Kia Stinger takes aim at BM’s 3 Se­ries

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - JA­SON WOOSEY

NO LONGER con­tent with sim­ply pro­vid­ing the world with solid mass mar­ket cars, Kia is now gun­ning for the premium German car­mak­ers with this sporty and pow­er­ful new rear-wheel-driven fast­back sa­loon called the Stinger.

Kia de­scribes it as an “au­then­tic grand tur­ismo”, de­signed not only for en­thu­si­as­tic driv­ing but also to pro­vide a com­fort­able ride for five oc­cu­pants. In­spired by the Kia GT con­cept of 2011, the Stinger is larger than German com­pact ex­ec­u­tive ri­vals such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Se­ries, with its wheel­base even out­siz­ing the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

With typ­i­cal rear-wheel-drive pro­por­tions, in­clud­ing a long bon­net and prom­i­nent shoul­ders, the Stinger has se­ri­ous mus­cle car pres­ence, and it has the power to cash those cheques, par­tic­u­larly in the case of the top model, fit­ted with a 3.3-litre twin-tur­bocharged V6. Kia hasn’t fi­nalised the num­bers yet, but is tar­get­ing out­puts of 268kW and 510Nm, putting it into con­tention with Merc’s C43 AMG, and the­o­ret­i­cally get­ting it from 0-100km/h in around 5.1 sec­onds.

Kia prom­ises that there will even­tu­ally be a wide range of en­gines and driv­e­train con­fig­u­ra­tions, but for now the only other power op­tion avail­able will be a 2-litre tur­bopetrol with es­ti­mated out­puts of 188kW and 353Nm. Both en­gines are mated to an eight-speed au­to­box with flappy pad­dles. Kia will also of­fer an all-wheel-drive op­tion in icier mar­kets.

While main­tain­ing that its en­gi­neers have achieved a nice balance be­tween ride com­fort and han­dling, Kia has put con­sid­er­able ef­fort into the lat­ter, even go­ing as far as poach­ing Al­bert Bier­mann from BMW’s M Divi­sion and test­ing the car ex­ten­sively around the Nur­bur­gring. Multi-link rear sus­pen­sion is a given here and the Stinger is also fit­ted with adap­tive dampers.

As for elec­tronic driv­ing aids, the car is fit­ted with auto-brak­ing with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, an adap­tive cruise con­trol sys­tem fea­tur­ing traf­fic as­sist, Driver At­ten­tion Alert and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert. Other driver-fo­cused gadgets in­clude a height-ad­justable colour head-up dis­play and a TFT screen that tells you your lap times, G-forces and so forth.

The cabin prom­ises to seal the lux­ury deal with Nappa leather seats fea­tur­ing air-cell blad­ders in the driver’s seat­back, a colour touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and a range of high-end au­dio sys­tems, in­clud­ing an op­tional 720 watt Har­man/Kar­don sys­tem with Quan­tumLogic Sur­round Sound tech­nol­ogy.

So when can I have one? Ac­cord­ing to Kia SA, the Stinger is cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for pos­si­ble in­tro­duc­tion lo­cally but no de­ci­sions have yet been made and if it does get the go-ahead, it’s un­likely that we’ll see it be­fore the end of this year.

The 2018 Kia Stinger at this week’s North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show in Detroit.

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