Say the word ‘Kia’ to any motoring enthusiast and a dismissive shrug or cheap joke will follow suit . For years ‘Kia’ was a byword for ‘drear’. Think B&M bargains of the automotive industry. But now Kia has revealed a car with a sting in its tail
In actual fact Kia today is a far cry from the cheap, nasty, plastic family runabout that they once were a dozen or so years ago. And now Kia is taking direct aim at the German saloon gurus with the all new Kia Stinger GT.
It only takes one look at the new Kia to realise this is a rather imposing creation from the South Korean brand. The Bonnet is long and purposeful looking, the gills in the wings add flare and the overall detailing and styling is aggressive but not vulgar. Flow your palm over the sweeping A pillar and along the roof and the words ‘Audi’ and ‘A7’ may pop into your head. Certainly side on the back end of the Stinger seems has some ‘tracing paper’ influence from the German sport back saloon. But then there is a very good reason for that, The Kia has German blood.
In fact as part of the Stinger Gt’s development, Ex Audi engineers Gregory Guillaume and Peter Schreyer were snapped up from Audi to head the new Kia project. A smart move by Kia, remember the old saying, ‘If you want to beat a German businessman, hire a German businessman’. Job done.
So what potential does the new Kia bestow under the striking body. Let’s focus on the top of the line GT model. Under the bonnet there is a 3.3 litre V6 that develops 365 BHP and 378 ft lb of torque which gives the Kia a top speed of 168mph and will crack 0-62 in 5.1 seconds. The chassis is derived from a Hyundai Genesis (Kia’s sister brand) and uses an independent setup upfront and multi link at the rear. Power is transmitted through an 8 speed auto and a limited slip differential.
Kia will offer the GT in rear, or all wheel drive. Although only the rear drive model is likely to make it to UK shores. Kia has also gone to the liberty of adding the stinger with adaptive dampers with selectable drive modes, a first for the south Koran Marque. Michelin Pilot Sport 4s come as standard.
Slot yourself behind the wheel and you’re greeted by a spacious and well thought out cabin. The interior plastics appear acceptable and a 7in touch screen display adores the centre of the dashboard. Only the Kia logo on the wheel gives away its true identity. Stare at the silver air vents long enough and you could mistake the Kia’s interior for a Mercedes C class.
The only fly in the ointment is the Kia’s slightly porky mass, at 1,900Kg it hardly qualifies for an approving nod from Colin Chapman. However the Kia aims to be a grand tourer, a soothing yet brisk long distance mile eater. So while the Kia may not match an Audi S4 or BMW 430i M on track, it makes up for in comfort.
So it seems Kia has the potential in specification terms to challenge the established Germans at their own game. But at a predicated £43,000 this is one expensive Kia. This links back to Kia’s bold statement that ‘One day we will aspire to owning a Kia, a car petrol heads will approve’. That is the language senior Kia officials are telling the car world, and perhaps one day, when we forget about brand snobbery, that may well become a reality.
Image source: google