Kia Motors UK had a novel way of dealing with the pre-production press car that the company supplied for early tests to publications and video review teams. This Stinger GT in particular, which as appeared in episodes of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, was destined to be shelved - in a manner of speaking.
Either that or be put to the crusher after the kind of abuse it has taken at the hands of road testers. That it was a pre-production unit did not help matters. Not a terribly bright fate for the that particularly hardworking South Korean liftback either way.
Instead of all that, that UK division decided to turn the car into an experimental prototype to see just how far the car’s performance potential would stretch. The result is the Stinger GT420, a stripped-out, highly-modified, track-tuned one-off.
For starters, its 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 has been massaged to 315kW (up from 272kW) while peak torque is raised to 560Nm (an increase of 50Nm). This has been achieved through the aid of a new ECU with new high performance software maps, K&N air filters, and a freer-breathing cat-less exhaust system.
Meanwhile, the ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission’s shift logic software has been tweaked to be more aggressive and overall quicker than its street-friendly tune and has been outfitted with more robust cooling system to compensate for the higher stress. Rather tame so far, all told.
Where the more extreme measures come into play are to do with the extensive weight reduction regimen the Stinger was subjected to. Firstly, its usual alloys were binned for a set from OZ Racing and wrapped in Pirelli Trofeo R tyres while uprated Brembo pads and rotors sit behind each.
Inside, much of the interior has been stripped away. Nearly all the sound deadening and trim material has been removed, as has the airbags, sunroof, and seats; replaced with a pair of Sparco buckets. In total, the GT420 is around 150kg lighter than the showroom model.
At the car’s four corners, new suspension components replace the stock parts - stiffer anti-roll bars front and rear and new springs and dampers from Eibach Pro complete the set, replacing the continuously variable system, while also lowering the car’s ride height significantly.
Kia has not released any numbers to accompany the GT420’s improved performance specification so we’ve no idea what a lightweight 315kW Stinger would be capable of achieving. Though, it is possible that the automaker will be disclosing more details over the coming months. It would be interesting to see how many lessons from this exercise would trickle into a yet quicker version of the production car.