car’s drive mode selector. It also has a limited slip differential for some sideways action without necessarily binning the heavy grand tourer into a hedge. In the US, Kia is offering the Stinger GT with both rear- and all-wheel drive, the latter featuring a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system to offer grip and traction by distributing power depending on the conditions.
It’s a grand tourer still so it has to be comfortable too over long journeys while being fun to drive and so Kia has equipped it with an appropriate suspension setup – fully independent through MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link setup with double wishbones at the rear. The top-spec V6 GT S variant, however, gets adaptive Dynamic Stability Damping Control as well as Brembo brakes.
The Stinger GT is well-equipped with driver safety tech and driver assist tech with features like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Kep Assist and Blind Spot Detection. It has plenty of cubby holes and USB ports including wireless conductive charging in front in the top trim.
With Kia entering the Indian market very soon, it’s unlikely they will bring the Stinger GT here at a price that is even close to affordable, but in the West, it’s already got a lot of people sitting up and taking notice. Many people who are now looking beyond the Kia badge and experiencing exactly what the Stinger GT is and what a punch it packs.
In terms of direct competitors, here’s a quick overview of the performance numbers:
Audi S4 – 349bhp; 500Nm; AWD only
BMW 440i Gran Coupe M Sport – 326bhp; 450Nm; RWD (a step above the 3 Series even)
Jaguar XE S – 340bhp; 450Nm; RWD (supercharged beats turbocharged, even if less power)
Mercedes-AMG C43 – 367bhp; 519Nm; AWD only (bit more power, nicer interior, three-pointed star on the bonnet)
How about a hot hatch? Like the Ford Focus RS – 345bhp; 475Nm; AWD (way cheaper and easier around the city)
Or even a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG – 375bhp; 475Nm; AWD (bit more power, nicer interior, three-pointed star on the bonnet)
What do you think of the Kia Stinger GT? Are you impressed by the new performance cars from the Hyundai Motor Group? Would you pick the Stinger over a Beemer? Share your thoughts in the comments below the gallery.