An early go in Kia’s striking new four-door in both range-topping and diesel spec shows much promise
Matt Prior
12 April 2017

We’ve driven two right-hand drive Stingers on UK roads. One was the 2.2-litre diesel, the other the 3.3-litre V6 GT range-topper, which we also briefly tried on a track.

At 4.83m, the Stinger is quite long compared with the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé (4.64m) and Audi A5 Sportback (4.73m) and it has an unusually long 2.9m wheelbase. That, Hyundai Kia performance chief Albert Biermann said, has advantages for packaging, ride comfort and stability but presents some challenges in making the rear-wheel-drive Stinger feel as agile as the best cars in the class.

At the moment, the 2.2-litre diesel will arrive in the UK with only passive dampers, which give a relatively controlled ride. It does have drive modes, though, which adjust the engine and gearbox response (an eight-speed auto is standard) and steering weight. In Comfort mode, the steering is nicely weighted, with decent self-centring and good accuracy and linearity. In Sport, it takes on a bit too much heft for our liking and will probably be toned back before launch.

The 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel performs well enough. In Comfort, the gearbox response could be sharper, but it’s better in Sport and you can always use the steering wheel paddles. The management at Kia Europe think the car could be less sporting but Biermann — rightly, in our book — has told them they’re wrong.

The Stinger GT, with its 370bhp V6, has adaptive dampers as standard and, despite being heavier than the 2.2 diesel, offers a much greater feeling of agility.

Obviously, it gets on a fair bit quicker, too. Development of the exhaust has been signed off, but it doesn’t sound rorty enough at all Biermann and his colleagues said Kia will aim the Stinger GT just below Audi S5 levels of focus. It could afford a stiffer ride quality than it has at the moment, especially in Sport mode, which isn’t that much firmer than Comfort.

Body control is reasonable on the road but it feels less settled on a test track, where there’s some heave over larger crests. What it also does is fall into some pretty lively oversteer, easily exploited by the standard mechanical limited-slip differential, long wheelbase, nicely geared steering and a broad powerband from the turbocharged V6.

There’s still some tweaking to be done on most models, whose weakest point is a set of materials inside, particularly on the lower part of the cabin, and an infotainment system that lags a way behind the premium class best.

Location Surrey; On sale September; Price £41,000 (est); Engine V6, 3.3-litre, turbocharged, petrol; Power 370bhp; Torque 376lb ft; Gearbox eight-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1800kg (est); Top speed 168mph; 0-62mph 5.1sec (est); Economy tbc; CO2/tax band tbc

Our Verdict

Kia Stinger GT

One to watch in the future. Early Kia Stinger GT test reveals strong handling balance, ride comfort and cabin practicality from the debutant executive car

Join the debate

Comments
11

12 April 2017
lukewarm review? I get the feeling that this will be a curio..probably akin to an Insignia VXR. One for the dedicated few.

12 April 2017
It looks nice and albeit a early prototype car it needs fine tuning.

Problem for me is lack of identity - Kia produce some fairly decent cars but they use styling cues from others.

Mercedes E Class air vents style, Audi steering wheel style, Maserati rear style...

12 April 2017
The review not filled me with much confidence in the Stinger GT, that's saying it sounds like it won't be bad at all being a motorway cruiser (excluding the bad navy system).

12 April 2017
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

It looks nice and albeit a early prototype car it needs fine tuning.

Problem for me is lack of identity - Kia produce some fairly decent cars but they use styling cues from others.

Mercedes E Class air vents style, Audi steering wheel style, Maserati rear style...

Maserati rear? I thought it looked just like an Audi a5 sport back hatch thing, not sure of the correct name.

12 April 2017
si73 wrote:
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

It looks nice and albeit a early prototype car it needs fine tuning.

Problem for me is lack of identity - Kia produce some fairly decent cars but they use styling cues from others.

Mercedes E Class air vents style, Audi steering wheel style, Maserati rear style...

Maserati rear? I thought it looked just like an Audi a5 sport back hatch thing, not sure of the correct name.

The rear quarter (perhaps side profile) reminds me more of late saabs!

Think the front looks great. The rear, not so sure really.

12 April 2017
How much will the diesel be? it looks like a very pricey alternative to a £25K Octavia VRS for very little more power, or any old 2.0D BMW for that matter. They need to pull a lot more out that 2.2 to make it in anyway interesting.

12 April 2017
The Hyundai Genesis is for me a more convincing interpretation of the luxury saloon. But it is this Kia that's getting all the attention, probably because it's supposed to be more sporty and therefore, in the mind of the marketing man, more suitable for the European market.

12 April 2017
I do like the styling, but feel that the price will be a big problem for most. Much over £30k will leave this well out of its depth, with only its good looks to help it sell. It also needs a manual gearbox option on the petrol engine to be of any interest to me, but i suspect even with one Kia will over price the car

12 April 2017
It's a shame the Stinger will be almost too good looking for our roads chock-full of squat, pug-faced nissan jukes, minis and dull as dishwater focuses and astras.

12 April 2017
They've written turbo in the engine. I'll have two.
Spanner

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK