Category Archives: Stinger Articles

Kia, Jaguar Take Home 2019 Canadian Car of the Year Trophies

Nearly 70 members cast more than 1,500 ballots on 55 entries that included last year’s category winners and this year’s new or significantly updated vehicles.

One of the most prestigious auto awards of the year was given out this morning at the Canadian International Auto Show. AJAC’s Canadian Car and Utility of the Year trophies were given out to the Kia Stinger and the Jaguar I-Pace respectively.

Every year, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada presents its Canadian Car and Canadian Utility of the year awards. Nearly 70 members cast more than 1,500 ballots on 55 entries that included last year’s category winners and this year’s new or significantly updated vehicles. This year, voting included not just ballots cast at the annual TestFest gathering of eligible vehicles, but for vehicles driven at home and on the road by journalists located from coast to coast.

The winners in each of this year’s 12 categories were announced last month at the Montreal Auto Show. From the 12 winners, there were three finalists for Canadian Car of the Year and three for Canadian Utility of the Year.

The three finalists for Canadian Car of the Year were the Kia Forte, Kia Stinger, and Volvo V90 R-Design. The winners of the small car, large car, and large premium car categories respectively. On the Utility side, which includes vans, trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, the finalists were the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-5, and Jaguar I-Pace EV for small utility, mid-size utility, and premium EV categories. It was the first time for a full EV to be a finalist for the awards.

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The winner of the 2019 AJAC Canadian Car of the Year award was the Kia Stinger. Kia’s sports sedan took high marks for styling and interior amenities, but also for performance scores like throttle response, engine refinement, and steering and handling.

Michael Kopke, Director of Marketing, KIA Canada accepted the award and said that “this is really exciting for us. We’re celebrating 20 years in Canada… To have Stinger, the halo of our brand to be recognized by the journalists here is a real honour.”

On the utility side, the winner of 2019 AJAC’s Canadian Utility of the Year Award was the Jaguar I-Pace. The all-electric crossover won big points for styling in class voting, but also for the response and performance of its electric powertrain and the ride and handling balance it offered.

The next stage in the awards are the trophies presented to the Best Green Car and Best Green Utility which will be awarded at the Vancouver Auto Show in March.


The Kia Stinger is Canada’s 2019 Car of the Year, according to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC)

  • Kia Stinger qualified for the award after being named AJAC’s Best Large Car in Canada for 2019
  • Kia Forte also qualified for the award after being named AJAC’s Best Small Car in Canada for 2019

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today at the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) in Toronto, the Kia Stinger has been named AJAC’s 2019 Canadian Car of the Year, after being named Best Large Car earlier this year. A grand touring sedan loaded with safety and convenience technologies, the Kia Stinger has found a special place in the heart and driveway of many Canadian drivers and is now even further recognized by many of Canada’s top automotive experts.

“Winning AJAC’s Car of the Year award for the Stinger is a great honour for everyone within the Kia family,” said Michael Kopke, Director of Marketing, Kia Canada. “As a young brand that has come a long way in 20 years here in Canada, we’re grateful to all of AJAC’s voting journalists for taking the time to review our vehicles and recognizing the quality that our brand has put so much focus on.”

For Kia, now celebrating its 20th year in Canada, this year’s AJAC awards demonstrate how far the brand has come in terms of quality, design and consumer-focused technologies and features.

“It’s a great achievement for a vehicle to win one of AJAC’s coveted Canadian Car of the Year awards, but it’s exceptional for the same automaker to make two award-winning vehicles in the same year,” said Mark Richardson, President, Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. “Congratulations to Kia for the well-deserved success of the Stinger and Forte.”

For Canadians that have not yet considered a Kia, the awards are another reason to look at the brand with the ‘Power to Surprise.’ Both vehicles will be on display at this year’s Canadian auto shows and are currently available in dealerships across the country.

More information on Canada’s Car of the Year, Canada’s Best Large Car and the entire Kia lineup can be found at

About the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC)
The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) is an association of professional journalists, writers, photographers, and corporate members whose focus is the automobile and the Canadian automotive industry. Collectively, our primary objectives are to promote, encourage, support, and facilitate professionalism in Canadian automotive journalism and to ensure factual and ethical reporting about the automobile and automotive issues to Canadian consumers. This is achieved through the work of our members and AJAC’s annual vehicle testing and evaluation events, the Canadian Car of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards (CCOTY and CUVOTY), Innovation Awards, and EcoRun.

About Kia Canada Inc.
Kia Canada Inc. (KCI), established in 1999 and celebrating 20 years in Canada, is a subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) based in Seoul, South Korea. Kia’s full line of award-winning vehicles offers world-class quality and customer satisfaction through a network of 193 dealers nationwide. The company employs 170 people in its Mississauga, Ontario headquarters, various locations across Canada and at its regional office in Montreal, Quebec. Kia’s brand slogan “The Power to Surprise” represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation. From compact to crossover to industry leading EV’s, every Kia delivers an extraordinary combination of precision engineering, outstanding performance, innovative features, and advanced safety systems. Having sold close to one million vehicles, popular Canadian models include Soul, Forte, Sportage, Sorento and Stinger. To learn more about the Kia advantage,

For more information about Kia Canada and our products, please visit our Media Centre at or contact:

Mark James
Corporate Communications Manager
Kia Canada Inc.
T: 905-755-6251

Frederic Tremblay (Quebec Inquiries)
Directeur relations publiques et communications – Région de l’est
Kia Canada Inc.
T: 514-955-0505 x 2209

The Kia Stinger is one of the best cars I’ve driven all year — here’s how it matches up against its competition from BMW


  • The Kia Stinger combines style, value, and performance in an appealing, sporty four-door package.

  • We’ve driven the car three times in 2018 and have come away very impressed.

  • BMW might make be the ultimate driving machine, but the Kia Stinger matches up pretty well against the best Bimmer has to offer.

Kia has scored a notable victory with the Kia Stinger, a high-performance sedan from a brand better known for affordable four-doors and SUVs.

The Stinger was the toast of the auto-show circuit in 2017. I first sampled the all-wheel-drive GT2 version of the car in California in early 2018. This $52,000 machine, with a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 making a tasty 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of yummy torque, completely captivated me as I drove around the Bay Area.

Later, I enjoyed the same car in the New York/New Jersey area and was equally impressed. So was my colleague, Ben Zhang, who took his first crack at the Stinger.

We haven’t yet tested the base four-cylinder trim, priced at $32,000. But I just finished enjoying the rear-wheel-drive GT2, which clocked in at about $50,000. Full review coming later, but suffice it say that as much as I was ga-ga over the AWD Stinger, first-impressions aren’t everything; the more classically configured RWD GT2 is THE ONE. I just wanted to drive it, and drive it, and then drive it some more, and then have dreams about driving it.

I’m not usually this thorough taken by a car, but the Stinger combines style, value, performance, and versatility is such a brilliant way that all bets are off. Particularly when you consider that you can get the marvelous V6 in basic GT package for an astounding $38,350.

Consequently, I’ve been doing all manner of running comparisons in my head. For my money, while the Stinger is overtly taking on the entire luxury performance-sedan segment — Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW — the aim is squarely at BMW. Bimmers provide the reference driving dynamics that the Stinger is seeking to emulate.

As it happens, I’ve driven a bunch of Bimmers. Here’s how the Stinger stacks up against as many as I can think of.

First, let me just refresh your impressions of the Stinger, in GT2 AWD trim.


Matthew DeBord/BI

“It’s an endlessly fun car, a literal joy to drive,” I wrote in my review.

“It fires up with a pleasing snarl (OK, an augmented one, but still) and growls cheerfully when pushed. It’s flat-out fast. The 0-60 time is supposed to be 4.7 seconds, but I thought it was notably quicker than that. And you have to watch yourself at cruising velocities, as the Stinger taps out the legal speed limit in a hurry, but do so with such poise and relative quiet that one can easily overlook the speedometer.”

The rear-wheel-drive car is cheaper and more fun. Stomping in the throttle and feeling that back end dig in is motoring bliss. Obviously, the RWD setup means that you’ll have an easier time testing the limits in the grip on those back tires, if that’s your thing.


How about the BMW M3?

Matthew DeBord/BI

Matthew DeBord/BI

The BMW M3 also has a six-banger under the hood, plus a pair of turbos. But this motor yields 425 horsepower to the Stinger’s 365 hp.

The M3 is also a more aggressive looking car.

But the M3 also starts at almost $68,000.

And what of the M4 convertible?

Matthew DeBord/BI

Matthew DeBord/BI

I checked out the convertible version, which offers two doors rather than the M3’s four but packs the same power under the hood: 425 horses.

Again, the Stinger loses on oomph — but then there’s the price difference: the M4 is a $70,000 car.

Additionally, the M4 drives like a German muscle car. The Stinger is sportier.


And what say you of the M2?

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

The mighty little Bimmer coupé is close with the Stinger on the specs, boasting a 365-horsepower, 3.0-liter, twin-turbo’s inline six-cylinder engine.

It gives up two doors, but it’s in the Stinger’s price ballpark, at about $55,000.

What you’re getting here is one of the most fun BMWs to drive. But the package is smaller than the Stinger’s. Otherwise, serious competition.

How about the tweener M-car — the M240i convertible?

Matthew DeBord/BI

Matthew DeBord/BI

I’ve actually sampled both the coupé and convertible versions. What we have here is a 335-horsepower turbo six and a price tag of about $36,000.

For my money, this is the best BMW on the market, if you like to drive. However, the Stinger is more versatile, and the Kia’s V6 is more potent.


Moving away from the M-cars, how does the Stinger stack up against the 5-Series?

Hollis Johnson

Hollis Johnson

When we tested the 530i, we were perfectly OK with the 248-horsepower turbo four-cylinder engine. That 5-Series was crammed with tech and luxury and was priced at over $70,000, or $20,000 more than the base car.

The Stinger and the 5-Series aren’t really in the same segment, although I think the Stinger kind of sits between the 3-Series and the 5-Series thanks to a nice big trunk under the fastback hatch and a decent amount of rear legroom.

Obviously, you get a lot more motor for your money with the Stinger, even if you upgrade the BMW to a 335-horsepower 540i. Relatively speaking, you get less luxury. But the driving dynamics of the Stinger GT2’s are considerably more appealing.


And finally, how does the all-gas Stinger do when matched against the plug-in hybrid 3-Series?

2017 BMW 330e Bryan Logan/Business Insider

2017 BMW 330e Bryan Logan/Business Insider

We’ve generally been quite pleased with the BMW 330e; I drove it on the East Coast and BI’s Bryan Logan sampled it on the west.

It’s more of a BMW for the environmentally conscious buyer, however. It’s a pleasure to drive, but it doesn’t thrill like the Stinger, which obviously can’t be plugged in. And it can be had for less than $50,000.

Minus the blast-to-drive aspects, a key difference between the Stinger and it BMW competition is that the Kia is much easier to deal with as far as instruments and entertainment go. BMW’s have this busy, cockpit-like vibe; and the infotainment system, iDrive, while much-improved over the years remains quite complicated.

The Kia, by contrast, has some of the most intuitive controls of any vehicle on the market, plus a touchscreen infotainment system that’s among the best in the industry.

So what’s the verdict?

Matthew DeBord/BI

Matthew DeBord/BI

Let’s review.

Stinger vs M3: Stinger wins on price, loses on power.

Stinger vs M4: See above.

Stinger vs. M2: Competitive! The M2 is a stunning Bimmer. But the Stinger has four doors.

Stinger vs. M240i: Stinger wins on power, but the M240i is a great value in BMWs. I’d take the Stinger, though.

Stinger vs. 5-Series: The 5-Series is a legend, but the Stinger is more fun to drive.

Stinger vs. 3-Series plug-in hybrid: Not a very good head-to-head because the Stinger is vastly more fun to drive. The Stinger’s instruments and infotainment are also better designed.

As the Stinger has made it way into automotive consciousness, it’s increasingly being thought of as occupying a unique niche: going up against the BMW 3-Series, but with a much friskier attitude and better pricing.

The closest thing to this idea is actually no longer with us: Pontiac, the General Motors brand that was killed after the financial crisis. In fact, late in Pontiac’s life, the brand sold a re-badged Australian Holden in the US, the G8 GT, that had a 361-horsepower V8 under the hood and matched up nicely against the Stinger.

Here’s the thing, though. If you want exhilarating performance at a compelling price, with a premium if not luxurious interior and excellent versatility, the segment-of-one Stinger is an excellent BMW alternative.

Do I think BMW will lose sales to Kia? Maybe a few on the margins. Bimmer doesn’t have much to worry about. But there’s no question that the smart money is going to take a closer look at the Stinger.

[J.D. Power] Test Drive: 2018 Kia Stinger

Date: January 06, 2018

2018 Kia Stinger

“Rakish and low-slung, the Stinger blends Kia’s handsome styling themes with classic long-hood, short-deck, rear-drive, gran turismo proportions.”

2018 Kia Stinger

Kia’s problem is not design, is not quality, is not value, and especially now that the 2018 Stinger is arriving, is not performance. Perception is the problem. And it seems as though nothing the company does, from winning quality awards to selling a true full-size luxury car, allows it to shake its image as an inexpensive alternative to something you’d really rather drive.

2018 Kia Stinger

I can write glowing reviews of Kias until my fingertips bleed, but that’s not going to convince you to consider one unless you’re the type of person who doesn’t care what other people think. That’s Kia’s challenge. Change that perception. And that’s why the 2018 Kia Stinger exists.

Styling and Design

If you’ve never considered any Kia to be cool, the Stinger provides cause for pause. Just look at it. Rakish and low-slung, the Stinger blends Kia’s handsome styling themes with classic long-hood, short-deck, rear-drive, gran turismo proportions. Also, like the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe against which it will compete, the Stinger’s fastback roofline hides hatchback practicality.

Inside, the Stinger boasts aircraft-inspired design, upscale detailing, and in some models, lush Nappa leather seating. With few exceptions, materials easily support a price range spanning between the low 30s and the low 50s.

Because the Stinger is a midsize car, it delivers more interior space than its aforementioned entry-luxury competitors. Technically a 5-seater, the Stinger is best used for four adults, each able to stow a full-sized suitcase in the 23.3 cubic-foot cargo hold (40.9 cu.-ft. with the rear seats folded down).

Front seat comfort is excellent, though they could use improved bolstering for people who plan to drive the Stinger like they stole it. Rear seat comfort is remarkably good, but Kia’s use of hard plastic front seatback panels could prove problematic for those with lanky limbs.

Features and Controls

Stylishly rendered, the Stinger’s cabin has a unique look and feel compared to other Kias, and the controls are logically located and work intuitively. Familiar knobs control stereo volume, radio station tuning, and cabin temperature, while buttons supply access to climate system functions and main infotainment system menus.

Several versions of the Stinger are available. Prices start at $32,800 and rise to as high as $50,100. Each price includes destination charges but not options, such as all-wheel drive ($2,200).

Upgrading from base trim to Premium trim installs LED headlights and taillights, a power sunroof, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a larger driver information display and infotainment screen, a 15-speaker audio system, a navigation system, and more.

Choose the Stinger GT for significantly more power and performance. Subtle visual changes also distinguish this version, not the least of which are 19-inch aluminum wheels. The GT1 trim level adds back many of the features in the Premium trim, along with upgraded instrumentation.

At the top of the trim lineup, the Stinger GT2 is equipped with an electronic shift-by-wire transmission selector, a limited slip differential, dynamic headlights, a hands-free Smart Trunk opener, Nappa leather, additional power adjustments for the front seats, ventilated front seats, and a head-up display. The GT2 also has the full roster of driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies that can be added to the Stinger, all of which are optional on more affordable versions of the car.

Safety and Technology

The list of safety technologies that comes standard on the Stinger GT2 and is available on other versions of the car includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. Additionally, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist, and automatic high-beam headlights are aboard the GT2 (and optional on other trims). A Driver Attention Warning system monitors for drowsy or distracted drivers.

Equipped with the latest version of Kia’s Your Voice (UVO) technology, the Stinger also benefits from several free services that usually cost extra in other models. They include 911 Connect automatic collision notification as well as safe teen driving systems that provide alerts related to speed, curfew, and geographic boundaries. The UVO eServices package also includes a Find My Car parking minder, easy access to roadside assistance, and more.

The UVO touchscreen display sits atop the dashboard like a tablet computer, responding to input at the screen, through steering wheel controls, and via voice commands. It is a fairly sophisticated system, and is easy to navigate and to understand. During a half-day drive, however, I found the voice recognition system less than satisfying, falling short of the bar set by smartphone personal assistants such as Siri.

A 15-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system is available for the Stinger, featuring Clari-Fi technology designed to improve the quality of digitally compressed music files.

Driving Impressions

A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard in the Kia Stinger, making 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,400 to 4,000 rpm. Upgrade to the Kia Stinger GT for a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 generating 365 hp at 6,000 rpm and 376 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,300 rpm and 4,500 rpm.

Both engines are bolted to an 8-speed automatic transmission driving the car’s rear wheels. An all-wheel-drive system is an option, able to send up to half of the engine output to the front axle as is necessary, and it features dynamic torque vectoring capability. Upgrade to the Stinger GT to get variable-ratio steering, Brembo 4-piston front and 2-piston rear calipers clamping bigger brake discs, available adaptive damping shocks, and 19-inch wheels and tires.

A brief drive in the Stinger Premium revealed a lively and entertaining car, one generating perhaps more raucousness than might expected, especially in terms of road noise. Thanks to all of the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine’s torque down low, though, it was quick, slicing and dicing through L.A. traffic without a problem.

On a stretch of twisty mountain road, the Stinger Premium felt alive in the driver’s hands, despite its 18-inch wheels, standard steering setup, gas-charged shocks, and less robust braking system. The lack of extra weight over the front axle, combined with rear-wheel drive, definitely helped the car to feel athletic both entering and exiting corners.

Switching to the Stinger GT2, the twin-turbo V6 supplies what feels like limitless power. Push hard on the accelerator, and you could be into triple-digit speeds before you realize it. On freeways, the Stinger GT is rock solid; cruising at 80 mph feels more like 50 mph. Such characteristics reflect the Stinger’s development and tuning in Germany.

So too does its performance on writhing canyon roads. The rear-drive Stinger GT rotates beautifully around corners, and the variable-ratio steering reduces the amount of input required at the wheel, which makes the stubby little paddle shifters more accessible for greater control over the drivetrain. Brake pedal feel and response impresses, too. I do, however, think that Kia could dial in greater stiffness when the car is switched into its Sport driving mode, helping to eliminate some of the excess body motion that makes the Stinger feel heavier than it is.

On an autocross course, the Stinger GT2 was fun to fling around, except for the hard surfaces where the driver must brace his or her legs due to the lack of seat bolstering in order to remain securely in place. Sport mode allows for some tail-happiness in corners, if you want to drift the car a bit. If you want to hustle, especially on an autocross or in inclement weather, I found the all-wheel-drive system beneficial.

Hype shall accompany the rollout of the 2018 Kia Stinger. It is justified.

Though it is not an SUV (indeed, perhaps even because it is not an SUV), the new Stinger possesses the authenticity and credibility to change your mind about Kia. It is a car like few others, which makes it special. It has good looks to go along with its genuine utility. Finally, it delivers the materials, technology, and performance to necessary to bunch above its brand weight.

Nissan might claim that it sells a 4-door sports car. Kia is selling the real deal.

Kia Stinger GT by the Numbers



The Stinger GT’s entry into the sports-sedan market marks a bold new direction for Kia, a company historically focused on value and reliability. Its GT is a first for the company, fusing the practicality of a mainstream sedan with the dynamic long-distance comfort and performance of a gran turismo car at a price lower than many luxury-brand rivals.

2018 Stinger GT2 prototype with optional features shown. Not all optional features available on all trims. Available in limited quantities in select markets.

Many people who hear the words “grand touring” in the same sentence as Kia might scoff. And the company knows it. Eddie Rayyan, Head of Product Strategy at Kia, readily admits, “We had to develop a true gran turismo without compromise to earn the respect necessary to compete against the world’s best vehicles.” He goes on: “Stinger was the most challenging product we’ve created and is a defining moment for Kia.” Anything similar wears luxury badges, so how does the Stinger GT—that’s the one powered by the 365-hp twin-turbo V-6­—match up in a heady class of sports sedans that includes the entry-level Porsche Panamera, Audi S5 SportbackBMW 340i xDriveBMW 640i Gran Coupe, Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, and the Lexus GS350 F Sport?


Engine: 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6
Horsepower: 365 hp
Torque: 376 lb-ft



The Stinger’s 365 horsepower V-6 places it ahead of the BMW, Audi, and Lexus sports sedans in terms of power, but short of the 400 horses under the hood of the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400. However, Stinger’s 376 lb-ft of torque leads the pack, and this shows in its off-the-line acceleration (keep reading for a 0-60 comparison). The power is harnessed by an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. Kia also offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which puts out 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque—far from modest for a base model.




0–60 mph Acceleration: 4.4 s
Top Speed: 167 mph
70–0 mph Braking Distance: 158 ft
Roadholding on 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.93 g


The Stinger GT’s power shines as it blasts to a 167-mph top speed, faster than any car in the comparison. The next highest of the cars we examined was the Audi S5 Sportback, topping out at 155 mph. The Audi, however, bests the Stinger off the line, traveling zero to sixty mph in 4.3 seconds compared to the Stinger’s 4.4 seconds. However, the Stinger catches up shortly after, tying the Audi to a 12.9-second quarter-mile and pulling ahead at higher speeds (140 mph took 22.4 seconds compared to the Audi’s 24.9 seconds). Stinger achieves its best off-the-line performance using launch control, which according to Kia is about 0.2 seconds quicker. In our testing, the rear-wheel-drive model was 0.2-second quicker than the all-wheel-drive variant.



Kia offers Brembo vented-disc brakes for the Stinger GT, and that’s a good thing. Weighing more than many of the other cars in the group, the Stinger GT needs the extra stopping power. Considering its weight, it’s that much more impressive that the Stinger stopped in the same 158 feet as the best-performing Audi S5 Sportback.

Kia designed the Stinger with its engine mounted as far back as possible to improve handling. The car’s balance, combined with the grip from its Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires, deliver 0.93 g on our 300-foot diameter skidpad test. Pulling nearly 1 g is sure to deliver thrills, and it lands the Stinger’s road handling squarely within the luxury sports sedan class of cars, between the Audi S5 Sportback at the high end pulling 0.95 g and the Lexus GS350 F Sport at the low end with 0.85 g.



Size and Configuration

Car Type: 4-door hatchback
Drivetrain Layout: RWD with available AWD
Curb Weight: 4157 pounds
Wheelbase: 114.4 inches
Length: 190.2 inches
Width: 73.6 inches
Height: 55.1 inches



As noted before, the Stinger GT is on the heavy side, weighing in at 4004 pounds for the rear-drive model and 4157 for our all-wheel-drive test car. However, this weight is distributed over a long wheelbase, with 51.9 percent of the weight on the front and the rest on the rear. Stinger’s wheelbase is shorter than the BMW 640i Gran Coupe but longer than most of the cars we looked at, including the Audi S5 Sportback, Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, and the Lexus GS350 F Sport. A long wheelbase tends to reinforce the gran turismo goals, increasing comfort and stability, even at higher speeds. It also contributes to the Stinger’s styling, creating a car that looks fast even when not going 167 mph.



Passenger and Cargo Room

Number of passengers: 5
Passenger Volume: 96 cubic feet
Cargo Volume: 23 cubic feet



One feature that sets the Stinger GT apart in the luxury sports sedan class is its practicality. With more combined passenger and cargo room than the other cars in this comparison, the Stinger offers not only spaciousness for its passengers but also the most cargo space. This makes the Stinger a reasonable purchase as a daily driver, able to handle trips to the store just as well as long drives in grand touring style.




Base Price: $39,250


Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for the Stinger is its value. While its engineering and performance specs justify a place among other luxury sports sedans, its price is substantially lower. Starting at just $39,250 ($40,200 for an all-wheel-drive GT), a fully loaded rear-wheel drive version can be had for $50,100. None of the other cars in this comparison beat that. Combined with an industry leading warranty* from Kia, the Stinger screams value, a word that perhaps never before applied to this class of car.




By the numbers, the Stinger deserves its gran turismo designation, and it stands poised to open that market to many more drivers. The attainability of a car that can hold its own among established luxury sports sedans while also offering practicality as a daily driver is surely a reason for excitement. Now it’s up to drivers to decide if the experience behind the wheel lives up to the specs.



Car and Driver test data from a Stinger GT with rear wheel drive using Launch Control and equipped with 19” wheels. Always drive safely and obey all traffic laws. *The Kia 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program includes various warranties and roadside assistance. Warranties include powertrain and the New Vehicle Limited Warranty (Basic). All warranties and roadside assistance are limited. See retailer for details or go to

2018 Kia Stinger First Review: Kia Chases, and Catches, the Best European Luxury Sedans

Date: October 8, 2017
Author: Karl Brauer


Starting Price (est.): $33,000

Engine: 255-horsepower 4-cylinder

Fuel Economy: N/A

Warranty: 5-year/60,000-mile (basic), 10-year/100,000-mile (powertrain)

Similar: Audi S5 Sportback, BMW 440i Gran Coupe, Lexus GS, Porsche Panamera

What’s more outrageous than Kia trying to challenge the best luxury sport sedans from Europe? How about Kia succeeding, with its all-new 2018 Kia Stinger. The new Stinger delivers entertaining driving dynamics, premium features and advanced technologies, all wrapped in a stunning shell and offered at a value-packed price.

The new Stinger reflects Kia’s ongoing desire to offer more than just solid transportation at a low price. That’s been the brand’s modus operandi for years, but now Kia wants to send a new message. Kia’s President and CEO, Justin Sohn, says the 2018 Kia Stinger “will mark a new era for Kia, dividing our history into ‘before’ and ‘after.’”

Inspired by Europe’s classic Gran Turismo sport sedans, the new Kia Stinger features a long hood, short front overhang, broad shoulders and fastback roofline. The Stinger’s wheelbase and overall length are slightly larger than its European rivals, giving it more interior space and excellent high-speed stability, a good thing given its 167-mph top speed.

The Stinger’s upscale exterior design is matched by a premium cabin with standard leather seats or optional hand-stitched Nappa leather. A wide dash with large, round vents contributes to the interior’s classic design and spacious demeanor.

Driven by Performance


Taking on Europe’s best sport sedans requires more than a shapely body and supple leather. Kia knew it had to go all in with the Stinger, building it on an all-new, rear-wheel-drive chassis composed of 55 percent high-strength steel while leveraging structural adhesives throughout the platform. Both elements contribute to the Stinger’s rigid foundation, improving driving dynamics and passenger protection.

The 2018 Kia Stinger is powered by either a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6. The standard 2.0-liter produces 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which Kia says will propel the Stinger from zero-to-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. The V6 is good for 365 horsepower, 376 lb-ft of torque and a zero-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds. Both engines send power through an 8-speed automatic transmission to either the rear wheels or all four wheels on Stingers equipped with the optional all-wheel-drive system.

Also: See the other new and redesigned models for 2018

Our driving experience with the 2018 Kia Stinger was limited to models with the larger V6 engine, but we did try both rear- and all-wheel-drive versions on a variety of roads, including a closed-course facility. Under all these conditions the Stinger provided a superb balance of refined ride quality and capable performance. Intuitive steering response and controlled body roll gave us confidence when pushing the car hard at the track. All V6 Stingers come standard with 4-wheel Brembo disc brakes, and these delivered progressive, controlled stopping power even during our most aggressive driving behavior on a hot day in California’s high desert. They feature an anti-fade technology that automatically increases boost when needed.

Personalized Driving Style | Drive Mode Select


The 2018 Kia Stinger is offered in five trim levels, starting with the 4-cylinder “Stinger” and “Stinger Premium” trims and continuing on to the V6-powered “Stinger GT”, “Stinger GT1” and “Stinger GT2” trims. All five trims include a Drive Mode Select system that lets the driver toggle between Smart, Eco, Comfort and Sport modes, altering the Stinger’s suspension settings, exhaust note, throttle response, steering weight, and all-wheel-drive system. There’s also a “Custom” mode for adjusting each of those components individually. For performance-oriented driving we found “Sport” worked well for every setting…except steering, which felt unnecessarily heavy. Using the Stinger’s “Custom” drive mode to put steering in Comfort, while leaving everything else in Sport mode, created the perfect blend of throttle, suspension, all-wheel drive, and steering response. This setup also gave full voice to the V6’s rewarding exhaust note.

Rear-Wheel Drive | All-Wheel Drive


With all-wheel drive (AWD) offered on every trim of the Kia Stinger it’s easy to configure the new sport sedan to your personal preference. We tested rear- and all-wheel-drive versions extensively and enjoyed the driving dynamics provided by both. While all-wheel drive will consistently generate greater cornering grip, along with higher confidence in slick road conditions, it’s not uncommon for AWD to give cars a heavier, less-responsive nature. The Kia Stinger avoids this with a rear-biased AWD system that includes dynamic torque vectoring. By constantly altering which wheel(s) power flows to, based on steering input and available traction, the Stinger retains the nimble nature of a traditional rear-wheel-drive sport sedan while adding additional front-wheel grip when it benefits traction and driver control. For rear-wheel-drive Stingers, an optional limited-slip differential is available on V6 models.

High-Performance Wheels and Tires

Kia Stingers equipped with the 4-cylinder engine ride on 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 225/45 performance tires engineered specifically for the Stinger. All V6 models come standard with 19-inch alloy wheels wearing the same Michelin Pilot tires sized 225/40 in front and 255/35 in back. Buyers looking for a softer ride from their V6 Kia Stinger can opt for the same 18-inch wheels from the 4-cylinder Stingers.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Kia supplements the Stinger’s driving dynamics with a wide range of standard and optional driver assistance technologies. Every Stinger comes standard with traction and stability control, hill-start assist, front and rear park-distance warning sensors, and a rearview camera. Optional technologies range from forward-collision and pedestrian warning to lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and driver-attention warning. Other advanced features, including automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control, and a head-up display are also available.

Roomy and Upscale Interior with Plenty of Cargo Space


The Kia Stinger’s svelte exterior envelops a roomy, premium interior with standard leather seats and LED lighting. Legroom is plentiful in the front and rear seats, though the Stinger’s sloping roofline might make headroom tight in the back for those over six feet tall. Cargo space is also impressive because of the Stinger’s rear hatch that hinges above the glass. With the rear seats up, there’s 23.3 cubic feet of storage space. That number jumps to 40.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

Standard luxury features include a 12-way power driver’s seat, 8-way passenger, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a 7-inch touch-screen display, and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Additional standard features, like steering wheel audio controls, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, push-button start, and keyless entry give even base-model Stingers genuine luxury chops.

Buyers seeking additional luxury can specify a 16-way driver’s seat and 12-way passenger seat, both of them ventilated and covered in Nappa leather, but only on top-trim Kia Stinger GT2s. All V6 models come with aluminum pedals and door sill plates, “GT”-embossed headrests, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a 180-mph speedometer (4-cylinder Stingers have a 160 mph speedo). Other features, available on mid-grade Stingers, range from an 8-inch touch screen with navigation to an upgraded 9-speaker audio system.

Premium Harman Kardon Audio System

A 15-speaker, 720-watt Harman Kardon audio system comes standard on the Kia Stinger Premium, GT1 and GT2 trims. This system features door-mounted tweeters, dual underseat subwoofers, a 12-channel external amp, 5.1 channel surround sound processing, and Harman Kardon’s propriety “clari fi” signal-enhancing technology. The latter is designed to fill in the signal gaps from compressed digital audio. Our experience with clari fi confirms it works as advertised, giving MP3 and satellite radio a richer tonal quality. If the Harman Kardon or mid-grade 9-speaker audio system are too rich for your blood, the base Kia Stinger audio system still includes HD and satellite radio with 6 speakers.

Kia’s UVO3 Infotainment System


The new Stinger features Kia’s latest connected-car technology in the form of UVO3. This system includes the aforementioned Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features, but it can also integrate with a smartphone app to provide vehicle location tracking, geo fencing, over-the-air vehicle diagnostics, and voice-operated controls for making phone calls or controlling the audio system. The system can also contact emergency services automatically, to request help.

Stinging the Competition

Kia regularly referenced cars like the Audi S5 SportbackBMW 440i Gran Coupe, Lexus GS, and even the Porsche Panamera when discussing the Stinger’s target competition. As we sat in the technical briefing prior to driving the Stinger, it was tough to reconcile those comparisons. After experiencing the Kia Stinger those references to established, benchmark sport sedans made sense. The 2018 Kia Stinger rivals those cars in styling, premium features and interior space. It even matches or beats most of them in terms of driving performance, though the Panamera remains a step ahead of the Stinger (as it should, given its more than double starting price).

Kia’s Value Equation Remains Intact

The 2018 Kia Stinger will go on sale in late November for a starting price around $33,000 for the 4-cylinder version and $40,000 for the V6. That’s substantially less than the sport sedans Kia targeted with the Stinger. Despite Kia’s lack of history in this segment the company is confident buyers of traditional European and Japanese luxury sedans will be intrigued by the Stinger’s combination of style, performance, features and price. All Kia really wants is an opportunity to speak to these shoppers. Buyers willing to give the Stinger a test drive could very likely abandon their original purchase plan, going with this upstart sport sedan instead.


Photo Gallery: 2018 Kia Stinger

Numbers and Details

How much legroom does the Stinger have? Which trim offers the 19-inch wheels? Does it really have Nappa leather? Some of those questions can be answered below, others will require further research.

$33,000 est. (all prices listed include $895 destination charge)

5-passenger capacity
255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-Cylinder
8-speed automatic transmission
160-mph speedometer
Rear-wheel drive
Leather seats
12-way power-adjustable heated driver seat
8-way power-adjustable heated passenger seat
Heated steering wheel
Dual-zone climate control
Steering wheel mounted shift paddles
7-inch touch-screen display
Push-button start
Keyless entry
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
HD/Satellite/MP3 6-speaker audio system
18-inch alloy wheels
Bi-function projection headlights
LED daytime running lights
LED taillights

Stinger Premium
LED bi-function projection headlights
LED rear turn signals
Power tilt/slide sunroof
Power tilt/telescoping steering wheel
Auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink
2-position memory for driver’s seat
8-inch touch-screen display with navigation
15-speaker, 720-watt Harman Kardon Audio System

Stinger GT
Price: $39,000
3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6
180-mph speedometer
“GT” headrest logo
Flat-bottomed steering wheel
Aluminum dash trim
Aluminum pedals
Aluminum door sill plates
HD/satellite/MP3 9-speaker audio system
19-inch alloy wheels
Body-colored outside door handles
Black chrome power-folding heated outside mirrors
“GT” grille emblem
Black-chrome side vents
High-gloss hood vents
Dark-chrome window trim

Stinger GT1
Price: $N/A

7-inch TFT gauge cluster display with G-meter, oil temp, torque, turbo boost, chrono lap timer
Auto-dimming outside mirrors

Stinger GT2
Price: $N/A

Premium Nappa leather seat trim with unique shape and pattern
16-way power-adjustable driver’s heated and ventilated seat
12-way power-adjustable passenger heated and ventilated seat
Shift-by-wire gear selector
Head-up display
Forward collision avoidance with pedestrian warning
Forward collision warning system
Lane-keep assist
Lane-departure warning
Driver-attention warning
Blind-spot warning
Rear cross-traffic collision warning
Smart cruise control
High-beam assist
Limited-slip differential
Dynamic low-beam headlight assist
Smart trunk with power opening

2018 Kia Stinger Specs
Engine: 2.0-liter Turbo 4 or 3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, All-wheel drive
Horsepower: 255 hp @ 6,200 rpm (2.0-liter), 
365 hp @ 6,000 rpm (3.3-liter)
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 1,400-4,000 rpm (2.0-liter), 
376 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm (3.3-liter)
Fuel Economy: N/A
Zero-to-60 MPH: 5.9 seconds (2.0-liter), 4.7 seconds (3.3-liter)
Curb Weight: 3,800 lbs (rear-wheel drive) to 4,000 lbs (all-wheel drive)
Wheelbase: 114.4 inches
Length: 190.2 inches
Height: 55.1 inches
Width: 73.6 inches

Kia Stinger: 2018 European Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year awards finalist

Source: KIA BUZZ
Date: Monday, December 1, 2017
Author: Kia BUZZ Editorial Team

Since its launch, the Kia Stinger has swept several awards for its styling and has been constantly praised for its exhilarating handling characteristics, pristine refinement, and extraordinary gran turismo capabilities. Recently, the Stinger added two more achievements to its already impressive resume.

2018 Kia Stinger

The Stinger has been named among seven shortlisted cars for the 2018 European Car of the Year award. The European Car of the Year award was established in 1964 by automobile magazines from several different European countries. Since then, a panel of judges comprised of motoring journalists selects one single, decisive winner each year.

This year, 37 vehicles were eligible and only seven were shortlisted after being judged on a series of stringent criteria. The Stinger easily slid into the final seven with impressive scores.

2018 Kia Stinger

Judges will conduct a final test drive of the shortlisted cars in February 2018 in Mortefontaine, France. Soon after, only one of the seven will be crowned the 2018 European Car of the Year on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show scheduled to open on March 5, 2018.

2018 Kia Stinger

The Stinger has also been announced as one of the three finalists for the 2018 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards in the “cars” category at an official announcement during the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Since its inception in 1994, they are currently the longest-running ‘Car of the Year’ awards that are not associated with a specific publication. Such structure ensures unbiased judging by a panel of about 60 professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.

2018 Kia Stinger

After rigorous reviews, the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards honor excellence in innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction, and value. Winners are to be announced at the North American International Auto Show to be held in Detroit in January 2018.

2018 Kia Stinger

So make sure you check out the Geneva Motor Show and North American International Auto Show next year to cheer on the Stinger as a ‘Car of the Year’ winner. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more good news as Kia continues to be recognized by influential automotive media around the world.

First Drive: A zinger from south of the 38th parallel, the 2018 Kia Stinger GT puts BMW in its crosshairs

Date: Monday, October 9, 2017

Despite all the bluster about missiles and nukes north of the 38th parallel, the big action on the Korean Peninsula is south of there. That’s where Hyundai Motor Company, together with its Kia Motors and Genesis Motors affiliates, has grown exponentially to become the fourth largest automaker in the world.

It’s a remarkable feat when you consider that South Korea has less land mass than the state of Ohio. And it’s by no means a land of wide-open high-speed motorways or engaging, serpentine back-country two-lanes. So the introduction of the 2018 Kia Stinger GT, the brand’s first rear-drive high-performance sedan, is something of a tipping point. It’s one thing to outsell Mazda, Volkswagen and Subaru, something Kia did easily last year on the strength of its value-packed, mostly front-drive small and midsize sedans, hatchbacks and crossover SUVs. But it’s quite another to take on solidly entrenched makers of entry-luxury sport sedans, especially the triple threat of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

2018-kia-stinger-gt-front (1)

Planning and developing the 2018 Kia Stinger GT, the Korean automaker had the Audi A4/A5, BMW 3- and 4-Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class directly in its crosshairs. Based on the Kia GT Concept first shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the new Stinger isn’t a sedan. Like the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe with which it intends to compete, the Stinger is equipped with a fastback roofline said to be inspired by 1970’s GT cars such as the Maserati Ghibli, and it hides a cargo-friendly hatchback aperture. Kia went in this direction because research showed a growing number of buyers rejecting traditional three-box sedans for crossover SUVs due to small trunk openings. That, and Kia’s hatchback body style creates some separation between it and the upcoming 2019 Genesis G70 sedan, which shares its platform and most mechanicals with the Stinger.

The new Stinger also shares its tiger-nose grille and steeply sloping roof and rear deck themes with the handsome Kia Optima sedan, but otherwise doesn’t look much like other Kia products. A wide stance with broad shoulders gives it a road-ready look and the Stinger’s long hood and rear-wheel-drive proportions really set it apart. At 114.4 inches between the front and rear wheels, its wheelbase is almost as long as that of an Audi A7. That long wheelbase gives the Kia something those 1970’s GT cars didn’t provide — ample rear seat legroom.

German Bogies

2018-kia-stinger-gt-side-view (1)

There are two series of Stinger: the standard version and the Stinger GT. In standard format, the Stinger is powered by a turbocharged, 255-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, and with its high level of standard equipment and an estimated base price of under $32,000, it will provide anyone seeking an alternative to a typical sedan a compelling price/value equation to ponder.

The Stinger GT, on the other hand, with its twin-turbocharged 365-hp 3.3-liter V6, upsized Brembo brakes, adaptive damping suspension, 19-inch wheels, variable-ratio steering puts the Korean upstart on the radar screen of (mostly-German) entry-luxury sport-sedan shoppers. Kia says the Stinger GT’s price will come in at about $39,000.

From a bang-for-the-buck standpoint, a new Stinger GT promising German sport-sedan levels of performance for thousands of dollars less should have legs in the market. But satisfied Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz owners have honed their preferences over decades of met expectations, and cost of ownership-be-damned they’re not generally a fickle bunch easily swayed by discounts and the deal. After all, they’re buying into the brand as much as the individual product.

More than anything, surmounting this is Kia’s greatest challenge with the Stinger GT.

It’s a Grand Touring Car


From the start, the Stinger was to have grand touring car proportions, which meant room for two adult couples and their luggage for a weekend drive. But beyond that, going up against German luxury brands required making the cabin a warm and inviting place to enjoy the journey.

Kia has stepped up its game in this regard, the brand taking top honors last year in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey. In the new Stinger you can really see the influence of Design Director Peter Schreyer, formerly of Audi, and the Frankfurt, Germany-based team that had such a strong hand in the creation of the car. The interior layout is as imaginative as anything you’ll find in an Audi, with creative use of colors, shapes and materials.

Leather seats are standard. There’s real aluminum trim decorating the cabin and generous use of hand-stitching on the doors, seats and console. A flat-screen infotainment display with Kia’s latest software and connectivity capabilities sprouts from the top center of the dashboard, measuring 7 inches wide on base models and 8 inches across with the navigation system. Redundant knobs and buttons for major audio controls are arrayed below and under that equally easy-to-use climate buttons and knobs. The design is tidy and keeps touchscreen menu-surfing distractions to a minimum.

The Stinger GT’s front seats are heated and well-bolstered for comfortable thigh and torso support. Options include air-cell lumbar adjustment and width-adjustable seat bolsters that expand or contract to fit different physiques. Thundering sound emanates from an available 15-speaker audio system with subwoofers that are located under the front seats. Even the insides of the center roof pillars are used as sound chambers for a more robust sound.

Cargo area measures a generous 23.3 cubic-feet, which is more than double the trunk size of some entry luxury sedans. Fold the rear seats down to create up to 40.9 cubic-feet of volume. The hatch also provides a large opening for loading stuff that wouldn’t fit in the trunks of most traditional sport sedans. Despite the big cargo aperture, you can feel the impressive level of body structure rigidity, something the Stinger’s development team concentrated on to meet the challenge of its very stiff-bodied German competitors.

The Stinger’s Bite


The Stinger GT’s 365-hp, twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 is shared with Kia’s corporate cousin Genesis, where it is installed in the new G70, the G80 Sport, and the G90 flagship sedan. An 8-speed automatic transmission is the only choice, and the Stinger GT features standard rear- or optional all-wheel-drive.

Kia predicts a rear-drive Stinger GT will execute a 0-60 mph dash in 4.7 seconds, which puts it in the performance ballpark with its German rivals. A limited-slip differential on rear-drive models helps limit wheelspin. With AWD, on dry pavement the rear-biased system apportions up to 80 percent of drive torque to the rear wheels. In slippery conditions, the mix can switch to as much as 50 percent drive torque to the front wheels. A torque-vectoring feature of the AWD system can brake an inside front wheel to reduce understeer and improve steering response into a corner.

What makes the Stinger GT especially satisfying to drive is its deep well of accessible torque. The twin-turbo V6 offers up its maximum 376 lb.-ft. of torque from just 1,350 rpm up to 4,200 rpm, so throttle response is immediate and lively around town, on the highway for merging or passing, and for taking a fast line through entertaining corners on your favorite stretch of twisty road. There are five drive modes tailoring throttle response, shift points, shock damping and steering effort, selectable by a console-mounted switch. They include Eco, Comfort, Sport, Custom and Smart, the latter probably the best default choice for mixed driving.

The Stinger GT gets a full belly pan and other aero tweaks. It’s chipped to an autobahn-worthy maximum velocity of 167 mph. I saw an indicated 142 mph in a dead-nuts-stable but too-brief burst around the high-speed oval at the Hyundai Technical Center (HTC) in Mojave, California. Not only did the GT feel absolutely planted at triple-digit speeds but it was also pleasantly free of excessive air rush noise, especially around the side mirrors and B-pillars where many cars lose their cool. And even though the Stinger is technically a hatchback without a solid bulkhead behind the rear seat, there was very little road sizzle drifting into the cabin from the cargo bay.

Meanwhile, despite the twin turbochargers, which are notorious buzzkill for a hearty exhaust sound, there’s just enough “sting” from the V6’s quad-tipped exhaust to let you know you’re driving a performance car.

Dynamic Test



Kia was so confident in the dynamic capabilities of the new Stinger GT that it offered up an Audi S5 and A7, a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and a Porsche Panamera among others for my evaluation at the HTC skidpad. Engineers laid out a challenging autocross course and I was able to take the Stinger GT and competitors through the cones with abandon. In short, the Stinger felt every bit as nimble and capable as the Audis, BMW and Porsche.

Here, the hand of chassis tuning master Albert Bierman (previously with BMW’s M Division), who paid special attention to crafting the GT’s suspension damping curves and steering feel, was clearly evident. Both on the skidpad as well as the challenging curves and fast mountain sections of the Angeles Crest Highway, the Stinger GT legitimately felt “German.”

Perched on grippy, standard, staggered-width Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires (225/40R19 in front and 255/35R19 in back), the Kia enthusiastically entered challenging turns. Body control with the GT’s standard adaptive shock absorbers was seamless, damping vertical motions without feeling overly stiff or jouncy. The car cornered flat with little or no body roll. Steering effort and weighting was just about right, with the variable-rate dual-pinion electric steering quelling nervousness just off-center, yet plenty quick for sharper corners. Brembo brakes with larger-diameter discs and higher-capacity 4-piston front, 2-piston rear aluminum Monobloc calipers delivered crisp top-of-pedal response and reassuring stopping power from triple-digit speeds, performance in the latter situation no doubt aided by the automatic fade compensation feature.

The Stinger GT goes on sale in December, 2017. Nothing in Kia’s DNA suggests the Korean car company can pull this off aside from pure grit. But if top J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey scores in recent years, a highly regarded warranty, undeniably appealing design, and the meteoric rise of the brand over the course of the last decade has any bearing on the matter, the Stinger GT has a legitimate shot at joining the premium German brands at the luxury sport-sedan party.


Driving the new Stinger’s turbo-four variant

By Angus MacKenzie: October 18, 2017

A funny thing happened on the way back from the Mojave Desert the other day. Someone tossed me the keys to a Kia, and I decided to take the long way home, seeking out some of the great driver’s roads that snake through the San Gabriel Mountains before heading down the Angeles Crest Highway into the hustling bustle of the City of Angels. Kia and driver’s roads … it sounds an unlikely combination. But the 2018 Kia Stinger is a car that will shatter your perceptions about Korea’s value brand.

Here the thing: My ride was the base Stinger, the one powered by the 255-hp turbocharged four-banger, rolling on 18-inch alloys shod with modest section 225/45 Bridgestone Potenza tires, not the loaded, top-of-the-range, $49,500 GT, with the punchy 365-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood and bigger wheels and tires all round. The only option fitted was the $2,000 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems package, which bundles together active safety technologies such as forward collision warning, lane keeping assistance, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Total price? $33,900.

It’s a steal. There isn’t a better sporty, rear-drive, four-door coupe for the money in the business. Actually, there simply isn’t any other sporty, rear-drive, four-door coupe for the money, period. This Kia is in a class all its own.

The Stinger looks the part, with a sweeping roofline, a broad shouldered stance, and strong graphics. From some angles there are distant echoes of the Maserati 3200 GT designed by Giugiaro in the late 1990s; it’s a trick of the eye, of course, because the two cars are completely different, but it speaks to the effort Kia—and now also Hyundai—design supremo Peter Schreyer put into a car that in many ways has been a personal passion project. I recall Schreyer showing me a sketch of a car that would become the Kia GT concept unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Show—harbinger of the Stinger—and insisting he was going to get it made.

Apart from the smaller wheels and less aggressively styled front and rear fascias, there are few visual differences between the Stinger and the more powerful GT. The GT gets also some extra badging, smoked chrome trim, and red-painted brake calipers, but that’s about it. Both cars rock quad exhausts and vents on the hood and bodyside. The Stinger might be the entry-level model, but it doesn’t look it.

There are a few more tells inside, however. The base Stinger is the only model in the lineup (the others are the $37,000 Stinger Premium, the $39,000 Stinger GT, the $43,500 Stinger GT1, and aforementioned $49,500 Stinger GT2) with an old school foot operated e-brake and a simple 3.5-inch LCD display on the instrument panel. All others get a state-of-the-moment electronic e-brake switch and a 7.0-inch TFT screen between the tach and the speedo. The V-6-powered GTs also all come with a flat-bottom steering wheel, aluminum trim instead of gloss black plastic on the center console, and GT logos embossed into the headrests. That’s not to say the base Stinger is a penalty box. Standard equipment includes a leather-bound heated steering wheel, leather seats—which are power adjustable and heated up front—and a 7.0-inch audio display touchscreen that can run Kia’s UVO infotainment system along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

he Stinger is built on the Hyundai/Kia rear-drive architecture, which will also underpin the forthcoming Genesis G70. As we’ve noted before, it’s a surprisingly large vehicle, 7.5-inches longer overall than a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, with a 3.8-inch longer wheelbase. The longer wheelbase helps not only deliver a roomy interior and generously proportioned load space, but it also delivers decent rolling ride quality, especially on L.A.’s notoriously choppy freeways.

At 3,649 pounds, the base Stinger weighs the same as a 2.0-liter Audi A5 coupe, despite having two extra doors and a hatchback, and is 356 pounds lighter than a fully loaded, V-6 powered Stinger GT. Developing its 255 hp at 6,200 rpm and 260lb-ft of torque at 1,400-4,500 rpm, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger under the hood boasts better power density than similar engines from Audi and BMW. That doesn’t translate to a performance advantage on the track, however.

The Stinger runs 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, 1.4 seconds slower than the 2.0-liter A5 coupe, and 1.1 seconds slower than the BMW 330i sedan we tested earlier this year. The quarter mile takes 15 seconds even, the Kia sailing through the top end at 95.2 mph. The Audi nails it in 13.8 seconds at 100.5 mph, and the BMW nails it in 14.3 seconds at 98.5 mph. Things are a little closer on the figure eight—the Stinger’s 26.8-second time is just five-tenths of a second off the A5 coupe and seven-tenths behind the BMW sedan.

A lot of the performance advantage enjoyed by the Audi is down to its smooth, efficient, and lightning fast DSG transmission; the Stinger’s Hyundai/Kia engineered eight-speed shifts slower, and its torque converter chews more power. The BMW’s advantage is mass—the smaller 3 Series sedan weighs 112 pounds less—and the fact the guys in Munich still know a thing or two about making a car go around corners. But part of the issue is the Stinger’s engine; although relatively quiet and refined, and with good mid-range punch, it doesn’t quite have the crisp throttle response of the Germans, especially below 2,000 rpm.

Think about those last couple of paragraphs for a second, though: We’ve just been comparing a Kia with an Audi and a BMW. Of course anyone can play the numbers game on the track, and any comparison with Germany’s elite would be meaningless if the Kia Stinger drove like a cheap and cheerful bucket of bolts on the road. The point is, it doesn’t. That sound you hear is sharp intakes of breath in Ingolstadt and Munich.

The Stinger drives more like a European car than anything from Korea so far and most things from Japan. There’s a measured, almost Germanic, weighting to all the controls and to the body motions. It doesn’t have the grunt to indulge in smoky powerslides with all the nannies switched off—as you can in the rear-drive V-6s—but the chassis feels lively and entertaining, nonetheless. A little more initial bite from the brakes would be helpful to smoothly settle the car on corner entry, and a touch more front-end grip would complement the accurate steering, but otherwise the Stinger feels impressively consistent and composed through the twisty bits.

As dusk settled on the run back to L.A., it became obvious the standard headlights were better suited for cruising the bright lights of Seoul than the dark canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Stinger easily outrunning even high beam. However, the $37,000 Stinger Premium is available with brighter LED headlights (and the extra money also buys you a sunroof, a power adjustable steering column, the 7.0-inch TFT screen in the instrument panel, the electronic e-brake, memory for the seat adjustment, sat-nav, and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, which makes it a solid value). And we prefer the snickety-snick action of the electronic PRNDL shifter on the top-level GT to the slightly clunky feel of the old school T-bar item on the rest of the lineup.

Yep, we’re down to picking nits. For a first effort at a car like this, the four-cylinder Kia Stinger is genuinely impressive. And the more we drive it, the more it reminds us of a proto-BMW 3 Series. It’s not yet fully formed and not yet fully mature, but it’s a car that, should it follow a logical evolutionary path, could eventually occupy the same hallowed ground as the 3 Series once did among enthusiasts who wanted an affordable, sporty, rear-drive car they could drive every day.

And the chances of that happening? Well, as former BMW M engineering veep Albert Biermann is now Hyundai/Kia’s head of high performance vehicle development, you’d be foolish to bet against it, especially given the Korean automaker’s lavish R&D spending and the dizzying speed with which it brings new vehicles to market. Be afraid, BMW. Be very afraid.

2018 Kia Stinger (2.0 RWD)
BASE PRICE $32,795 (est)
PRICE AS TESTED $34,800 (est)
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 2.0L/255-hp/260-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,649 lb (52/48%)
WHEELBASE 114.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 190.2 x 73.6 x 55.1 in
0-60 MPH 6.6 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.0 sec @ 95.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 126 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.8 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)

Kia takes it up a notch with the Stinger

Gorgeous inside and out, excellent performance and refinement, this new model is as capable as many higher-priced vehicles