2017 Kia Stinger GT: can it take on the Germans?
With strikingly swoopy bodywork, this is like no Kia we’ve seen before. The Korean manufacturer has advanced its quality and desirability in spades in recent years, but this is the first car that could really take a sizeable bite out of the German-dominated market.
From some angles, the Stinger GT can claim to be among the best-looking cars in its class. The flowing lines and flanked sides are not dissimilar to Alfa’s new Giulia, while the fastback hatch is more than a little reminiscent of Audi’s A5 and A7 Sportback models.
Things look equally impressive on the inside, which features a large colour touchscreen infotainment system that will no doubt feature the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto tech. There’s several other TFT screens for driver information and, although it isn’t the largest in its class, there’s passenger space than several of its main competitors.
The low-slung cabin, gaping grille and high quality interior really do make for a desirable product; take the Kia badges off and it’s likely you’d surprise a few people, but whether they will pick one over a traditional exec saloon remains to be seen.
Its muscular stance is there for a good reason too, because the Stinger GT is rear-wheel-drive – the first Kia to use such a set-up that again, is usually a reserve of the Germans saloons these days. the Stinger will be launched with a powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 engine that produces 365bhp and 510Nm of torque.
This results in a seriously impressive 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds. That makes it comparable with the likes of a BMW 630i Gran Coupe, and less than a second behind the M5. If you’re after something a little less feisty however, a four-cylinder Stinger will be available from 2018, although even that still produces 252bhp.
The Germanic influence on the Stinger is all thanks to Albert Bierhamm, a designer that joined the company from BMW in 2014. “I think, for the Kia brand, the Stinger is like a special event,” notes Biermann. “Because nobody expects such a car, not just the way it looks but also the way it drives. It's a wholly different animal.”
Is it worth it?
We won’t know how lease prices will reflect the V6 version’s £43,000 list price until nearer its launch, but that sum puts it on par (and above) Audi’s A6 and Mercedes’ excellent E-Class. So, regardless of quality and design, Kia really will have its work cut out. Are its good looks and impressive power train enough to sway?
Can’t wait until September? You can find personal lease deals for Kia’s attractive Optima saloon here…