2018 KIA STINGER GT

Automobile - - All - Stars 2018 -

Kia takes a lot of guff for not hav­ing the best brand im­age, and although that was once true, it can’t be for much longer. Why? Be­cause Kia builds great cars in ev­ery seg­ment it en­ters. Case in point, the brand’s first shot at a rear-drive sport sedan, the Stinger GT.

A 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 rated for 365 horse­power and 376 lb-ft of torque puts the Stinger GT in good stead with the likes of the BMW 340i and even the Mercedes-AMG C43. But the Stinger is con­sid­er­ably larger than ei­ther of those cars, most no­tably in the back seat, where you’ll find Porsche Panam­era lev­els of space and com­fort.

That, in a nutshell, is the glory and the od­dity of the Stinger GT. A seg­ment strad­dler, it’s nei­ther a large sedan nor a mid­sizer, and it’s nei­ther pre­mium nor main­stream in its fit and fin­ish. It’s some­where in the cen­ter of the over­lap­ping Venn di­a­gram of all of these traits. And while that might mean it’s hard for some peo­ple to ap­pre­ci­ate, it’s also what makes the Stinger GT so good for so many uses.

If you’re an en­thu­si­ast, it’s a no-brainer to opt for the reardrive model, as even with the stan­dard pad­dle-shifted eight­speed au­to­matic, the GT has no prob­lem swing­ing the rear end around on throt­tle. “An in­cred­i­bly tempt­ing and well-priced of­fer­ing that is le­git­i­mately fun to drive,” Mor­ri­son com­mented. If you’re more in­ter­ested in a blaz­ing-quick but safe and steady all-weather com­mute, the all-wheel-drive model de­liv­ers the goods while re­tain­ing a fair amount of reardrive char­ac­ter.

No mat­ter what your style is, the Stinger GT is a fun car and an in­cred­i­ble value, and de­spite not be­ing a fi­nal win­ner among this year’s stout com­pe­ti­tion, it ab­so­lutely de­serves to be among them as an All-Stars con­tender. — Nel­son Ireson

Let­ting Go of the Past

PRICE: $260,750/$352,680 (base/as tested) EN­GINE:

3.9L DOHC 32-valve twin-turbo V-8/602 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 561 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm TRANS­MIS­SION: 7-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic

LAY­OUT:

2-door, 4-pas­sen­ger, front-en­gine, RWD wagon EPA MILEAGE:

15/21 mpg (city/hwy)

L x W x H:

193.8 x 78.0 x 54.4 in WHEEL­BASE:

117.1 in

WEIGHT:

4,110 lb

0-60 MPH:

3.4 sec (est)

TOP SPEED:

199 mph

PRICE:

$38,350/$50,100 (base/as tested) EN­GINE:

3.3L DOHC 24-valve twin-turbo V-6/365 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 376 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm TRANS­MIS­SION: 8-speed au­to­matic LAY­OUT:

4-door, 5-pas­sen­ger, front-en­gine, RWD sedan EPA MILEAGE:

19/25 mpg (city/hwy)

L x W x H:

190.2 x 73.6 x 55.1 in WHEEL­BASE:

114.4 in

WEIGHT:

3,829 lb

0-60 MPH:

4.7 sec (est)

TOP SPEED:

167 mph

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