Kia has announced that their new flagship performance car, the Stinger, will start its global showroom rollout starting in Q4 2017. And yes, that will include Australia. The car is a 5-door liftback that was developed from the start to be a sporty rear-driven (or AWD) machine, a project overseen by former BMW M vice president Albert Biermann, man who now also heads up Hyundai’s N performance division.
This marks a 6 year journey - one that very few cars take - from daring concept (called the GT) at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show to faithfully recreated production car in 2017. And in the process has done a great deal to alter our perceptions of the Korean automaker. Now they’re selling a legitimate performance car that can stand on the alongside the likes of the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series while potentially undercutting them significantly on price.
The Stinger that will arrive on local shores won't include the single diesel engine that will be sold in Europe and elsewhere. Rather, we will receive an all-petrol range that will start with a turbocharged 2.0-litre Theta GDI four-cylinder with 182kW and 353Nm that kicks in from 1,400rpm and sustained to 4000rpm. Paired to this motor, it will sprint to 100km/h from rest in roughly 6 seconds flat.
However, the engine configuration that’s at the centre of the hype surrounding the Stinger lies under the bonnet of the top-spec GT, a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol that’s sends 272kW and 510Nm to all-four corners and allows the century sprint to be slashed to 4.9 seconds, making it the quickest-accelerating car Kia has yet produced. And with a claimed top speed of 270km/h, it might also be their fastest car. Period.
However, the Stinger GT we will be receiving will likely not be able to reach that sub 5-second acceleration time as Kia Australia has chosen to keep the Australia-bound range rear-drive only. It won’t be as mind-bindingly grippy mid-corner, but should make up for the all-weather ability with the sheer entertainment value of a front-engine rear-drive layout.
Transmitting power for either engine will be an 8-speed torque converter automatic with steering-mounted paddle shifters. It was developed in-house to provide rewardingly immediate shifts, smooth operation, and strong fuel economy.
Prices are expected to run between $40,000 and $50,000, with exact numbers to be made available closer to the late ’17 launch date.