The Kia Stinger was arguably the biggest surprise at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Originally previewed by the GT concept in design and by the GT4 Stinger Concept in name, the real-wheel drive sports sedan is the highest-performance production vehicle ever made by Kia.
The Korean automaker isn’t ashamed to pit the Stinger against the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and, indeed, benchmarked the best from Germany when crafting it. In fact, the car was designed in Frankfurt and spent countless hours on the legendary Nurburgring circuit to fine-tune its handling.
Albert Biermann, head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, had the following to say. He previously worked for BMW:
“I think for the Kia brand, the Stinger is like a special event. Because nobody expects such a car, not just the way it looks but also the way it drives. It’s a whole different animal.”
With a wheelbase that measures 114.4 inches long and an overall length and width of 190.2 and 73.6 inches, respectively, the Stinger is longer than the BMW 4 Gran Coupe, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS and GS, and Mercedes CLS. It rides on a new chassis that comprises of 55 percent advanced high-strength steel and features a MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension that has been tuned to provide optimal driver feedback.
There is also a new Dynamic Stability Damping Control system — a first for Kia — that’s been programed with five drive modes (Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart) and a rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering system that’s said to return sharp handling.
Powering the regular Stinger is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. Those looking for more output will have the option of a more powerful model packing a twin-turbocharged 3.3L V6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines are connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive can be had for extra money. The former makes use of a mechanical limited slip differential, while the latter features a Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system while the former uses a mechanical limited slip differential.
According to Kia, the V6-powered Stinger can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 167mph.
The long list of available safety and convenience features includes emergency braking, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.
To my eye, the Kia Stinger is very attractive with its traditional sports sedan proportions and coupe=like profile. It’s a surprising vehicle from Kia, especially when considering car shoppers have been overlooking sedan for front-drive crossovers.
Does Kia appear to have a winner on its hands? Would you choose the Stinger over a BMW 4 Gran Coupe, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS and GS, and Mercedes CLS? Let us know in the comment section below.