Car manufacturers these days tend to play safe by staying in the shallow waters of mainstream popularity and rarely venturing out into the rapids where one wrong move could spell disaster. Occasionally though some more adventurous company will decide to explore the deeper waters of performance and come up with a motor that satisfies the demon driver within us all. Herewith, we give you, with a big round of applause, the brilliant Kia Stinger.
The Stinger is a four door, rear-wheel drive fastback saloon and it looks fabulous, so that’s automotive beauty ticked off the list; but the good news doesn’t stop there. With all model variants driving through a sweet eight-speed automatic gearbox, the GT-Line and GT-Line S models offer a choice of either a 244bhp 2.0L petrol engine or a 197bhp turbo-diesel with emissions of 181g/km and 154g/km respectively.
The diesel especially will suit business users without losing any of the cachet. Both offer plenty of performance, but the star car has to be the GT-S (pictured), under the bonnet of which buyers will find a lusty 365bhp (225g/km) available to the right foot thanks to a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 power plant.
The Kia Stinger hurtles from rest to 60mph in a brisk 4.7 seconds and on to 168mph, but that’s not the whole story. The real action comes with general driving. There are paddle shifts to facilitate manual gear changes but we soon noted that the quick-witted gearbox was up to the task, shifting swiftly and smoothly through the ratios on demand.
On the motorway or on the country lane this car does not disappoint. We selected ‘eco’ mode for a long motorway run and watched the miles per gallon climb to a fuel-sipping 32. ‘Comfort’ mode suits traffic-crawls and ‘smart’ lets the car choose, depending upon driver input. Having tried all these modes we switched to ‘Sport’ which tightens everything up, improves the cars’ responses whilst adding a subtle V6 growl. ‘Sport+’ is probably best saved for the track.
On The Inside
Front seat passengers are properly cosseted. The Nappa leather seats are big and well contoured for comfort, support and adjustment. The smart and well designed centre console has an aluminium finish to it and chrome highlights lift the interior ambiance, topped off with a nice sunroof. Ideally, rear passengers should number two, although three will fit at a pinch. The back seats are limited by that fastback shape and, usefully, a cavernous boot.
The front seats do of course have a heating option, as does the steering wheel but many cars do that these days. So we were delighted to find a cooling option too! We switched them on and within a couple of minutes our combined rear-ends were frostier than frozen penguins. In a Kia Stinger you can truly chill out.
The big touchscreen rises up upon starting and offers the usual technology included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s a clear heads-up display showing speed and navigation (when in use).
The best thing about options like this are many of them are in fact not options but standard. The car as tested costs just £40,495 on the road and it comes fully loaded. That’s impressive and it is our belief that this vehicle outdoes the prestige German regulars. You would have to have a serious case of badge envy to overlook the Kia Stinger, especially with the long seven-year warranty offered along with the new ‘Kia Promise’.
Should You Buy One?
Absolutely. Build and interior quality is excellent. The GT-S as tested is maybe a tad thirsty though. Kia reckon that 28mpg should be a fair average and that is indeed what we saw at the end of the week. It is very easy, very easy indeed, to knock that back to 20/24mpg by being boisterous but why else would you buy this version of the car? The other models in the range will be less expensive to run while still offering most of the benefits of the range-topper.
The plain fact is that if you like to drive and we mean really, properly drive, then this car for all the reasons given is a must-have. Kia deserve the highest praise for producing this great car.
Geoff Maxted, DriveWrite