A STING IN THE TALE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The Kia Stinger takes the South Korean maker into premium brand executive territory for the very first time. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 35
Kia is taking German executive models head-on with this classily-styled Stinger, a 'gran turismo' high performance five-door coupe flagship model that does nothing less than set out to completely change your perceptions of the brand.
Backgroundword count: 176
The Kia Stinger is a five-door 'gran tourer' coupe executive model that's been six years in the making. It is based on the brand's 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show 'GT Concept' prototype and for a long time following that unveiling, there were periods when it seemed as though Stinger would never make it into production form. Kia senior management were always enthusiastic about the idea though: they simply wanted to wait until the time was right. Perhaps we can see why. The Stinger is, after all, something of a game-changer for Kia and it's hard to believe that many customers for a luxury model like this with such an exalted price tag could have been found even two or three years ago. Now though, it's a car to convince people, if anyone still needs convincing, that the company has put behind it the days when it was a value-driven brand mainly concerned with durability and practicality. Those attributes are still important, but Kias are now highly desirable in their own right. The Stinger aims to epitomise that.
Driving Experienceword count: 200
Entry-level 'GT-Line' and 'GT-Line S' Stinger models are powered by either a 244bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder T-GDi engine or a 197bhp 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel. They're both reasonably fleet, the 2.0-litre variant capable of 60mph in 5.8s en route to 149mph. With the diesel, the readings drop to 7.3s and 143mph, but an increase in torque from 353 to 440Nm means that in real world driving, the CRDi variant will probably feel much quicker. It's the top 'GTS' variant though, that should really get the juices following, this derivative featuring a potent twin-turbo 365bhp 3.3-litre V6 T-GDi engine beneath the bonnet, this variant capable of taking the car from standstill to 60mph in only 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 168mph where allowed. All models drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with five different shift and throttle programmes and the option of full manual control using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. The 'GT-S' has variable gear ratio steering and electronic suspension which can be set to one of five modes. In the 'Sport' or 'Sport+' driving settings, the engine emits an exciting growl. In fact, this car is almost everything you wouldn't expect a Kia to be.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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