September 22, 2017: Germinated from a seed of desire planted by the classic gran turismo cars of the sixties and seventies, Kia’s stunning new Stinger is set to bloom on Australian roads.
“This is the car that brings passion and desire to the Kia brand,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said. “It is like drawing the Ace of hearts to complete a royal routine _ it is the passion that goes with Kia’s established cornerstones of value, styling, engineering and reliability.”
Mr Meredith said he is confident the Stinger has the attributes which will endear it to Australian drivers across a wide demographic.
“It is styled to catch the eye and the heart, it is powered for a big country and tuned and balanced to provide the sort of easy long-distance performance that Australian drivers have come to expect from their family cars,” Mr Meredith added.
“All-in-all the Stinger answers a host of questions that a significant section of the Australian new car buyers have been left wondering about.”
A powerful fastback sports sedan, the Stinger closely follows the design and engineering blueprint laid down by the 2011 Kia GT Concept, and is the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history.
The Stinger channels the spirit of historic grand tourers – powerful, elegant vehicles capable of moving their owners in style, at speed. At every stage of development, the Stinger has been designed and engineered to be the perfect gran turismo.
The car features a head-turning aesthetic, ample room to accommodate five occupants and their luggage, a stable, unruffled ride, and nimble handling with engaging, rear-biased power delivery.
In its transition from concept to production, Kia’s GT Concept was renamed ‘Stinger’, inspired by the GT4 Stinger concept revealed at NAIAS 2014. While the car is a true GT in nature, the Stinger name evokes speed and excitement, two key characteristics found in the production car.
For Australian buyers the Stinger will come with a choice of two petrol engines – a single turbo 2.0-litre four cylinder (182kW and 353Nm) or a twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6 (272kW and 510Nm), both driving the rear wheels through Kia’s in-house eight-speed automatic.
Each of the engine grades will be available in three specifications – S, Si and GT-Line for the 2.0-litre and S, Si and GT for the 3.3-litre.
With safety a primary concern, the Stinger S packs a full suite of active and passive safety, featuring anti-lock braking with emergency brakeforce distribution and brake assist, Electronic Stability Control and traction control, Vehicle Stability Management, hill assist, rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, active hood pedestrian protection, LED daylight running lights and three child restraint points (two ISOFIX).
On the passive safety front there are seven airbags including a driver’s side knee bag, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters.
The driver enjoys 8-way adjustment for the artificial leather sports seating while the front seat passenger can adjust their seating six ways to find the optimum comfort position.
Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls is standard, along with 3.5-inch mono instrument cluster, two 12V power outlets and two USB charging points.
The entertainment system boasts six speakers, a 7-inch touch screen control centre with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth compatibility and music streaming.
Stepping up to the Si adds a raft of extra features including 19-inch alloys (on 3.3-litre models) with 225/40R profile front tyres and 255/35R19 rears.
On the safety front the Si gains Autonomous Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Alert, front parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers.
On the comfort and convenience front the Si gains Advanced Smart Cruise Control, while in line with the S there are four cup holders and four bottle holders, a centre console storage box and front seat pockets but the Si adds a handy luggage net.
The entertainment system features an 8-inch touch screen and nine speakers _ including two under-seat woofers _ with active sound design.
At the top of the grade the GT is packed with extra features. In addition to the rear view camera the GT adds a 360-degree camera view, Blind Spot Detection, Dynamic Bending Lights, High Beam Assist and colour Heads Up Display (HUD).
There are a range of external cues unique to the GT, including electrochromic door mirrors, LED headlights with auto leveling, powered sunroof and two bespoke colours – Aurora Black and Snow White Pearl.
The seating becomes Nappa leather appointed with GT logos and the addition of lumbar support, powered bolster adjuster and thigh extender. There is a two-position seat memory with easy access and a D-cut steering wheel.
The instrument cluster steps up to a 7-inch colour TFT-LCD screen, alloy sports pedals become standard and suede makes an appearance in the interior roof and pillar trims. There is also a wireless phone charging capability.
The entertainment system takes a major step up with a premium 15-speaker Harman/Kardon system (eight speakers, four tweeters, centre speaker and two subwoofers powered by an external amplifier).
Specific to the 3.3-litre cars are a set of Bembro brakes and a limited slip differential as well as variable gear steering ratio – all designed to make the big Stinger as sporting as it is enjoyable.
Turning a concept into a production car is no small feat. Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt – birthplace of the 2011 GT concept – has brought the Stinger to life, overseen by Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer of Kia Motors, and Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer at Kia Motors Europe.
It was Guillaume’s passion for the gran turismo cars he admired as a child that played no small part in the direction the Stinger took as it evolved from the GT Concept.
“The Kia Stinger is a true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving,” Guillaume explained. “It’s not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace. The Kia Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey. It’s about passion.”
From its sleek frontal section, through its svelte flanks, and up to its powerful haunches, the Stinger exudes a muscular confidence.
Key to its road presence are its rear-wheel drive proportions – a long bonnet and short 830mm front overhang, an extended wheelbase (2905mm) to deliver a spacious cabin, and a long rear overhang (1095mm) with strong, broad shoulders. The Stinger’s stance, proportion and visual balance are designed to lend the car an air of elegance and athleticism, rather than aggression and brutality.
The Stinger measures 4830mm in length and 1870mm in width, making it longer and wider than many sport sedans, and allowing for a spacious cabin and cargo area. With a 406-litre cargo capacity (VDA), the Stinger’s boot can accommodate two full-size suitcases or golf bags, or four or five weekend bags for short trips away.
The ‘Coke bottle’ shape of the car’s flanks highlight and enhance the visual power of the Stinger’s shoulder line, as well as its fastback silhouette.
Other purely functional elements of the exterior design – the front air curtains, wheel arch gills, smooth underbody, and integrated rear diffuser – aid its aerodynamic efficiency. The rear valance houses four oval exhaust pipes. Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille sits proudly between complex LED headlamps.
External gran turismo visual cues are complemented by the layout and atmosphere of the low-slung cabin, with a steeply-raked windscreen and high dashboard running along a horizontal plane.
The dashboard’s centre console is split into two specific areas: the infotainment controls sit neatly below a large colour touchscreen, while the climate and ventilation controls sit beneath. In front of the driver is a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a single instrument binnacle with a combination of analogue and digital instrumentation.
The large gauges are ringed in metal and accentuated with sweeping red needles. A colour TFT screen between the gauges in the GT relays performance data – such as cornering G-forces and lap times – along with ancillary information, including trip computer, driver settings, navigation and diagnostics.
Aeronautically-inspired spoked circular vents feature in the front and rear, while a strip of satin chrome encircles the cabin.
The effect is a feeling of cocooned intimacy. However, the long wheelbase, four-door body, and fastback silhouette allow for generous front and rear leg room, and the low seating position provides ample head room for all passengers. In its lowest setting, the driver’s seat is 45mm lower than that of the Kia Optima sedan for a low-slung, performance-oriented driving position.
Cossetting occupants in luxury, the Stinger’s deeply-contoured seats are available with ultra-soft Nappa leather, while the driver’s seat is available with four-way air-cell lumbar support in the seatback and side bolsters for optimal comfort. A wide sunroof on GT enhances the ambience of the interior, allowing more light to flood the cabin and improve the outwards view for every passenger.
Across the range the Stinger will be available in seven colours – Panthera Metal (not available in GT-Line or GT), Sunset Yellow, Silky Silver, Hichroma Red, Ceramic Grey, Micro Blue and Deep Chroma Blue, while exclusive to GT-Line and GT will be Aurora Black and Snow White Pearl.
The interior trim for the S grades will be black artificial leather while Si garners a black leather trim. GT-Line buyers will have the option of a black leather trim or a no-cost red leather trim (not available in Sunset Yellow, Hichroma Red or Micro Blue) while GT owners have the same interior colour choices but in rich Nappa leather.
Engines and drivetrain
With turbochargers equipped across the engine line-up, the Stinger offers drivers effortless gran turismo-style high-speed cruising and instant acceleration when called upon by the driver, with both engines providing high power and torque across a wide band of engine speeds.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder ‘Theta II’ engine produces 182kW at 6200rpm. Its maximum torque output – 353Nm – is available from 1400-4000rpm.
However, the hero engine for Stinger is the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 ‘Lambda II’ with peak power of 272kW arriving at 6000 rpm, and 510Nm torque accessible across a very tractable range of 1300rpm to 4500rpm.
Stinger models powered by the 3.3-litre turbocharged engine can accelerate from 0-to-100kph in just 4.9 seconds (utilising launch control), making it the fastest-accelerating production Kia ever. With this engine, Kia is targeting a top speed of 270km/h. The 2.0-litre – also fitted with launch control – can complete the sprint in 6.0 seconds.
The Stinger features the second-generation of Kia’s electronic eight-speed automatic transmission, which is fitted as standard with both engines. Designed in-house, the eight-speed transmission rewards drivers with immediate shifts and optimum fuel efficiency.
More typically found in aviation and racing applications, the Stinger’s transmission marks Kia’s first use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber (CPA) torque converter, reducing torsional vibrations through the drivetrain for the 2.0-litre turbo.
The transmission offers adaptive shift and throttle programmes (as well as levels of steering assistance), which drivers can select through the car’s electronic Drive Mode Select. Drivers can leave the car to shift for itself, or change gears with steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The Stinger is Kia’s first sedan to be available with rear-wheel drive with power from the 3.3-litre distributed throughout the rear axle via a mechanical limited slip differential.
Ride and handling
Kia has sought to create a car with driving dynamics that live up to its stunning design.
To fulfil this brief, the Stinger’s ride and handling were honed at Germany’s famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, under the watch of Albert Biermann, Head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development. A gran turismo by design and by nature, the Stinger’s test regime was established to make it capable of taking every kind of road in its stride.
For the Australian Stinger, the ride and handling dynamics have been further honed by the KMAu product team to provide optimum compatibility with Australia’s unique road surfaces and designs.
Extensive testing on both local roads and at Kia’s Namyang R&D Centre in Korea has given the Stinger a dynamics package in tune with Australian drivers’ specific tastes.
The Stinger’s bodyshell provides an ultra-stiff foundation for the car’s suspension components, and contributes to reduced noise and vibration for a quiet cabin.
The MacPherson strut front suspension system has been tuned to optimise feedback to the driver, as well as maximise steering response and stability in all conditions. At the rear, a multi-link suspension setup aids handling responses, with a reinforced anti-roll bar for high stability and minimal body vibrations.
The Stinger also features an electronically-adjustable suspension system, Dynamic Stability Damping Control (DSDC). While always reacting predictably to the driver’s inputs, the system can be tuned via the Drive Mode Select depending on road conditions and driving style.
DSDC can be used to firm or soften the front and rear dampers independently, for tailored ride, response and agility. DSDC can also assist drivers in ensuring a predictable driving line through corners. The system can soften the front suspension and firm the rear suspension for greater agility, reducing understeer, as well as being able to stiffen the front and slacken the rear slightly to combat oversteer and ensure greater stability. Drivers can choose from five drive modes: Eco, Sport, Comfort, Smart and Custom
For the 3.3-litre models a variable ratio rack-mounted motor driven power steering system (R-MDPS) features an electric motor mounted directly on the steering rack, which affords more immediate responses and reduced vibration compared to systems with column-mounted motors. Steering assistance and weight is also adjustable via the Drive Mode Select system.
A choice of alloy wheels and high-performance tyres are also offered. The 200S, 200Si and 330S ride on 18-inch rims shod with 225/45 R18 ContiSport Contact 5 tyres, while the 2.0-litre GT-Line and 330Si and GT models have 19-inch rims with high-performance 225/40 R19 front and 255/35 R19 rear.
All 3.3-litre V6 Stinger models feature high-performance ventilated disc brakes from Brembo® as standard (350mm at the front, 340mm at the rear), with quad-piston front calipers and dual-piston rear calipers. The 2.0-litre models are fitted with ventilated disc brakes – 320mm at the front, 314mm at the rear.
The Stinger, dependent on grade, will be available with Kia’s latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The advanced safety systems embody Kia’s philosophy to realise intelligently safe vehicles with active safety technologies that are designed to avoid or mitigate the effects of a collision.
The Stinger is equipped as standard with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), ensuring stability under braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) if it detects a loss of traction.
Other ADAS features include: Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking and pedestrian recognition; Advanced Smart Cruise Control; Lane Keeping Assist System; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; 360 degree Camera View for low-speed manoeuvres; Blind Spot Detection; and High Beam Assist.
A new feature for Kia, the Stinger is also available with a Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system in Si and above to combat distracted or drowsy driving. Driver fatigue is believed to be a key factor in up to a quarter of all fatal traffic accidents across Europe, while the USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. In the USA, this results in an estimated 1550 deaths and 71,000 injuries annually.
The system monitors several inputs from the vehicle and the driver, and will sound a warning chime and display a graphic in the instrument binnacle if it senses a lapse in concentration from the driver.
The Stinger’s passive safety is underpinned by the body structure’s high proportion of Advanced High Strength Steel, as well as seven standard airbags (driver and front passenger, front side, curtain and driver knee airbags).
Technology and features
In line with Stinger’s modern design and classic roots, the car reflects Kia’s focus on offering the latest infotainment systems and driver technologies.
A height-adjustable Head-Up Display (HUD) enables the driver to see key driving information reflected on the glass of the windscreen, including speed, turn-by-turn navigation guidance, audio, cruise control and Blind Spot Detection information.
Resting within the centre console is a wireless smartphone charging pad, while Bluetooth integration is standard across the Stinger line-up.
Long distance travel is a hallmark of the gran turismo driving experience, and high-performance audio systems guarantee an immersive acoustic experience as the miles sweep by.
The base audio system features six speakers and a seven-inch haptic touchscreen, while Si has a nine-speaker system with 8-inch screen. GT-Line and GT grades have an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, paired with a powerful 720-watt, 15-speaker Harman-Kardon® surround-sound audio system.
The Harman-Kardon® system features a pair of subwoofers mounted beneath the driver and front passenger seats, as well as Clari-Fi™ music restoration technology that rebuilds audio signals lost in the digital compression process. This technology returns a high-fidelity listening experience to any compressed digital source.
The system also comes equipped with next-generation QuantumLogic™ Surround Sound technology, which extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multi-dimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and full of detail.
The Stinger GT comes with a Smart Power Tailgate system, enabling the boot to be opened automatically via the smart key or with a button in the cabin. The tailgate can also open itself if it detects the owner’s smart key within close proximity to the rear of the car for three seconds – helpful if the owner doesn’t have a spare hand to open the boot.