Overview: Kia’s only previous sporty looking car was the Forte Koup. But it did not really register much of people’s attention. Also, back then, Kia was still taking its first steps upward in a car industry that has been viewing the Korean carmaker not very favourably. Now, when things have changed for the better, Kia releases the new Stinger GT, and it sure turns some head. The base model is priced at £32,000, which is about £8,000 cheaper than the BMW 430i Gran Coupe and VW’s Arteon. Safety features are pretty much the same across all models. ABS, stability control, autonomous emergency braking etc. are all standards. You’ll also get five drive modes to choose from. The only exclusive feature is electronic controlled suspension, which is available on the top-of-the-range GT S.
Powertrain: The base model, Stinger GT-line, brings into the table 244bhp. Max torque will be 353Nm from 1,400-3,500 rpm. 0-60 will be a neat 5.8 seconds, with a top speed of 149mph. Sure. you lose out quite a few compares to the top end GT S, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the GT-line. First, you won’t have to think about choosing the transmission. It shares the same 8-speed automatic with its bigger brother. And also doesn’t have the manual option. Depends on how you view it, this is either a good or a bad news. There’s no clutch pedal and manual gear lever to get the racing feeling. Then again, paddle shifters are always there for you to enjoy. The Stinger handles pretty well, too. There’s plenty of grip and stable body. The feedback from the steering wheel, while a bit lighter than I’d like, is enough for you to feel attached to the car. In short, it really could rival the similar models of Audi or even BMW. However, considering the car is engineered by Albert Biermann, former Vice President of Engineering for BMW M, that level of drive should be expected. Another fact, Kia tested the Stinger on the Autobahn. It shows the ambition of the Korean carmaker. This car is definitely geared toward the Western market.
Exterior: I have to admit, this is probably Kia’s best-looking car to date. It’s mean in the front. The large tiger nose grill fits perfectly with the style of the Stinger. Combines with the triangular headlights, the car looks like it’s going to slash every vehicle in its path. Maybe “Stinger” is not the correct name here. When you go to the back, it will still be quite intimidating. But that doesn’t mean the design has no drawback at all. First is the extended line of the taillights. It might be because Kia wants the tail to look bigger. But it looks rushed. Clearly Kia has the ability to do better. Then if you’re someone who enjoys American muscle/pony car design, you’ll surely get the feeling that you’ve seen that taillights somewhere else. And yes, you’re right. It’s hard to tell the difference between the Stinger’s taillights and those of the Dodge Charger. A bit of a let-down, but it works for Kia. It’s hard to deny that this car attracts a lot of attention with its looks.
Interior: Inside the Stinger is not very impressive. But considering this is Kia, not BMW or Audi, the Korean manufacturer did well. There aren’t many buttons there, and that’s a good thing. You’re safe from all those confusing extras that you know you will never use. An 8-inch infotainment touch screen and heads-up display is standard on every model. You can also connect with your phone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The seats are leather. The same one that you’d get if you chose the top model. And that means plenty of comfort. Noise level is splendid. Unless you mash the pedal, it’s quiet in the cabin. Deserves the GT badge indeed. Also, in case you’re not the one who’s driving, there are quite some space to relax in the back seats.
Summary: Should you buy the entry-level Stinger? Yes, you should. Despite being the base model, a lot of features that you find in the top-of-the-line Stinger are still there in the GT-line. You’re not missing out too much for paying £8,000 less. The value for the money is incredible.