The Stinger fastback sports sedan is touted by some as being the South Korean automaker’s Commodore and Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith, says he is confident the Stinger has the attributes which will endear it to Australian drivers across a wide demographic.
Mated with Kia’s own eight-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels via a mechanical limited-slip differential, the latter gives the car its high-performance pedigree with a sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, using launch control, and a top speed of 270 km/h.
Two engines are offered, more on these later. Each engine grade comes in three specification levels – S, Si and GT-Line for the 2.0-litre and S, Si and GT for the 3.3-litre. On test was the Stinger 330Si.
If the Stinger bears a strong resemblance in profile to the modern European sports sedan it is no coincidence as the Kia design chief Peter Schreyer once held a lofty design post at German automobile maker Audi.
And Gregory Guillaume, Kia Europe’s chief designer, through his passion for the gran turismo cars he admired as a child, played no small part in the evolution of the Stinger from the original GT Concept.
With designers opting for an elegant, athletic look as opposed to aggressive and brutal proportions, the Stinger, together with its rear-drive set-up, delivers a spacious passenger cabin and large boot capable of carrying two full-size pieces of luggage or golf bags.
Distinctive touches include Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille and a rear valance incorporating two twin oval exhaust pipes. Front air curtains, wheel-arch vents, smooth underbody and rear diffuser take care of aerodynamics.
The long wheelbase, four-doors and fastback leave good front and rear legroom. The low seating position provides ample head room for those in the front but the fastback tail can leave rear seat passengers stooping slightly.
Contoured seats are available with Nappa leather (the Si has black leather trim as standard), while the driver’s seat can be had with four-way air-cell lumbar support in the seatback and side bolsters for added comfort.
Bluetooth is standard across the Stinger range, while smartphones can be charged via a pad in the centre console. Quality audio is delivered through a nine-speaker system with 8-inch screen.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Stinger is available with a choice of two petrol engines – a single turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 182 kW and 353 Nm. Our 330 Si test car had the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 ‘Lambda II’ engine that produces peak power of 272 kW at 6000 rpm and 510 Nm of torque across a broad range of 1300 to 4500 rpm.
The Stinger features Kia’s second-generation eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines.
New for Kia is Driver Attention Alert, which monitors several inputs from vehicle and driver, sounding a warning chime and displaying a graphic in the instrument binnacle if it senses a lapse in concentration from the driver.
Kia Stinger has a head-up display allowing the driver to view key driving information on the windscreen close to eye level. Info includes speed, turn-by-turn navigation guidance, cruise control and blind spot detection information.
Standard in Stinger is Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management, producing stability under braking and cornering if it detects loss of traction.
Other features include forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian recognition, advanced cruise control, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, 360-degree camera for low-speed manoeuvres, blind spot monitor and high beam assist.
The Stinger features a high proportion of advanced high strength steel in the body, as well as seven standard airbags (driver and front passenger, front side, curtain and driver knee airbags).
The high-performance character of the new Kia Stinger comes from the 3.3-litre twin turbo V6 engine’s ability to call on 510 Nm of torque across a broad band (1300-4500 rpm) gives the car spritely acceleration, especially useful in overtaking and merging in traffic.
Dynamic Stability Damping Control, can be tuned via Drive Mode Select depending on road conditions and driving style. Drivers can choose from five drive modes – Eco, Sport, Comfort, Smart and Custom – via a knob on the centre console.
With the test car mainly restricted to suburban streets, fuel consumption was high at 14.5 litres per 100 kilometres. This dropped dramatically to 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres on motorways. The official consumption is 10.2 on the combined urban / highway cycle.
Stinger’s ride and handling was intensively tested on Germany’s famous Nurburgring Nordschleife, while the Australian version was further honed by the Kia Motors Australia product team to provide compatibility with Australia’s unique road conditions.
While there is no arguing with the Stinger 330Si claims as a genuine high-spec sports sedan, there is still the lingering doubts as to whether shelling out 60 grand for a Korean car is wise, until maybe the seven-year warranty is waved in front of the potential buyer.
AT A GLANCE
Stinger 200S: $45,990 (automatic)
Stinger 200Si: $52,990 (automatic)
Stinger GT-Line: $55,990 (automatic)
Stinger 330S: $48,990 (automatic)
Stinger 330Si: $55,990 (automatic)
Stinger GT: $59,990 (automatic)v
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Stinger 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 DOHC T-GDI petrol 8-sp auto sports sedan)
Capacity: 3.342 litres
Maximum Power: 272 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 510 Nm @ 1300-4500 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 239 g/km
DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4830 mm
Wheelbase: 2905 mm
Width: 1870 mm
Height: 1400 mm
Turning Circle: 11.2 metres
Tare weight: 1780 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Seven years / unlimited kilometres