KIA STINGER AIMED DOWNUNDER

Kia_Stinger_frontSouth Korean marque Kia is running red hot at the moment. It’s showing the rest of the world its quality credentials according to JD Power research, sales are soaring in Australia, and new models are coming out almost by the month.

Now comes the biggest news of all, especially if you’re a keen driver who’s a bit light on in cash. The new Kia Stinger high-performance hatch has just been confirmed for Australia.

Kia Stinger was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show and is certainly a long way from being just another sensible hatchback at a modest price. This is a sleek, rear-wheel-drive (yes RWD!) sports hatch aimed at taking on the big sporty sedans from Europe and Japan.

Very much a global car, the Stinger was designed in Kia’s European studio in Frankfurt under the hand of the company’s famed head of design, Peter Schreyer.

Styling a four-door isn’t easy but the sleek shape works extremely well, from the so-called ‘Schreyer grille’ flanked by very slim headlights and continues back over a louvered bonnet to a sloping roof, and sculpted doors. There have to be questions about headroom in the rear, hopefully we can answer them soon.

The Stinger will arrive in Australia with the 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Work on the engine is at the final stages of detail design, but it’s expected the V6 will produce 272 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 510 Nm of torque starting as low as 1300 rpm and going through to 4500rpm.

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Insiders are saying they anticipate a zero to 100 km/h dash of 5.1 seconds. At the back of their minds might be hopes of getting it into the four-second bracket. Time will tell.

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine will be sold in overseas markets and seems very likely for Australia as well.

Extensive on-road testing continues to be carried out in many places, including around the famed Nurburgring circuit in Germany.

To really cap it off for we downunder drivers, the Stinger will undergo further ride and handling refinements in Australia over the next few months to ensure it’s suits our roads and – even more importantly, our drivers’ tastes.

We would expect the V6 Kia Stinger to priced in the high 40Ks, with the four-cylinder, if it does come, to be in the low 40s, perhaps even in the top end of the 30s if Kia’s head office can be persuaded to sharpen its pencils.

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Speaking with a great deal of enthusiasm of the upcoming Stinger, Kia Motors Australia chief, Damien Meredith, says, “This is a car you cannot help but be excited by. It has all the attributes to appeal to the Australian enthusiast – exciting design, a high-tech performance engine and gearbox combination, and rear-wheel drive.”

Kia Stinger is expected to arrive in Australian showrooms in the third quarter of this year. Stay tuned for further information and driving reviews as they come to hand.

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