From £30,9707

Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Disappointingly, the Stinger GT-Line S falls some way short of the straightline performance claims made by its manufacturer.

On a cold day on a damp track, our figures show a best 0-60mph time of 7.39sec, which is a long way off the 5.8sec time claimed by Kia.

Good cornering balance makes the Stinger GT-Line S fun to drive up to a point, but an over-eager stability control system hampers any effort to explore its very limits.

Conditions on the day can’t be blamed too much for this, because the Stinger didn’t feel as though it was struggling to find traction off the line. Instead, it felt like a big, heavy car that was let down by a hesitant gearbox in those first crucial milliseconds where you lift off the brake and bury the throttle.

For the sake of comparison, the 197bhp Jaguar XE petrol that we road tested back in 2015 completed the benchmark sprint in 7.6sec, despite its deficits of 47bhp and 24lb ft.

Once up and running, the Stinger still only just managed to pip the less powerful, albeit lighter, Jaguar when accelerating from 30mph to 70mph, clocking a time of 6.4sec next to the XE’s 6.9sec run.

Considering the fact that the 2.0-litre Stinger’s superior levels of power and torque over its immediate rivals at this price point are likely to be a strong draw, it is a shame that those supposed accelerative advantages didn’t exactly shine through on the day.

Still, above 2500rpm the Stinger feels responsive and has more than enough poke to perform safe overtaking manoeuvres out on the road. Just be prepared to make a small allowance for the fact that the automatic transmission can be slow to react when the kickdown switch is engaged.

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At least it is relatively smooth on the upshift, though. Paddle shifters on the steering wheel mean you can swap cogs yourself, although with no locked-out manual mode, the transmission will promptly reselect ‘D’ if you don’t select another ratio via the paddles.

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine doesn’t make the most exciting noise in the world. Although there is a relatively muscular edge to its timbre, don’t forget that the inclusion of the active sound system does mean there’s an element of sonic trickery involved too. Still, it’s quiet and refined at a cruise, and that shouldn’t be knocked.