Let’s face it, when people hear the brand Kia they think of furry gerbils and boxy, front-wheel-drive miniature milk trucks. The Korean car maker has built its reputation on economical, value oriented vehicles targeting the younger driver. The 2018 Kia Stinger bumps that trend in a bold and sophisticated way.
Believe it or not the new Kia Stinger was built to compete with venerable models like the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series Grand Coupe; it can even go toe to toe with Porsche’s Panamera. We kid you not!
In fact, shortly after revealing the Stinger GT concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, management gave it the green light to go to production and began hiring some of the industry’s best (think Albert Biermann -Vice President of Engineering at BMW M Automobiles) to make the concept a reality.
Following in the footsteps of BMW and Mercedes Benz, Kia chose a more balanced rear-wheel-drive configuration for its new touring sedan – a far cry from the typical Kia’s front-wheel-drive configuration – and added MacPherson struts up front and a five link rear suspension. Add to this Kia’s patented Dynamic Stability Damping Control and you’ve got a platform that can be adjusted for both sport and comfort.
Suspension aside, if your goal is to compete with the likes of BMW and Audi, you had better put some power under the hood. The standard model Stinger is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder that generates 252 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque.
The Stinger GT get twin turbos mated with a 3.3 litre V-6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque; enough to scoot from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and deliver top-end speeds in excess of 160 mph.
The Stinger does not skimp when it comes to creature comfort either. After all, this is a touring sedan. The Stinger is available with all the technology and driver assist features you would expect from an upscale sport sedan. From adaptive cruise control and high-beams to heated and cooled front seats. All of this is wrapped in hand-stitched leather, (including the heated steering wheel) and high quality materials.
Safety features include a top-down 360-degree parking camera, blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic monitoring, forward collision avoidance, and lane-keep assist.
The infotainment system is intuitive and responsive and comes equipped with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The bottom-line: This is not your college student’s Kia. It is a true Grand Touring sedan with that will make you think that you are driving a much more expensive automobile on par with BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz and you can have one for under $50,000. Oh yeah, it will also smoke a Porsche Panamera from 0-60 by a full second.