THOROUGHBRED WITH STING IN THE TAIL

Kia_Stinger_frontLike a scorpion, the sting of the latest Kia sports sedan is in the tail, where 272 kW and 510 Nm are delivered to the road, and hence to the rear wheels of the Stinger 330S.

Mated with Kia’s own-design 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 claimed sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, using launch control, and a top speed of 270 km/h.

This has led to its uptake by police around Australia – from Queensland to Western Australia and the Northern Territory – as an operational Intercept and Road Command vehicle, nudging out the traditional now-extinct Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.

There is a Stinger 2.0 200S four-cylinder automatic, which comes to market at $47,190, followed by the 2-litre GT-Line automatic, $56,290; Stinger 3.3 V6 330S automatic, $50,190 (the test vehicle) and 3.3 V6 GT automatic, $60,790.

STYLING
Critics have uncharitably opined that the Stinger can’t make its mind up whether it wants to be a luxury sedan or a sports car. It’s no coincidence the Stinger has stamped on it the European sports sedan character, as Kia design chief Peter Schreyer made his name with German automaker Audi.

However, Kia says designers toned down any brutal characteristics, combining elegance with an athletic look, which together with rear drive, delivers a roomy passenger cabin and spacious boot, the latter to take bulky luggage or a couple of golf bags.

Stinger has Kia signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille, bold LED headlamps, two twin oval exhaust pipes. A flat underbody and rear diffuser enhance aerodynamics.

Kia_Stinger_rear

INTERIOR
A long wheelbase (2905 mm) and fastback rather than sedan-style rear leave plenty of front and rear leg room for passengers, plus a driving position fit for spirited purpose.

The driver has use of a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a single instrument binnacle with a combination of analogue and digital instrumentation. Large gauges are ringed in ‘metal’ and feature stand-out red needles.

Contoured seats are available with leather-look trim, while the driver can take advantage of an optional four-way air-cell lumbar support and side bolsters for increased comfort.

INFOTAINMENT
The dashboard’s centre console is split into two areas, the infotainment controls sitting below a large colour touchscreen, while climate and ventilation controls are positioned below.

An 8-inch touch screen control centre with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth compatibility and music streaming backed up by nine speakers, including two under-seat woofers.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Stinger 330S is fitted with a twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6, which stumps up 272 kW and 510 Nm.

Kia_Stinger_interior

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 claimed sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, using launch control, and a top speed of 270 km/h.

SAFETY
Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management ensures stability under braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control if it detects a loss of traction.

Other features include forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian recognition, advanced smart cruise control, lane keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection and high beam assist.

The Stinger’s passive safety is underpinned by the body structure’s high proportion of advanced high strength steel, as well as seven standard airbags (driver and front passenger, front side, curtain and driver knee airbags).

DRIVING
With its 3.3-litre V6 there’s the promise of a fun drive. In day-to-day running, the V6’s muted engine and exhaust note were in line with the luxury sedan character.

A word about the launch mode. Left foot on the brake and gearshift in drive; flatten the accelerator pedal and release the brake, and whoosh. The drivetrain goes Ga-Ga with an accompanying turbo-boosted engine / exhaust noise.

There’s a firm shove on the back as the car takes off and I would not argue with the claimed zero-to-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds.

With official combined urban / highway fuel consumption of 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres, the test car came up with 13.5 around town and 6.2 on motorway runs.

All Stingers have an eight-speed automatic. Sadly, it often switches to a higher gear too soon. Using the steering wheel-mounted paddles brings shifts to a more satisfying, slicker response.

Brembo brakes are up to the task of reining the ample ‘horses’.

Ride and handling were honed at Germany’s famous Nurburgring Nordschleife and by the KMAu product team to provide optimum compatibility with Australia’s road conditions.

The lane keeping assist is benign, offering a gently nudge of the steering wheel when the car wanders off the straight and narrow, unlike some systems that rudely intrude on the steering wheel at the slightest movement.

Auto-levelling and dipping headlights switched between searchlight main beam and candle-power illumination seemingly at random, regardless of the visibility ahead.

A steeply-sloped rear window presents a limited view for the driver and misses out on a rear wiper, which just about wipes out a clear view behind in wet weather.

Tall passengers have to bend just about double to slot under the low, swoopy roofline to get into the rear seats. The boot is generous with depth but not so with height.

SUMMING UP
The Stinger 300S is a combination of Kia’s thoroughly sorted ride-and-handling package for Australia and the best of European sports sedan design and comfort. With a seven-year warranty, what’s not to like?

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Kia Stinger 2.0 200 S automatic $47,190
Kia Stinger 2.0 GT-Line automatic $56,290
Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 330S automatic $50,190
Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 GT automatic $60,790
Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 GT Night Sky Edition automatic $63,500
Kia Stinger Carbon Edition automatic $64,790
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Stinger 330S 3.3-litre twin turbo V6 petrol engine, 8sp automatic)
Capacity: 3342 cc
Configuration: V6
Maximum Power: 272 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 510 Nm @ 1300 and 4500 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 10.2 litres per 100 km
CO2 emissions: 239 g/km

DRIVELINE:
Drivetrain: 8-speed automatic, mechanical LSD

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4830 mm
Width: 1870 mm
Height: 1400 mm
Wheelbase: 2905 mm
Tare weight: 1780 kg
Turning circle: 11.2 m
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

WARRANTY:
7 years / unlimited kilometres

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