The Kia Stinger, for Australian buyers, was seen as somewhat of a torch bearer that emerged at a time opportune to continue where Holden’s VF Commodore was nearing its end, one to be the default choice for lovers of the (relatively) affordable rear-drive four-door saloon.
For the most part, it’s filled that role with aplomb, even managing to carve out that same niche in other parts of the world, especially in its turbocharged V6 guise, where its 3.3-litre displacement translates to 272kW and 510Nm.
At the 2019 New York Motor Show, one of the less glamourised unveils at the Kia booth was the Stinger GTS in its fiery “Federation” orange exterior. The limited edition version of the performance saloon also premiered a new feature that somewhat detracts from its unique position in the market: all-wheel drive.
Only 800 units of the car are planned for production, with a few likely to find its way to Australian shores sometime later this year - hopefully Kia Australia will release an official comment on this soon with the numbers and dates. However, do expect to see AWD Kia Stingers becoming a thing starting in 2019. After all, the much-related Genesis G70 luxury saloon by the company’s premium sister marque already offers buyers a choice of driven wheels.
In the Stinger, Kia is calling the system dynamic all-wheel drive (D-AWD), which may or may not mean anything substantial apart from being a new term for their marketing department to exploit. Under the right conditions, up to 60 percent of drive can be sent to the front axle, while up to 100 percent can be sent rearward.
Strangely, the automaker has not mentioned if the addition of an extra pair of driven wheels has contributed positively to the car’s acceleration over the standard RWD layout. The rest of the engine and drivetrain is unchanged, and an 8-speed automatic transmission is still relied upon for shifts, so perhaps the added weight cancels out any improvements to its 0-100km/h times, for example.
Apart from the unique paint job and discreet AWD system, the Stinger GTS can also be differentiated by spying the carbon fibre inserts that now outline the car’s tiger nose grille, side mirror caps, and side vents.
Inside, the leather trim and upholstery has been interspersed with Alcantara while the standard headliner material has been swapped out for a more premium-feeling suede-like Chamude. Also equipped with the GTS are a sunroof, wireless phone charging pad, and a 720W Harman/Kardon audio system.