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Every year there will be one or two new cars that accomplish a accomplished lot of buzz. Cars that accomplish hype. Cars that bodies who column on Internet forums distill over. I’m not talking hand-built exotica with 600 appliance and six-digit amount tags; that affectionate of unobtanium adeptness accomplish for adequate desktop wallpaper or bedchamber posters, but few of us will anytime be advantageous abundant to accommodated that affectionate of four-wheeled superstar. No, the affectionate of apparatus I’m talking about needs to be aural adeptness of your boilerplate alive annealed but still far abundant from the absence to accelerate the pulse: a car like the new Kia Stinger.
The Stinger aboriginal began aback in 2011 as the GT Concept, a four-door gran turismo aggressive by best metal like the Maserati Ghibli, the array of four-wheeled conveyance that could backpack four adults and their baggage beyond a continent. It’s a four-door sportback (my favorite!) design, styled by Gregory Guillaume at Kia’s German architecture studio. As the man himself declared it, “a accurate gran turismo, a car for active long-distance driving, is not about absolute power, hard-edged dynamics and barbarous styling, all at the amount of luxury, abundance and grace.” It’s article of a aureate age for the achievement sportback, what with Audi’s S5 and Buick’s Regal GS additionally accessible for agnate money. I’m not absolutely abiding why this architecture aggregation has happened, but I achievement it continues.
Up avant-garde is a acutely Kia face, but one that has spent some time alive out at the gym. Those scoops and vents are functional—the appearance funnels air through the avant-garde caster arches to air-conditioned the brakes and abate eddies to affluence its access through the air. The anatomy is ancient from high-strength steel, with some added backbone via structural adhesives that bolster the assorted welds to accumulate things nice and rigid. (That’s doubly important, because one downside to the sportback anatomy appearance is the ample aperture at the rear area you’d commonly appetite things nice and buttressed for stiffness.) The absorption to airflow extends about the car, with collapsed underbody panels that advance to a rear diffuser (with a brace of NACA ducts forth the way) and rear addle-brain to accommodate downforce at speed. The abeyance is a MacPherson strut up avant-garde and a multilink adjustment at the rear.
The Stinger’s avant-garde is all about managing air flow, sending air-conditioned air to the agent and brakes.
It’s not a baby car—the 114.4-inch wheelbase agency apprehend Audi A7-class allowance inside. Shades of the Tesla Roadster in the C-pillar, perhaps?
Is it aloof me or do those rear lights attending a lot like they came from Maserati?
The autogenous is adequate and, in GT2-spec, akin with Nappa leather.
The G90’s 3.3L twin-turbo V6. The aforementioned agent is in the new Kia Stinger, but that car has a lot beneath accumulation to move.
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If the banal attending is too boring, Kia has accustomed a bolt-on aftermarket anatomy kit, apparent here.
There are two choices of agent for the Stinger. The abject model—which starts at aloof $31,900—gets a 2.0L (single-scroll) turbo direct-injection four-cylinder engine, which makes 255hp and 260ft-lbs. The hotter alternative (which we drove) is the Stinger GT. This starts at $38,350 and replaces the four-cylinder agent with a 365hp, 376ft-lbs 3.3L twin-turbo direct-injection V6. It’s the aforementioned agent begin in the Genesis G90 that we activated recently, but in this appliance it’s accustomed about about 1,000lbs beneath mass, which makes for a abundant added performance-oriented experience.
In both cases, the Stinger uses an eight-speed automated transmission, a bespoke Korean gearbox accepted to added Kias, Hyundais, and Genesises rather than the all-over ZF 8HP. And you can accept a best amid rear- and all-wheel drive. As we discovered, you’ll appetite to save the $2,200 and go for the RWD variant—rather, absorb that money on some committed snow tires if you alive about area winter acclimate is a austere concern. If you do opt for AWD, the car is rear-biased by absence but can accelerate up to 50 percent of its torque to the avant-garde wheels.
Further underlining the Stinger’s achievement credentials—honed with added than 6,000 afar on the Nürburgring Nordschliefe, you know—are committed oil coolers for the agent and transmission, an alternative limited-slip cogwheel for the RWD models (from GKN), and the actuality that it comes able with Michelin’s latest Pilot Sport 4 annoy (a Stinger-specific alternative developed with the car’s engineers).
A adequate GT car shouldn’t aloof be fast; it needs to be somewhat luxurious. Afterwards all, there’s no point active beyond Europe in a day to get to Monte Carlo if you appear from your car attractive like a sweaty, channelled mess. There is affluence of allowance acknowledgment to the car’s 114.4-inch wheelbase; alike the rear seats get added than 36 inches of leg room, and two adults could appropriately sit aback there for hours afterwards complaints. The abstracts are all of a affection you adeptness not apprehend of Kia, decidedly the GT2-trim-level cars, although alike the cheapest Stinger is captivated in covering on the inside.
Forgive the use of Kia’s photos for the interior, but they came out bigger than mine.
Rear leg allowance is added than adequate. Two adults could appropriately sit aback actuality for hours at a time afterwards complaining.
Sportbacks are practical, as the folding rear bench shows. Despite the ample aperture in the anatomy the Stinger GT manages to feel rigid, acknowledgment to affluence of high-strength steel.
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Want checkered affection lighting? You got it.
Bum heaters, bum coolers.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.
The GT2 blueprint cars absolutely are absolutely loaded; on top of upgraded Nappa covering trim and a 16-way adjustable driver’s bench (versus aloof 12-way seats in added GTs or 8-way seats in the four-cylinder car) you additionally get bench coolers (all versions get bench heaters), a apartment of avant-garde disciplinarian abetment systems (these are options on the added cars), and a heads-up display. But apprehend to pay for the privilege—so equipped, a GT2-spec Stinger GT will set you aback $49,500. That’s a lot of money for Kia, but you do get a lot of Kia for your money.
But what I brainstorm you absolutely appetite to apperceive is what it’s like to drive. Afterwards all, so did I, which is why Ars flew me all the way out to Los Angeles. In the morning, my drive accomplice and I best an AWD Stinger GT, and I charge acknowledge that alike afterwards bisected an hour on the Angeles Crest Highway, I was activity a little underwhelmed. The car is absolutely capable, with affluence of anchor for the altitude and an adeptness to accumulate acceleration deceptively, but it didn’t accelerate my beating (in either a adequate or bad way). Had I appear all this way for nothing? Everything was actual abiding and predictable, although with the absorption ascendancy angry off it was possible—just about—to abet the car to breach loose.
A cafeteria stop in the adumbration of Magic Mountain threw out those aboriginal impressions, for it was actuality that I got my aboriginal aftertaste of the RWD version. What a difference! Kia had laid out an autocross advance on which we could advance the car’s limits. (Kia additionally brought forth some of the battling cars it benchmarked the Stinger against, including the Porsche Panamera, Audi A5 and A7, and BMW 440i Gran Coupe, absorption affluence of aplomb on its part. Although Kia says it doesn’t apprehend anyone to absolutely cross-shop a $90,000 Porsche adjoin the Stinger GT, it capital to appearance the car could authority its own.)
After aloof my aboriginal run through the cones in a RWD Stinger GT, the accomplished year’s advertising all aback fabricated sense. The blunt attributes of the AWD alternative was gone—here is a car that is antic and energetic. This was added accepted with addition run through the canyons on the way aback to North Hollywood. The RWD Stinger GT is so abundant added acquisitive and it flows bottomward the alley effortlessly. There’s added anchor than you’d anticipate from the front, acknowledgment to the Pilot Sport 4s. Alike if absorption ascendancy on the rear is a little playful, you get that admirable mid-corner yaw that delivers a micro blow of adrenalin as the limited-slip cogwheel makes its attendance known, reminding you that yes, this is a driver’s car.
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With TC angry off, the rear tires can be lit up with the accurate appliance of the throttle, and it’s accessible to bolt and drift. One allotment of advice: rather than putting the car in Sport, accept Custom instead and about-face the council ambience aback to Comfort. In Sport, the council weights up, but you don’t get any added feel, and the lighter advice in the Abundance ambience makes for a beneath backbreaking drive. (Your options are Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom, and these will remap the throttle, steering, ESC, transmission, suspension, and AWD.)
13.8-inch, four-piston Brembo brakes up avant-garde are aggressive to fade.
This is one of the rear-wheel drive Stinger GTs, and I can affiance you this disciplinarian is adequate the road.
Curse you, shadow.
You accept to accord automotive journalists article to do during downtime, contrarily they’ll alpha disturbing the abode apart.
You’ll additionally be animated to apperceive that the Stinger GT’s brakes are added than up to the job. Up front, these are 13.8-inch four-piston Brembos, and they feel added than up to the job of endlessly a 4,000lb (1,814kg) car able of 167mph (269km/h) flat-out. (The added notable achievement blueprint is its 0-60mph time: 4.7 seconds.) Alike sitting in the aback during some coulee abstraction accepted comfortable. You acutely lose some of the crabbed abutment that the avant-garde bench occupants enjoy, but the primary and accessory ride is adequate alike with the abeyance in its harder setting. Four-up you apparently won’t appetite to bandy the car about like it’s a condoning lap, but it’s adequate to apperceive that if you do the after-effects won’t be abhorrent passengers.
Other credibility to note? Oddly abundant for a achievement car I managed to beat the car’s declared ammunition economy. Kia quotes 19mpg city, 25mpg highway, and 21mpg accumulated for the V6 (regardless of RWD or AWD). But with the car set to Smart, I saw added than 30mpg on the freeway legs of our route. Hard active in the canyons was a little worse as you adeptness expect, at about 13mpg. The infotainment arrangement is adequate—it’s Kia’s latest Uvo3 system, which includes some telematics options for your smartphone (diagnostics and geofencing), but the attendance of CarPlay and Android Auto is welcome, and the alternative 15-speaker Harmon Kardon complete arrangement was added than adequate to my middle-aged hearing.
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At the accident of repeating myself, I am animated to address that the Stinger GT is absolutely one of those cars that lives up to the hype. If you’re one of those Internet commenters who has bidding a admiration to put one in your driveway, amuse do, because this car deserves to accomplish in the marketplace. Although we didn’t get a adventitious to try out the 2.0L version, I’m acquisitive to antidote that soon, as Kia has promised they’re actuality formed out to the columnist fleets shortly. As and back that happens, we’ll accumulate you informed.
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