In Depth

Kia Stinger: First drives, specs and release

South Korean firm has Audi and BMW in its sights as it takes new direction

Kia Stinger

Kia has turned up the heat at the Detroit Motor Show with the unveiling of a new Stinger saloon designed to rival upmarket, mid-size saloons like the Audi S4 and BMW 3-Series.

The new launch represents a move into aspirational territory for the brand. The South Korean firm is known for making entry-level hatchbacks and commuter vehicles, but the Stinger incorporates premium materials with a sporty aesthetic that's consistent among the leaders of the mid-size saloon market. 

The new car is expected to arrive in the UK late this year, with prices being announced closer to its launch date. 

Here are all the details:

Design

With four exhausts positioned low at the rear of the vehicle and muscular bodywork, it's clear that Kia has taken some design cues from Alfa Romeo's sporty Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon. The car has two vents located on top of the bonnet and large air ducts on the front bumper, which could be used to cool the brakes.

Inside, the Stinger is coated in leather with metal highlights around the gear stick and air vents. Above the centre console sits a large touchscreen, which is expected to serve as an infotainment panel and satellite navigation system. 

The car shown at Detroit is a range-topping GT variant, but an entry-level Stinger will join the lineup when the new vehicle enters showrooms. While no images have been released of the regular Stinger, it's expected to be more understated in terms of style and to have fewer options as standard.

Interior

Entering the Stinger's cabin, drivers will find deeply contoured seats covered in Nappa leather, which can be adjusted using air-cells built into the back rests.

The long, swooping windscreen and low driving position should make the cabin feel driver-focused, while the long wheelbase design will offer plenty of space for occupants. No boot space figures have been mentioned yet, but Kia says the Stinger will be "larger than many of its rivals" and can carry "full-size luggage or golf bags". 

Front-seat occupants will see a centre console split between a large touchscreen and the ventilation controls. The dashboard comprises both analogue and digital dials, with a colour display located in the middle to relay performance data and navigation options. 

Safety features include the Stinger monitoring the driver's input. If it notices any sign of fatigue, the car sounds an alarm and the central display will tell the driver to pull over and take a break.

Performance

Under the bonnet, the Stinger GT houses a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 360bhp and 376lb-ft torque, making it slightly more powerful than the Audi S4 and BMW 340i. This helps launch the Stinger GT from zero to 62mph in 5.1secs and on to a top speed of 167mph. 

The entry-level model is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine, with a power output of 252bhp and 260lb-ft torque. Kia has yet to state any acceleration figures for the base saloon. Expect these to be revealed just before the car's official launch. 

Both variants receive an eights-speed automatic gearbox and can be chosen in either rear or four-wheel drive configurations. There's no word of a diesel-powered model, although this could appear after the Stinger has gone on sale. 

First drives

The long wheelbase and mechanical LSD (limited-slip differential) means the Stinger GT is "very easy to drift", says Evo. There's a "fair amount of body roll" in the firmer damping modes, but it's not the "sloppy" or "wayward" kind. 

It's also a lot more simple to place the car into a corner than its size and weight might suggest, adds the magazine. Although "it lacks absolute feel", the Stinger GT's steering feels "crisp and direct" and is well matched to the car's cornering grip.

Car says that one of the standout features of Kia's new mid-size saloon is its low driving position. The driver's seat can also be dropped down ever further in an "extremely sporty position", which is helped by the easily adjustable steering wheel. 

Meanwhile, passengers in the rear will be treated to a "generous amount of leg room" thanks to its long wheelbase design. 

Two metal-ringed analog dials flank a central display on the dashboard, the magazine says, which relays "key driving data" such as G-forces and lap times. The design is similar to that of a Mercedes, as it incorporates a mix of "metal-capped switchgear" and jet-inspired air vents.  

Price

The range-topping Stinger GT is expected to go on sale for "around £43,000", says AutoExpress, which adds that it could enter showrooms "this September". 

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