This week I have been enjoying the Kia Stinger GT-S.
Kia describes the Stinger as a halo performance model. They say it is a GT car and not a hard-edged sports car.
I read a very cool quote from chief designer Gregory Guillaume (Gee-ome) which said: “the Stinger has nothing to do with being first to arrive. This car is all about the journey. it’s about passion.”
Stinger is a new direction for Kia, taking them into a new market sector. A 5 door, 5 seater fastback style grand Tourer. It is also their first Rear Wheel Drive car in the UK.
Our Stinger is the GT-S which means it has the all aluminium, 3.3 litre twin-turbo V6 engine, producing 361bhp and 510Nm or torque.
Interestingly, it makes peak power at 6,000rpm but…..makes its torque between 1500rpm and 4,500pm. 1500rpm! What this means is the engine is very tractable and you don’t need to rev it to get the most out of it, which is how a GT car should be. 0-62mph comes up in just 4.7 seconds and the top speed is 168mph
The Interior is beautiful. It’s not brash or ostentatious, it’s elegant and dignified. I would describe it as somewhere between a dull Audi interior and an unnecessarily conspicuous Mercedes Interior.
Seats, armrests, steering wheel, dashboard and gear shifter are all upholstered in plush Nappa leather. The centre console, Interior door handles & pedals have a brushed aluminium finish and there is a beautiful suede headlining.
Both front seats are electrically adjustable and heated and cooled and the driver’s seat has a huge amount of electric adjustment for lumbar and bolsters.
I actually found the seats firm but fantastically comfortable over a long distance. There’s plenty of room and they are very supportive.
Suspension on the Kia is excellent. McPherson struts at the front with multi-link rear suspension. It’s also Blessed with DSDC: Electronically controlled, Dynamic, Stability, Damping, Control
The car adjusts the suspension on the move, controlled by acceleration, braking and steering sensors. The driver can change the characteristics of the whole car by using the Mode Selector on the centre console.
There are 5 modes: Smart – Eco – Normal – Sport – Sport+.
Each position of the drive mode selector noticeably changes the characteristic of the car.
I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of thing before. Steering, gearbox and throttle become more responsive, suspension firms up and the whole car takes on a more sporty attitude.
In the Kia Stinger, the modes feel like well spaced gear ratios. They offer a very progressive, increased level of driver involvement by reducing the electronic intervention and increasing the fun factor, culminating in the full fat Sport+ mode.
However, even Sport+ has some electronic involvement. It will go sideways but the car still has your back.
If you really want to be a no holes barred hooligan, you can completely turn off traction control and stability control with another button on the centre console.
Brakes are fantastic. Kia have blessed the Stinger with 350mm discs on the front and 340mm on the rear, both with massive calipers. The braking force is epic and the feel is excellent. When you first press the brake pedal, Initial bite is quite gentle. There is no snatching or jerky braking, it’s nice and gentle. When you apply more pressure, the braking force increases significantly. In short, the brakes are excellent, they are the best of both worlds: easy to use around town, and provide immense stopping power when needed.
As a GT car, the Stinger really works. You can easily cover hundreds of miles in comfort, cocooned in a beautifully built cockpit, accompanied by the sweet but subtle song of the all aluminium V6. Slip the drive mode selector to ‘comfort’ and enjoy the relaxed, brisk journey.
Turn the drive mode selector to Sport+ and you can drive it like you stole it. If you turn traction control off, you can pretend you’re a bad guy in a movie being chased by the superhero. It’s fast, poised, you can slide the rear end at will and be a total hooligan if you want.
The chassis is fantastic. Whether you are cruising in comfort or being a lunatic in sport+, the car is never nervous and always feels predictable and controllable.
One of the most striking features of the Stinger is the price. This 3.3 GT-S is the top of the range car with all the toys. It is only £41,646.24. There are very few options available, the standard car has all the toys as standard.
To get something like an Audi S5 with a similar specification, you would be somewhere in the region of £62,000. I would have the Kia in a heartbeat over the Audi.
If I had a concern, it would be over residual value. I would expect a BMW or Audi to have a stronger residual but, I don’t know.
This Stinger is very, very good and in my opinion, better than any financially equivalent GT car.