BEHIND THE WHEEL: Kia Stinger GT
MONDAY APRIL 20, 2020
Most people, I am guilty of this myself, have moved on to SUVs for that bit more space, that tad bit of off-road ability. So it is genuinely interesting to see, of all people, Kia to put so much into a sports saloon. Three years on, I'm still liking the looks of the Stinger (especially from the rear third quarter). One in ceramic grey to go with a red interior would be my configuration.
Soft panels everywhere from where you are seated, everything’s properly tightened together. Early production cars might suffer from this but the one presented to me was rock solid. Front and back seats are generous, plush and remind me of the F10 BMW M5 that I still earnestly adore. If there’s anything to nitpick on the inside, that’d be the left and right most air conditioning vents that look like they don’t belong. Nitpicking aside, if the front seats are at its lowest, foot area for rear passengers get tight.
Incredible to drive
Blue blooded grand tourer
No optional extra
0-100 km/h: 4.9s
Top speed: 270 km/h
$ 60,790 AUD
Despite having a relatively large engine by today’s measure, the GT doesn’t breathe into life with a depth of tone even with an optional bimodal exhaust. Unlike most manufacturers, it doesn’t come with a dedicated button so it is only activated when sport is selected. For the first time, I would not recommend a factory sports exhaust system as it does bring about excitement in the beginning but as time passes, droning wears novelty off quickly.
Other than that, it is a seriously nice place to be in. Seats’ cool, steering is electrically adjusted, roof’s lined with suede, the list goes on. On the move, the Stinger is easy to drive because its steering reacts consistently with accuracy. Like its front seats, it too can be heated.
Soft materials continue into the back and is topped off with ample of space and recline for two. Transmission is decisive and imperceptible while suspensions do a good job at cushioning. Sport mode stiffens spring but things do not ever get crashy. Road and wind noise being silenced to a minimal does further add to an already comfortable cabin.
The driving aspect of a Stinger GT reminds me most of the M5. It is very much like the BMW at seven-tenth. From its relentless motor, body control calibration to that feeling you get behind the wheel is all so familiar. Depending on what sort of a driver you are, the Stinger does not fling its tail like the F10 every time you put the foot down. That’s something that I enjoy but for many individuals, it can be scary.
The Stinger will fishtail in a bend while in a hairpin, it will happily let loose on full send even with the traction control left fully on. Should you regret your decision, simply lift off throttle and it will all come back in place. Brembo brakes at all four corner are progressive and bite hard when demanded. When you’re tired of driving, let its adaptive cruise do the lifting as it does quite a good job.
Complaints? The most I’ve come across on the web would be fake vents. Since Mini went from being supercharged to turbo, its hood scoop was shut and left hanging purely for aesthetics yet it doesn’t get as much loathe. So would we rather not have them? The 8-inch touchscreen also used in other Kias and Hyundais found here is of higher definition. It is quick to respond, easy to use but it is on the smaller side by today’s standards of screen estate. Also, a lot more pixels can be crammed into its surround cameras as the picture is fuzzy.
Most will consider various Japanese cars before considering the Stinger, be it familiar or biased but the biggest challenge for most of us would be looking past that badge. If you ask me, getting 70 percent M5 at a quarter of the price sounds like a good deal.