Currently reading: Kia Stinger prototype review: first drive in BMW 4 Series rival
An early go in Kia’s striking new four-door in both range-topping and diesel spec shows much promise

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.

Kia stinger ac 403

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.

Kia stinger ac 404


Read our review

Car review

Kia’s most dynamically adventurous model yet, the Stinger targets BMW, Audi, Mercedes and the rest of the executive saloon set

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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

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Spanner 12 April 2017


Er, £41k? Really?
Spanner 12 April 2017


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

It's a shame the Stinger will

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.
Mark Rodriguez 12 April 2017


MaxTorque wrote:

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.

My thoughts exactly. Kia is wasting their best looking car on the rather drab automotive scenery of this country and the habitually strange aesthetic tastes of English motorists many of whom would sadly fail to appreciate the beauty and elegance of the design. Little wonder then that cars like the Nissan Juke which resembles a squat, pug-faced warthog more than anything else sell so well here.