The Kia Stinger is the first car in a long time that has had people stopping and staring as they go about their daily business. Whether it’s the supermarket car park, driving along the High Street or going to work, the Stinger turns heads wherever you go. That is a very a good thing.
Kia themselves have a mission statement with their all new Stinger which puts you in no doubt as to their intentions with this fastback styled saloon. The Kia Stinger is an eye-catching 5-door fastback Gran Turismo born from a passion for driving, deeply rooted in the hearts of true motoring enthusiasts. From the low-slung bonnet to the muscular rear, every striking line references the classic spirit of a Gran Turismo. But that’s not all. This awe-inspiring Kia paves the way for a new era of powerful style and exceptional performance. Indeed, even the quickest glance across the Stinger’s form shows you how close to Kia’s intended outcome the finished car actually is.
From the front to the rear, the Stinger exudes presence and power, the long bonnet with it’s aggressive intakes flows beautifully from the signature tiger grille, gaping air scoops and clever full LED headlights. Combine these with the dark chrome finished outside mirror and dark chrome finished trim and you’re presented with what Kia call, refined, performance-oriented luxury, whilst aggressive 19″ alloy wheels remind us of the gran turismo aspirations of the car.
The rear of the car is perhaps even more striking than the front with LED combination lamps and, in MotorMartin’s opinion, super cool quad oval exhaust pipes whilst modern, stylish LEDs illuminate instantaneously with a bright, even glow and those four oval exhaust tips bark and crackle as befits a true performance car. 18” disc brakes with Brembo® red brake calipers add even more style and purpose, hinting at the performance on offer and stand out beautifully against the Ceramic Grey of the 2.0 T-GDI GT-Line S on test.
Show is no good without the requisite amount of go and it is here that Kia have played a very good game indeed offering up three different engine configurations for your delectation. A 3.3 litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine offering up 365bhp @ 6000rpm, 0-60mph in 4.7s and a top speed of 168mph making it the most powerful V6 petrol engine with a twin turbo in the Kia range.
There’s also an impressively responsive 2.0 T-GDi petrol engine which delivers 244bhp for high performance and a top speed of 149mph whilst a 2.2 CRDi engine caters for the oil burning fans amongst us. This 197 bhp 2.2 CRDi diesel engine, Kia say, combines lively performance capable of 143 mph top speed and impressive economy.
Sitting inside the Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDI GT-Line S on test and you’re immediately struck by the quality looks and feel to all that you come into contact with. Leather seats that offer up all of the adjustability you may need as well as being heated and ventilated for front passengers and heated for the outer rear. Directly in your eye-line are the exceptional looking circular aircraft-style vents, metal-ringed gauges and satin chrome trim. There are more surprises to be made as access to essential driving information can be had courtesy of the supervision cluster in the instrument panel or through the unbelievably clear and customisable Head-Up Display. A feature that really comes into it’s own when concentrating fully on the road ahead offering up for the driver speed, turn-by-turn navigation, smart cruise control settings, Intelligent Speed Limit Warning and Blind Spot Detection information.
Centrally mounted is a 8″ touchscreen system that allows access to the vast majority of the car’s functions including multimedia, Sat Nav, Bluetooth streaming, DAB and so on whilst the high definition 7″ TFT LCD in between the speedometer and rev counter offers up driving essentials such as average fuel economy or turn-by-turn navigation information. Once used to the different options available to the driver it is really simple to configure the driving information to mirror exactly what you need to see and use at any one time. Once again, Kia have created a simple to use system that offers benefits above and beyond for the driver.
Adding to the car’s practicality are simple things such as wireless phone charging, 12v power sockets front and rear, USB and AUX for media, cup holders and dual zone climate control. There’s also Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM with Voice Control, a Reversing Camera System (Integrated into Satellite Navigation Screen), Front & Rear Parking Sensors and a 360° Around View Monitor. And have i mentioned the optional 15-speaker harman / kardon® Premium Audio System with Subwoofer, External Amp & Front Centre Speaker yet?
Rear wheel drive and 244 (accessible) bhp makes for a car that offers the type of Jekyll and Hyde characteristics that can make a family car feel special in a way that more humdrum offerings cannot hope to match. This is a car that could and really should provide the family man/woman with a way out, an escape from monotony and dreariness, the sounds of freedom barking from the Stinger’s exhaust and scrabbling Traction Control. And yet, you have here a car that despite it’s performance underpinnings, provides sensible and comfortable transport for you, your family and all of their associated paraphernalia.
Want to head off for a few days into the countryside or perhaps take a jaunt across to Wales or Scotland? Fill the generously proportioned 406 litre boot, select comfort from the driving modes including Sport, Sport+, Eco and Smart, (changing the driving feel of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering, even changing the engine sound.) enter your destination on the inbuilt Sat Nav, or use Apple or Android depending on your preferences and away you go. I’ve not even mentioned the advanced driving aids yet. How does 360° Around View Monitor, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Advanced Smart Cruise Control Function (ASCC) & Speed Limiter with Intelligent Stop and Go, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) sound? This is an extremely relaxing car to drive for distance work.
But let us not forget the reason that you want this car. The visceral feelings associated with driving something special, driving something that pushes you into the seat as you put your foot through the carpet, driving something that you know will leave an indelible impression upon your soul.
Sport+ selected, first gear engaged using the flappy paddles to move up and down the super smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox and away you go. Despite this being the smaller of the two petrol engines, the 2.0 T-GDI delivers 353Nm torque from 1400-4000rpm and offers more than enough power for our tight and twisting A and B roads, indeed for MotorMartin, it really wouldn’t be a surprise if this is the better engine for actual ‘real life’ motoring. With a decent spread of power this is a car that really benefits from keeping to third and fourth through the bends allowing the engine to remain in that peak torque and allowing smaller inputs of the throttle to give you maximum forward momentum. Spin the turbocharged 4-cylinder towards it’s 6200rpm redline and you’re rewarded with an ever increasing wave of power and noise pushing you rapidly towards the horizon at significant speed.
With rear wheel drive on offer for the traditionally sporting driver, you’re driving a car that turns beautifully due to the front wheels only have to steer rather than handle the engine’s power. There’s also the small matter of acceleration, when the weight of a car is transferred to the back, giving greater grip to the driven wheels offering real world benefits for the driver when attacking a known set of bends on a favourite road trip. And that’s an area where the Stinger really stands out as in Sport and Sport+ the steering delivers such superb feel through the wheel it makes the car an extension of your soul allowing for almost subliminal levels of input to scythe through this green and pleasant land of ours.
As you toggle through the driver settings, preparing the car for a long motorway slog or just the commute to work you have the knowledge that beneath you, and a turn of a dial away, is a beast of a sports hatch ready to be unleashed but one that can also do the school run, the shopping and that long put off journey to visit family in complete comfort. Have your cake and eat it? For £29,995* with Kia’s current customer saving offer, absolutely.
I’ll leave it to Kia to sum up as they rather hit the nail on the head, A GT in spirit, the Kia Stinger is built for the thrill of driving and a love for exclusivity. Head-turning design, matched with performance that will give you goose bumps.
Where will you go?