Fast, ca­pa­ble, glam­orous. Not words you’d in­stinc­tively as­so­ciate with Kia, but that’s about to change. evo trav­els to South Ko­rea to meet the world-class de­sign­ers and en­gi­neers be­hind the new Stinger GT four-door coupe, and to get be­hind its wheel


Fast and glam­ourous, this is the face of a new Ko­rea

TEN YEARS FROM NOW YOU WILL have a very dif­fer­ent opin­ion of Kia. That’s what the ex­ecs in their suits and de­sign­ers with their natty cra­vats tell me. Look­ing back, our per­cep­tion of the com­pany has al­ready changed. Enor­mously, in fact, be­cause Kia is no longer a bar­gain brand but a chal­lenger.

And soon enough it’ll be an as­pi­ra­tional brand. That’s what they say. In time, buy­ing a Kia won’t merely be a ra­tio­nal de­ci­sion, but an emo­tional one, and the day will come when you and I will see a new Kia on the street and it’ll make our hearts beat a lit­tle faster. That’s what they tell me.

I won­der what se­quence of events would have to un­fold for that to be true of the typ­i­cal evo reader. Sig­nif­i­cant ones, I imag­ine. But if Kia’s ob­jec­tive seems un­likely, or just un­re­al­is­tic, know that this march to­wards the as­pi­ra­tional isn’t mean­ing­less cor­po­rate fluff dreamt up by an over-lit, un­der-oxy­genated mar­ket­ing depart­ment in a bat­tery-farm of­fice. It’s a de­ter­mi­na­tion that ra­di­ates through the en­tire com­pany. Every­body at Kia takes it very se­ri­ously in­deed.

You can see the scale of this am­bi­tion in the renowned de­sign­ers and en­gi­neers Kia has poached in re­cent years, and in its new high-per­for­mance test fa­cil­ity, com­plete with a Nür­bur­gring-lite han­dling cir­cuit. It’s also why I’m in Ko­rea – to learn about and drive Kia’s new gran tur­ismo.

A great deal rests upon its shoul­ders. Called the Stinger GT, it’s a rear-driven four-door ‘coupe’ with a twin-turbo V6 and a lim­ited-slip diff. There will be an AWD ver­sion, and a less pow­er­ful four-cylin­der Stinger with wa­tered-down styling will go on sale early in 2018.

It’s no co­in­ci­dence evo was the only UK ti­tle in­vited to Ko­rea to drive an early de­vel­op­ment pro­to­type. Kia hopes that you, as an evo reader, will want to own a Stinger GT.

Left: Hints of the Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia Quadri­foglio, per­haps?

That’s no bad thing, of course, and it’s the sort of de­sir­abil­ity Kia is aim­ing for with this,

the new Stinger GT

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