Kia are not known for producing high performance cars, but that has changed with the arrival of their first foray into this tough segment with the all new Kia Stinger.
The Kia Stinger is a large luxury high performance Gran Tourer and is set to take the fight for market share in this lucrative segment to the like of Audi and BMW.
Now thats a bold ambition from a company more known for family friendly hatchbacks and SUV’s.
Its the fastest production car that Kia has ever produced and they really have thrown all their expertise and know-how at this flagship new model.
The Stinger is powered by either a 3.3litre V6 370 bhp petrol or a 2.2 litre diesel both with rear wheel drive.
To buy the diesel version seems to defeat the purpose of this car so I spent a week living with the 3.3 litre V6 petrol.
So has it any street cred?
No question about it! The Stinger is an imposing looking car, long, sleek and purposeful with a distinctive style.
Features which I liked in particular were the chrome door mirrors, Quad chrome exhaust tailpipes, side airblades and wrap around rear light clusters.
It drew many admiring and indeed curious glances from many an Audi or Jaguar driver. Interesting that !
What’s it like inside?
Kia definitely made a great effort here to make sure this car feels upmarket.
Highlights include full Nappa leather trim, Suede interior roof lining, electric memory seats and steering wheel, a Harmon Kardon premium sound system, multi view camera, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated sports seats, panoramic roof, head up display, a host of driver and performance assist technology, Brembo brakes, integrated rear spoiler and even heated rear seats.
The list goes on but I’m running out of space!
The cabin is well finished though on closer inspection some of the trim used is not as good as it could be.
Its not up there with say Audi or Mercedes……..yet!
Accomadation is excellent both front and rear and the large boot is easily accessed via the huge electrically operated rear tailgate.
What’s under the bonnet?
The 3.3 litre V6 is silky smooth and mated to an 8-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifts for those who want that sports car engagement.
Performance is certainly very good it will hit 100km in 4.9 seconds and top out at a claimed 270km/h and it proves quiet and refined.
Somehow though it does not engage the driver like a BMW would for example.
Road tax will set you back €1,200 per year and it likes fuel too burning on average 10.9 litres per 100km.
So what’s it like to drive?
Certainly the ingredients are excellent.
A 370 BHP V6 petrol turbo, rear wheel drive, switchable chassis modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus and a smooth 8-speed auto.
The Stinger has punch and feels very quick, the dynamics are good too, but that tail wiggles quite a bit on a damp road surface only contained by the wonder of modern electronics.
Turn on Sport Plus (where stability control intervention is minimal) and the Stinger will slide the tail out with ease.
No bad thing as this is a mode for playing on a closed circuit, so its fun, nevertheless in normal modes I felt the stability control intervene a lot to keep those rear wheels pointing in the right direction.
Its very comfortable, quiet and refined.
To say that this is a superb first effort into the high performance luxury car segment seems almost unfair.
The Stinger is an excellent sports GT, no question.
But it is not quite there yet in the way its rivals such as Audi, Jaguar and BMW are.
Last but not least I think few Irish buyers will stump up the €66,895 needed to buy it, though the diesel version costs a bit less at €53,895.