If there’s any doubt in your mind that the Kia Stinger isn’t a legitimate performance car, take it from somebody who dismissed it as over-hyped and over-priced before they even drove it. The short answer is, it’s worthy of the praise it’s been getting. The long answer as to why it deserves the acclaim is in the review below.
We’ve tested the top of the range Stinger GT – that’s the one with the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, and the one which is almost without rival at this price point in the market.
Is there anything interesting about its design?
Hell yes. All Kias look the business these days and when the Stinger landed this year there wouldn’t have been one single person who thought it wasn’t stunning. There’s that angry face with its nostrilled bonnet, the fastback profile leading down to the boot lid spoiler, the quad exhaust – it’s an aggro but good looking four-door and what’s not to like about that?
How do you spot a GT from the other grades? From the outside it’s tricky: only the sunroof and the spoke design of the wheels distinguishes it from the Si grade below it.
If you stare through the window you can spot the GT by its flat-bottomed steering wheel, head-up display, and 7.0-inch TFT display between the speedo and tacho. That 8.0-inch centre display screen is the same one that’s in the Si grade.
That means the cabins of all grades of GT are much the same, but that’s no bad thing because a Stinger’s insides are beautiful, with a clean and smooth dash, and chrome trim elements; all simple in a minimalist style with all controls easy to use.
At 4830mm long, 1870mm wide and 1400mm tall, the Stinger GT is 31mm shorter than the Superb, and about the same width, but with a roofline that’s 68mm lower.
How practical is the space inside?
The Kia Stinger is a large five-seater with a long 2905mm wheelbase. Legroom in the backseats is excellent – I’m 191cm tall and can sit behind my driving position with about 30mm between my knees and the seatback.
That fastback roofline looks great from the outside. Inside, headroom is reduced, but still adequate.
The cargo capacity of the GT’s boot is 406 litres. That’s not the biggest boot space in the class and in comparison, the Superb’s luggage capacity is 625 litres.
For your beverage convenience there’s two cupholders up front and two in the back, while the doors are appointed with bottle holders. You’ll also find a big centre console storage bin under the centre armrest.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
How do you feel about paying $60K for a Kia? The list price for the GT is $59,990, which makes it the most expensive Stinger in the range, but that means it also comes with standard features galore.
The GT gets an 8.0-inch display with sat nav and reversing camera, 15-speaker stereo, leather sports seats with GT logo (ventilated and heated in the front, and power adjustable driver’s), sunroof, head-up display, adaptive cruise control, proximity key, front and rear parking sensors, paddle shifters, puddle lamps, alloy-faced pedals and door scuffs, LED headlights and 19-inch wheels.
The GT also comes with an impressive array of safety equipment which you can read about below.
What cars would you compare the Stinger GT to? Definitely look at the Skoda Superb 206 Sportline ($58,490) and Holden’s new (ZB) VXR Commodore ($55,990) - both are all-wheel drive not rear-drive like the Stinger.
The closest to the Stinger GT from a rear-wheel drive and turbo V6 standpoint is Infiniti’s Q50 Sport Premium at $70,400 and the Lexus IS 350 Luxury for $65,101.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
This is not a Kia Rio. The Stinger GT is powered by a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 272kW/510Nm, which is enough to hurl it from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds. That's impressive grunt and straight-line performance.
You might want to know, too, that the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four cylinder Stinger makes 182kW/353Nm, and that’s nothing to scoff at either.
Shifting gears is a Kia-built eight speed automatic transmission which sends drive to the rear wheels. It’s great to see the Stinger has a mechanical limited slip differential.
How much fuel does it consume?
Kia says the Stinger GT’s fuel consumption is 10.2L/100km after a combination of urban and local roads.
My mileage was 14.3L/100km, but at least half of my time behind the wheel was spent in soul destroying traffic which uses more fuel than sitting on 90km/h on a highway.
Unlike more prestigious makes, the Stinger GT is happy with regular unleaded.
What's it like to drive?
The Kia Stinger GT performs impressively. There’s almost 300kW being sent to the rear wheels, and the GT's great chassis copes easily with that whopping amount of mumbo. Grip from ContiSport Contact tyres (225mm at the front and 255 on the rear) is excellent, although their low profile means a slightly firmer ride than the those on the S grade.
Still, the ride is comfortable and composed thanks to our Aussie Stingers getting local suspension tuning, while handling is also good. The GT’s V6 suits the grand tourer nature of this big sedan perfectly, with shove which can be opened like a firehouse on the highway but the car’s still agile and sharp enough to be capable in tight, twisty turn country.
Only the GT comes with damping control, too, allowing the suspension to be firmed up for flatter cornering.
Great steering, a low seating position, brakes which rush in to pull you up fast and an excellent head up display complete a fantastic package which could school many prestige offerings out there.
Get used to people gawking, too – they love it, but have no idea what they’re looking at.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
This year the Kia Stinger GT was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating. There’s a healthy swag of advanced safety technology on board the GT, with AEB, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert coming standard.
You should know the entry grade S in both the 3.3-litre and 2.0-litre versions of the Stinger scored just three ANCAP stars because it lacks AEB, lane keeping technology, and a speed assistance system.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?
Kia’s seven-year/unlimited kilometrewarranty covers the Stinger GT. Kia recommends the GT is serviced every 12 months or 10,000km.
A capped price servicing plan means you’ll pay $249 for the first service, then $434 for the second, $317 for the third, $617 for the fourth, then $281, $562, $617, $281, $562, and $696 for the seventh visit.
In my review of the Stinger 200S I confessed that before I’d even driven the car I’d decided there was no way it could be worthy of the hype that buzzed around it. I was wrong. It not only deserved the hype, but it far exceeded my expectations. And that was the lowest spec with the smaller engine.
Now the GT had arrived to rub it in even further with more grunt, more features and better advanced safety technology.
Yes, $60K may feel like a lot to spend before you even get to the on-road costs, but it only seems that way because it’s a Kia. Snap out of it – this is the only rear-wheel drive four-door with an engine that punches out this much grunt on the market at this price. Plus, if you were to spend the same amount on a luxury German ride, you’d be getting a lot less features and nowhere near the performance.
If it makes you feel a bit better, step down to the Si grade, it’s five grand less and comes with the same engine, AEB and most of the GT’s features.
This article originally appeared on CarsGuide.