BE­HIND THE WHEEL

Evo India - - KIA STINGER GT -

AL­LOW­ING A SE­LECT GROUP OF JOUR­NAL­ISTS TO DRIVE such an im­por­tant new car be­fore it’s even been re­vealed to the wider au­to­mo­tive press and the pub­lic is a bold move, but it also speaks of a cer­tain con­fi­dence. That said, we each have less time be­hind the wheel than it would take to boil a small egg, but in those three min­utes there is a thing or two to be learned.

The cabin feels spa­cious, with a good, low-slung driv­ing po­si­tion and plenty of room in the rear even for taller adults, while the high transmissi­on tun­nel helps to set a more sport­ing tone than in ex­ist­ing Kias. The dash­board lay­out is quite at­trac­tive, but the qual­ity of the ma­te­ri­als in this de­vel­op­ment car isn’t yet up to Ger­man stan­dards.

The first driv­ing im­pres­sion I scrawl in my notebook is that it’s an easy car to drift – a long wheel­base, lots of power and a me­chan­i­cal LSD will have that ef­fect. Even in the firmer damper mode there is a fair amount of body roll, al­beit a well-con­trolled sort of roll rather than the sloppy, way­ward kind. That’s a clear in­di­ca­tion that this is a GT car rather than a true high-per­for­mance car.

The steer­ing is crisp and di­rect, though, and what it lacks in ab­so­lute feel it makes up for in rate of re­sponse, which is very well matched to cor­ner­ing grip and that pro­nounced body roll. Ba­si­cally, it’s eas­ier to place the car into a cor­ner than its size and weight might sug­gest.

There’s de­cent grip with gen­tle un­der­steer at the limit and good brak­ing per­for­mance. The en­gine feels im­pres­sively strong and re­spon­sive, but it’s done its best work by 6000rpm. The sound­track is a bit flat for now and although the gear­box works well enough, I wouldn’t en­dorse Bier­mann’s claim about it be­ing quicker shift­ing than the ZF unit just yet.

The very briefest of test drives, then, but all rather en­cour­ag­ing nonethe­less. Should the Ger­mans be wor­ried? We’ll find out for cer­tain when we drive the pro­duc­tion Stinger GT later in the year. ⌧

IT’S EAS­IER TO PLACE THE CAR INTO A COR­NER THAN ITS SIZE MIGHT SUG­GEST

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